Ollie’s Eighteenth Week: Shoelaces Prove Irresistible

Simply Irresistible! I heard that song the other day for the first time. James said it was an old song from the last century. Wow! Now that’s old. Okay, so age has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but the song did remind me of the topic for this post.

For some unknown reason I can’t possibly explain, shoes are seductive to me. James thinks it’s because of their odor. I do know that when I was a puppy, before my adult teeth had arrived, I loved to chew on shoe leather and rubber. (Yes, there were other things I liked to chew, but shoes were mouthwatering.)

James and Ron took to putting their footwear on high surfaces to keep them away from me. However, at the first sign of either of them having forgotten, my mouth became a magnet. Before anyone knew it, one of the shoes was being ground by my sharp, baby teeth. They both still have multiple pairs with signs of my calling card: bite marks and tears.

Then again, even when James was wearing his shoes, if they had laces, BANG! Those stringy, flopping things always had my attention. I especially liked the tennis-shoe laces that had a hard, plastic tip. I could snap those off with one quick crunch. This same action would unravel the lace, leaving it to drag behind and in the dirt, making it all the tastier. Yummmmm!

(Ollie focused on James’ tennis shoelaces instead of taking care of business at the Orvis fire hydrant.)

Sometimes, while James was watching me (You remember. He stayed with me so I wouldn’t do my business inside.), he’d start to read a book or play with his cell phone. I’d saunter over and gently begin chewing on his laces. It felt so good when my pointy teeth would snare on one of the bows or my aching gums where a new tooth was trying to come through would chomp on the fabric. I can’t explain it. I was in ecstasy.

I’ve heard James say, “Life is not a dress rehearsal,” at least a hundred times. (Okay, I exaggerate, but only a little.) Well, I’ve taken him at his word. Even at eighteen weeks, I knew to live life to the fullest. If it means being chastised for chewing footgear, then so be it. (Yeah, I still chew shoes to this day – I simply can’t help myself.)

Anyway, James wrote a poem about my chewing on his shoelaces and his attempts to prevent me. Little did he know that giving me a treat when I stopped only served to reward my having been chewing. (Oh, he asked me why I didn’t let him know back then. It was because we couldn’t communicate like we do today.)

Regardless, here’s that poem for your reading pleasure:


your eighteen-week-old puppy mouth
is repeatedly attracted
to chewing on my tennis-shoe laces
for some mysterious motive
          perhaps from their many years
                    of use and abuse
          there is a steaming stench
                    of a puppy magnet

substitutions are placed
directly in front of your mouth
on which it would be okay to chew
but to you
nothing tastes as tangy
as my ripened ties

these are no ordinary footwear
on which the laces reside
to Southeast Asia and Europe
they have traveled wide
          perhaps something loiters
                    from those locales
          a splash of spilt fish sauce
                    or splattered boeuf bourguignon

whatever it is
I wish you’d stop
making them a priority
whilst you linger at my feet
although I’d gladly give them to you
had I another pair

          rethinking that proposition
                    it isn’t such a grand idea
                    as then shoes
                    may become
                    a permanent object
                    of your desire

no – leave well enough alone
replace the laces with chew toys
as in time they will be exchanged
with other ties that bind

Shoelaces don’t hold the same allure today, but I couldn’t get enough of them when I was eighteen weeks old. Shoes on the other hand, well, they are an all-together different matter. Still, James and Ron have figured out a way to stop me from chewing them. I’ll fill you in on that secret later.

If you stay tuned, in two weeks I’ll share with you the poem on butterflies James wrote, and my attraction to them. Well, maybe it was more of an interest than an attraction. They are beautiful to behold.

We hope you’re enjoying reading all the different poems James wrote during my first year. Let us know your opinion in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Short Stories - Author Webpage Help Needed
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)

Paw Prints courtesy of www.pawsitivelyloved.com
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated

Ollie’s Seventeenth Week (Continued): Effects and Affects of Morning Dew

Mornings in Vermont during the summer are wonderful. The outside temperature drops overnight to the low sixties and upper fifties. The air is crisp and invigorating. Since I’m an Old English Sheepdog, I have long hair. The cool air makes me want to run – and run – and run. Of course, I could only do that if I were off leash. Since James was still “leash training” me at seventeen weeks, I had to behave.

However, that didn’t mean I wasn’t allowed on the grass. In fact, James often took me into the field after the “training” period. There I could sprint to my heart’s content. Carrying on without a care in the world meant the morning dew would not only soak my paws, but somehow climb up my legs and onto my belly and even my back and face.

No, James doesn’t have any pictures of me soaked like a dishrag, thank goodness. Actually, it would have been nice if he did. Suffice it to say, the dew did a number on my puppy coat. It was that pelt that James hesitated for the first full year of my life to cut. As such, all summer he was required to dry me when we came in from our outings in the morning.

(Ollie with grass clippings clinging to the morning dew on his mouth.)

Nearly from my first daybreak at Skygate Farm, there was dew on the ground. Select towels were designated as belonging to me. They were, and still are, to be used when bathed or wet from the pond (I never did go in there when I was a puppy.), rain, or morning dew. At first it evolved into such a chore for James to dry me. I, on the other hand, thought it was great fun to play tug-of-war with the towel. Only James stopped drying me as soon as I refused to release the cloth. Oh, well, some people don’t know how to have fun. (Oops! I thought I was thinking that to myself.)

As it is, today I’m so good when being dried. I stand there allowing James to massage my back and belly with the towel. I lift each foot, one at a time, as he works the muscles and tendons in each, especially the area between my nails. I feel so fortunate to have someone like James take such good care of me. (Hey, where’s my treat? What do you mean my treat is in the drying? Oh, yeah, got it.)

Anyway, James wrote a poem about the morning dew and his frustrating attempts to dry me when I was but a young lad. I think it’s quite funny, and I like how it rhymes. Here’s that poem for your reading pleasure:


how I detest the morning dew
as I sit and simmer and stew
while it travels all over you
and covers my new tennis shoes

with soaked socks straight through
I’ve walked round in haste
and without a clue
we’re wet not from waste

it’s bad enough having to dry you
from top to bottom after it rains
but the damnable dew
is quite nearly the same

your legs and belly are soaked
your back and head are misty
your sides and neck are coated
with your pads downright steamy

you like the cloth masking your face
where it’s advantageously placed
to ensure it goes directly in your mouth
with me playing the devil to get it out

you struggle chewing the towel
as I try to dry your four feet
yet before you can cry foul
it’s rub-a-dub-dub and you’re neat

who knew I’d grow to despise the dew
something I’d never given its due
but now I do
because of you

soon there’ll be no strain
when this moisture becomes frost
until then tis my refrain
“all is not lost”

Truth be told, James still finds it somewhat painful to have to dry me nearly every morning we go out. I, on the other hand, take it in stride. What? Oh, he told me he takes it in stride now, too. If I could, I’d give him a treat. Since I can’t, I’ll simply put my face on his hand and kiss him with multiple licks the next time he bends over to tie his shoes.

Speaking of tying shoes, come back in two weeks and read about his shoelaces. That’s right. Those stringy things are so inviting to a puppy’s mouth.

We hope you’re enjoying reading the poems James wrote during my first year. Let us know your opinion in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Short Stories - Author Webpage Help Needed
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)


Paw Prints courtesy of www.pawsitivelyloved.com
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated