My “Borrowed” Pal, Shoetoe O’Dog

She’s not exactly “borrowed” but she is here only temporarily. This is Shoetoe. She’s (apparently) a mix of greyhound and border collie. She belongs to my friend L who’s off in the wilds of America in a broken down RV. That wasn’t L’s choice; she had other plans but we can’t control the insidious designs of our vehicles.


Shoe is one of the most interesting dogs I’ve been around. She’s very smart, very observant, a little high-strung. She spent the first afternoon and evening seeing how things work around here and since then she’s just fit in. The first day I gave them all cookies, and she gave hers to Dusty, acknowledging his male supremacy. He, in turn, left his for her. Shoe communicates in complete sentences. She’s an alpha female at her house but the only thing she’s sought to dominate here is one end of the sofa.

Slumber party

The girls having a slumber party. Evidence of “Shredder’s” recent conquest visible in the upper left-hand corner.

She’s not good on a leash which is a problem for me because I’m still dealing with an injured Achilles tendon, but I let her borrow a Halti — a gentle leader that fits over a dog’s nose — and after a couple minutes of fighting it, she figured it out and walks beside Dusty and Bear calmly and happily. In her real life with her real people she gets to run off leash, but I don’t do that with her. I’d hate it if she didn’t come back.

Shoe’s one of my favorite dogs ever and I’m enjoying her quiet, intense, and intelligent energy. She gives me sharp little kisses and curls up behind me to sleep. She’s there now. ❤

13 thoughts on “My “Borrowed” Pal, Shoetoe O’Dog

  1. So that is what is over some dogs’ nose–a Halti. I’m glad to hear it is a gentle leader because I always thought people put them on their dogs because they were biters. Thanks for the info, Martha.

    • Dusty and Bear are pretty well trained to walk on a leash but they are BIG dogs. Together they weigh more than I do. Not even my status as “Our Human” would hold them back from chasing a squirrel. Some dogs never get it, no matter what. For Dusty the Halti isn’t necessary at all except walking on a city sidewalk. He heels off leash, but he’s also a scary big black dog who barks at other dogs and people he doesn’t know. Bear is still a puppy and has a strong prey drive — I don’t think she’ll ever go off leash as her breed is notorious for wandering off. She knows when she is wearing the Halti she has to walk with me. When I loosen my hold on the leash, she knows she’s free to walk me, so to speak. Mindy doesn’t need anything at all, but the law says dogs must be leashed. Anyway, more than you wanted to know. Lots of people mistake them for muzzles and they can actually, if necessary, for a short period, work as a muzzle. The idea behind them is dogs lead with their nose, not their neck, and they are far more likely to understand a correction if it happens on the part of their body they consider their “front end.”

      • This was great, Martha, and I really appreciate all this information. I don’t have dogs anymore (3 cats instead), but mine were medium-small (Maltese and Spitz mix) so I just used the harness for both of them but was always curious about the Halti (which I did not know was the name). Thanks!

  2. She is a great combo for a mix. Greyhounds are so laid back but if they have not been taught their prey drive is something else. I, of course, love BC’s and but I love all dogs. She sounds like an ideal house guest-pet.

    • I love her. She’s responsive and intelligent and affectionate and wise — but she does have a prey drive that, in my experience with her, has mostly been directed at deer. Sad to say that even with short leash walks instead of running FREEEEE, she’s having more fun than her real family who are stuck in an RV park in Utah waiting for tomorrow when they’ll get the part replaced in their RV. I don’t know what they’ll do next — I’m afraid they’ll just turn around and go home and won’t be able to do what they set out to do.

  3. “Mrs. Human”
    “Yes Tabby”
    “That dog is a feline in disguise, one of our spies”
    “Obvious – she is well organised, makes detailed observations and is planning to take over.”

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