Greys Lite Shoes came to me as a dream come true. Some of you greyhound veterans from back in the day might remember a certain picture from nearly a decade ago in the GAGR newsletter of “I NEED A GREYHOUND” written in Cheerios on a kitchen table. That was middle school me, and Shoes was the result of that interesting new font (and months upon months of research, begging, PowerPoints, and not-so-subtle hints that without a Greyhound, I would basically die)!
We adopted Shoes during one of the most miserable years of any young person’s life -- middle school. From the very beginning, Shoes was the light at the end of the tunnel. When I had a bad day, I would always come home and be able to go hug that big goofball. Adolescent years were pretty rough for me, to say the very least. During this time, Shoes was, without any doubt, my best friend. No matter what, he was a happy, handsome, eternally loving and accepting companion. There is no question in my mind that even though adopting Shoes might have saved him, I was truly the one who was saved. Looking back, I don’t know what I would ever have done without him. He was the most incredible soul, two or four-legged, that I have ever met.
Shoes was a big, striped oddball. Like many Greyhounds, he was a bit of a collector. He loved stuffed animals and balled up socks but was also known to attempt to steal such other objects as toilet plungers and dumbbells with varying rates of success. He loved everyone. Many people might recognize him from meet and greets over the years, where he charmed everyone who met him! We also took him to nursing homes, schools, and museums. I’m not sure who loved it more, Shoes or the people for whom the event was actually for! He loved to give hugs, and when he was happy and excited he would jump and put his paws on your shoulders while giving you a priceless look with those big brown eyes. Looking back, I would do anything for one more Shoes hug.
Kids loved him for his name and his happy-go-lucky demeanor. He always wanted to be petted and would lean on you as you pet him, occasionally nearly falling off his feet if you moved away. He slept in the dead cockroach position and never failed to make us laugh, whether awake or asleep. He had some interesting dietary preferences, including a rather frequent distaste for dog food but a great love for turkey, rice, yogurt, carrots, and all sorts of (generally expensive) add-ins. He might not have been the most intelligent (in fact, at times he was really quite dumb), but he made up for it with affection, adoration, humor, and undying loyalty. Despite his questionable IQ, he always knew whenever something was wrong and just had a way of making everything better.
No one else has ever positively affected me so much in life. My Shoesie Bear was half the reason that I stayed in Rochester for college (thankfully, the University of Rochester is also prestigious… but really, Shoes was more of factor!) and I regret nothing as I graduate from there in just a few days. People often asked me if I went home a lot to see my parents. I did see my parents, but Shoes was the real draw. He taught me so many things -- how to sleep through all sorts of weird dog noises, to always make sure you never leave food on low counters, to laugh at and enjoy the little things, and to sincerely appreciate everything you are given in life. Most of all, after everything I went through, Shoes taught me how to love again.
Losing Shoes was beyond devastating. I lost a best friend and true love. I still can’t look at pictures of him or go where his (many!) beds were without choking up. Mercifully, Shoesie lived a long and healthy life and was happy and youthful almost until the very day that cancer finally took him from us. I don’t know as though I will ever get over the loss of my sweet, joyful boy. I would do anything to see Shoes again, but I am so grateful that I had more than eight wonderful years with my beloved pup. Thank you, Shoes, for saving me. You brought light and happiness when I didn’t believe they even still existed. You will always be missed and will live on forever in our hearts. I love you always.