Greyhounds tend to be extremely sensitive about their paws. When she was eight years old, I began to notice that she started to walk just a wee bit differently: her rhythm and flow, the way she placed her paws, the sway of her majestic Greyhound butt (rump and upper thigh) and even her breathing etc. Her vet in Sydney did Xrays and told me that the wear and tear was pretty harsh for a dog of her age, attributed to her having been a racing dog when she was younger. Overworked, was the word the vet used. Humans are appalling, they should gamble on each other instead of the poor dogs.
Coincidentally, I too am very sensitive about my feet. They are not beautiful feet at all, in fact, the way I see it, somewhat unusually formed, and I’ve been enduring considerable sensory pain in my feet for as long as I can remember. As a result, I developed a persistent focus on footwear, collecting as many as 200 pairs of shoes at one stage of my life. (No, I don’t have that many anymore, I’m trying to travel light!)
Well, both Lucy and I have sensitive ‘feet’ and we much prefer the bare-foot / bare-paw way of life, but living in the city means we must dutifully put on our shoes each time we venture outside into the concrete landscape. The lush greenery and large old trees around our neighbourhood have all been mercilessly cut down and hacked away, replaced by a humongous wide road, and construction sites. Pathways exposed to the full forceful glare of the tropical sun become uncomfortably warm or even hot by 9am, and by noon, our bare feet or paws will begin to burn if we spent more then 5 minutes walking around unshod. Then there’s the debris to look out for too, we don’t want nasty things to become embedded in our paws, do we?
To make matters even worse, Lucy developed corns around this time in 2018. Corns are a scourge to many Greyhounds, and I was hoping that she would escape this, but unfortunately it was not to be. Since then, I’ve been trying all kinds of ways to alleviate the discomfort, because corns keep growing back after they are hulled, and walking becomes uncomfortable or even painful.
The combination of corns, lack of grass and hot concrete pathways meant that Lucy needed shoes! And what a struggle it was to find shoes that would fit Lucy nicely, that she would deign to endure. I tried the whole range of doggy footwear, from the super expensive to the cheap ones. We tried Neopaws, which I liked because they extend further up like high-tops, but the first order never arrived and I had to make another order, which cost me a pretty sum, only to find out that Lucy hated them. Then I tried Therapaws, but they were so round and flappy that we both hated them – Lucy because she didn’t like the feel of them obviously, and I am guessing also because they were a bit heavy. So I gave them to a friend to try on her Greyhound. Then out of desperation, I ordered near to a dozen different cheap Made in China ones. Ironically, the best ones – well crafted and not using cheap material – did not meet with Lucy’s sensory approval and she settled for the cheapest of them all. Sadly, they did not last, and she went through three more sets before the seller ran out of stock.
After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and a great deal of frustration and even tears (mine, of course), we finally found Hunnyboots, a company that makes special booties for the long and narrow Greyhound paws, which are very different from other dogs’ which are rounder and bulkier. They’re not cheap at all, but very reasonably priced for something one just cannot find anywhere else in the world. Then, they didn’t have the colour I wanted, in fact, they didn’t have any other colour in Lucy’s size apart from the bleh “Passive Fawn”. Sigh. I so much wanted the Hot Pink or Red. Anyway, I made do, so long as Lucy was comfortable, the colour didn’t matter to her anyway.
Then, guess what, they produced a brand new style called V3, and the Grand Greyhound Booties Circus started all over again. I pre-ordered a set of red ones this time, and waited an age for them to finally be ready to ship. When they arrived I found to my horror that they were too small for Lucy! They’d changed the measurement chart and I failed to notice that in my enthusiasm. So I sent them back and ordered a size larger. Hunnyboots uses DHL for delivery to Singapore, so they arrived pretty quickly. But, sadly, Lucy hates them. Well, I don’t blame her, because the front ones keep falling or twisting off no matter how tightly I pulled at the velcro straps. In fact, I hurt her once when I pulled too tight and she let me know her disapproval with a sniffy squeal of displeasure. Since then, she would balk each time I tried to put them on her paws. I did manage to get them on, determined as I was to try and make it work, but each and every time, the front booties would come off. I realised that I was distressing Lucy and it was counterproductive because I didn’t want her to develop a horrible phobia for shoes.
So, we are back to wearing the old Hunnyboots, which are now becoming quite grubby. Well, I did kind of create an acceptable compromise: I painted them red at the mesh area with fabric paint so that I could at least have the satisfaction of looking at red booties instead of the bleh fawn colour, and Lucy is happy with these old grubby comfy booties that don’t fall off as she walks. She can even do a bouncy trot in these ones. Pity they don’t make them anymore. I’ll have to try and figure out a way to alter the new ones to fit Lucy better… or find another kind of booty, which is a terribly daunting prospect – aaargh then the Grand Greyhound Bootie Hunting Circus will have to begin all over again. Sigh.
For now, as long as these ones last, we are Happy Feet!