Originally published in the Superior Catholic Herald, June 5, 2014

You walk on two legs and I walk on four. You wear shoes on your strange looking paws and I wear nothing at all on mine. But the truth be known, I kind of like the fact that you wear shoes. You know why? Because I’ve gotten to the point that I can tell a lot about a person simply by what they’ve put on over their paws. I can even tell you what kind of day they’re going to have just by checking out what they’re wearing.

Let me give you some examples. Early in the morning, the Bishop wears slippers, and if he’s not in a rush he’ll be able to leave them on during breakfast and his morning routines. However, when he puts on his paw shoes to go outside, it’s then that I really get a sense of what kind of day the two of us are going to have.

For example, if he puts on his best, shiny, black ones, I know we’re going to go to some big event out and about, which means that a big chunk of my day will be spent in the back of the Jeep. This is why I call it my Jeep kennel. At any rate, when I see those shiny, black shoes on his feet, I don’t eat or drink much — for obvious reasons — it keeps me from having to stop along the way. Even though I often do get a treat when the Bishop stops at a filling station to feed the Jeep.

Next, when the Bishop puts on his not-so-shiny black shoes, it means we’re going into the office. On these shoe days I don’t have to eat much either, because everyone there feeds me treats from their private stashes when I make my rounds. It’s kind of like sample day at the grocery store. Not that I have ever been there; I’ve only heard.
Apparently you can make a whole meal out of those sample treats displayed all over the store. Yum! I think I’d really enjoy a visit to the store on those special days. OK, I’m losing my focus — back to the shoes.

Now, if the Bishop puts on green, rubber, slip-on type shoes, this suggests that the two of us are going to have a great day. I know this because wearing these means that he’ll be at home doing yard work, or some other outdoor odd job.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, there’s one more pair of shoes even greater than the green. The best of all shoes are the white ones. They call these tennis shoes. Heaven knows why my Bishop calls them that, for he never goes out to play tennis. Regardless, these are my all-time favorites, since they tell me that the two of us are going out for a walk and, hopefully, a long one. Alleluia!

Shoes are great. They help me to plan out my day. By the shoes he wears I can tell where my master is headed. I only wish I could wear two pairs on my paws, too. That way, I could tell my Bishop what kind of day I’d be planning. I’m pretty sure I’d be putting on the white ones all of the time.

Before I forget, I failed to mention there is yet another pair of shoes — they’re called sandals — which I haven’t seen for quite some time. These shoes mean relaxation. Since we’ve all been indoors quite a bit this past winter, I hope, with summer months ahead, you’re able to put a pair of warm-weather sandals on your happy paws. I know I would if I were you.

I’m also taking the summer away from writing my column. Catch me if you can, but you won’t be able. I’ll catch up with you come fall. Meanwhile, I really do hope you’re able to get a lot of sandal time out there. You’ve got to do it! Otherwise, don’t growl at me when you’re back strapping on the snowshoes.

Hey, I now see white shoes headed my way, so it’s time to go. Until we meet again, don’t forget to take a bow and a wow to God, for He made all that we’re able to delight in. And for you humans, even better yet, all kinds of shoes that will help you get out there and really enjoy it.

– Gus