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Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Tale of the Boots

Shyla is a sensitive dog, as many of you know. Yesterday, she tried out new boots to protect her paws in the -10°F weather. She was a little subdued but generally happy to be out on the trails.

Today was different. She did not want those boots on her paws. She lagged behind me, stopping to try to take them off repeatedly. So, I decided to try to cheer her up (and make her forget the evil boots) with some games.

The first recall went beautifully, and she seemed enthusiastic.
The second one was not so good. She stumbled, probably due to not being able to feel the rocks on the ground with her paws like usual, and she face-planted in a big pile of snow. She was not a happy dog.
But, she bounced back pretty fast after some hugs from me. Because it was still quite cold (a little below 0°F), I wanted to keep her paws protected. So, the boots were still on.

We played a retrieving game. I saw glimpses of her usual spirit as she retrieved.
I thought that she started to look confident again, even if she wasn't moving with her normal grace...
But her face looked tight and tense. I didn't see it then but now I see it in the photos.
I decided it was okay for us to restart our snowbike ride. But, Shyla just followed a few feet behind my back wheel, never prancing off to the sides to sniff things like she usually does. She didn't seem to be having fun. I started worrying that maybe she'd actually hurt herself during the mis-step that ended in a face-plant.

I stopped to check out her legs and paws, and she looked pitiful.
I couldn't find anything wrong with her - no sore spots, no lumps, no bumps, and no limp.

So, I took off her boots. And, instantly, she returned to her normal self - intense and happy. She wanted me to throw her toy continuously, and she danced around awaiting each new throw.
Shyla even appeared to radiate a happiness glow, with those dastardly boots off her paws.
She didn't get cold paws for the rest of the ride so I'm going to make our policy that she wears boots only when it's -5°F or colder. When the cold is that extreme, she's going to have to deal with boots.

Shyla is by far the most sensitive dog I've ever had. Because I'm used to a more normal hard-headed Lab personality (like R), I still sometimes forget how much small things can affect Shyla's psyche. I was reminded today, and I'll try not to forget.


  1. Even if you did not tell the story the photos and Shyla's face said it all. I too do NOT like boots of any kind.

  2. When we lived in WI we had boots for the dogs because we often walked them on streets that had been plowed and salted. It was always a trial when the boots were first required. They both hated them, and never understood that without them their paw pads would freeze and get salt in them. They would look at us as if to say, "Why are you doing this to me?"

    I think you made a wise decision with Shyla and hope she will become a little more accepting of the boots when they are needed.

  3. Shyla has her own way- doesn't she?

  4. I'm glad you could take them off today. She loves snow so much, it would be a shame if she couldn't enjoy it.

  5. This is the funniest look on Shyla's face ever. Hope the temperatures stay above that minimum, and she is "Boot-Free" in the snow. But this might be a very hopeful wish. Super photos, stay warm, Jean.

  6. Have you considered using the type of boot that ushers use? They seem a lot less invasive, somehow.

  7. Those boots are sure pretty and we love the snow Shyla!

  8. Sneaky girl! Shyla guilted you into removing those booties ;-)

    My guys aren't particularly sensitive and they still would be very nonplussed about booties. It's just not natural!

  9. Oh that is a story that makes me laugh because Toby acts exactly the same way when he doesn't like how something is going. The worst is when we walk in the neighborhood, by necessity on leash. He has his own opinions about where he wants to go and I oblige as much as possible, but if not he walks VERRY SLOWLY at the very end of the leash - just enough not to be dragged along. Then when he gets his way - back to happy instantly, just like Shyla when you removed her boots! In her case though the boots made it hard for her to run, like being on a slippery floor maybe.

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  11. Oh we have nevers worn boots cos we would probably just rip each others shoes off ...we do that sometimes if one of us gets our harness on before the other ones, pugs can be crazy you know. Thank you for your continued comments about our sweet macey. We think your pictures tell a story without any words needed. You have such a talent.
    stella rose and momma

  12. Oh Shyla poor baby. But we do think you like that snow on your face. Bet those boots will eventually make you run faster and jump higher
    Lily & Edward

  13. GREAT facial expressions, Shyla! Who says dogs can't talk?!?

    Bart, who is also quite sensitive...

  14. Pretty girl! I'm glad she was all right without the boots, and you were wiling to give it a try. It's so hard to both keep them safe and keep them happy sometimes.

  15. WE had to put boots on Greta when it got too cold because she took so long to go potty. In fact I shared a picture and video of her in her boots today!
    Mr Bailey & Hazel

  16. She has you wrapped around her paws:) We tried a few different boots for Phantom's paw, but in the end the vet said it was best to leave it uncovered. We give you a big thumbs up for being able to get FOUR boots on her - what a struggle it was to do just one here.

  17. We have never worn boots so we have no idea what it's truly like but it's pretty obvious that Shyla is much happier without them. Bless you, Shyla - you are such a sweetie ♥

  18. When I got owies on my back two feet about 6 months ago, the vet wanted me to wear booties. It went even worse than Shyla's attempt. I mean booties on a Siberian Husky puppy?!!? No.
    Yours sincerely,
    Margaret Thatcher
    PS: For the record, I did NOT eat them, though I would have if given the chance.

  19. Oh Poor Shyla...that snow face photo! I can see the tension in her face too.. Poor sensitive girl. Macy is way more sensitive...I'm still getting used to it!


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