One of the reasons we love dogs so much is that they really don’t care if they look or sound silly.
Case in point: Nightwing. As part of our preparations for going on a vacation to the in-laws’ cottage on the Chesapeake Bay, we were trying to figure out how we could keep Nightwing from popping the giant float we bought. Over the years, Nightwing’s claws have reigned terror on unsuspecting inflatables. More than one fun island wound up in the trash, looking as if it had been hit with buckshot.
Our cure for the island popping had been to not allow Nightwing on the float with us. But that’s easier said than done. Nightwing is a very social dog — where you are is where he wants to be. We’re on the float; he wants to be on the float. And, truth be told, we enjoy having him on the float — until we see the tell-tale bubbles of another claw-tastrophe.
So we set out to find a way for Nightwing to enjoy the water fun with us.
The plan: booties. Nightwing’s best friend, Nami, had boots she wore in the snow, so we figured there had to be boots he could wear in the water and on the float.
My wife searched online and found gazillions of products out there to protect your furry favorite’s feet.
We wanted to see some in person, so we checked out PetSmart’s inventory. We tried a few on Nightwing and then picked out some Pawz dog boots, essentially balloons for the feet. Small, thick party balloons that you stretch over the paws. They came in a pack of 12, and we selected blue so it would be obvious if he lost one.
For good measure, we also had his nails trimmed and buffed at the store.
We found our solution, and we couldn’t wait to try them on Nightwing.
We’ve seen enough funny dog videos to have a cell-phone camera ready.
A note about dogs, for you non-dog people: They don’t really like having stuff put on their feet, at least not at first. Nightwing is no exception.
We brought him outside and got him to lie on his side. He did so, with more than a little apprehension and a look that said, “I’m not going to like this, am I?”
Once we got all four paws covered, we backed away to give him some room to move in his snazzy new paw-wear.
As he stood, Nightwing tried to lift all four paws off the ground — seemingly at the same time — in an attempt to get whatever was stuck to his feet off them. Legs shot out in all directions as he lurched around a bit.
But pretty quickly, he realized he could walk just fine, even if it did sound like he had plungers on each of his feet.
Wock-wock. Wock-wock. Wock-wock. We justified our uncontrollable giggles with the knowledge we could share the moment with you and that Nightwing would be eternally grateful to us for giving him a way to join us on the float.
Fast forward to the cottage. The island is inflated and in the water. Nightwing’s balloon booties are in place. Time to jump on.
Success! Nightwing got up on the float and slipped around a little before finding his sea legs and really getting into being on the high seas — in about 3 feet of water.
Our euphoria was a bit premature. Remember those freshly cut and buffed claws? Well, they might not have been as buffed as we thought. In less than 10 minutes we noticed them poking through the paw protectors on his front feet, leaving the fun island at a real risk of becoming a giant vinyl welcome mat.
We are nothing if not determined. A quick trip to a local dollar store yielded a pair of baby booties — OK, socks — and we were in business once again. Socks on, followed by balloon booties and we had finally hit on the right combination.
Nightwing was able to fully enjoy his time on the inflatable — with us.
Well, except for the wock-wocking sound he made when walking around. Still, a small price to pay for that kind of ocean-going frivolity.