Green Living Blog: To save a pair of shoes, what would you do?

Green Living Blog: To save a pair of shoes, what would you do?

Can we all agree that a funny story is what we need right now? I'm going to roll with that sentiment and tell you all the story of how I saved my hiking boots from the garbage this week. Fair warning: the story involves poop.

Late one evening the dog wouldn't quit whining. I had the kids tucked into bed, Kris was busy online with a friend, and I was ready for bed. I told the dog in no uncertain terms that I wasn't going to let him out just to bark madly at the great outdoors. Only the night before, I had to go traipsing out in the dark to lure him back out of the neighbour's yard while he was barking incessantly at god knows what. On an acreage, there are so many things to bark at. I get it.

The dog continued to whine, I continued to ignore him. I sort of drifted in and out of sleep between whining episodes. Eventually I got up determined to find a solution to his whining. Last summer we used a fan as white noise so he couldn't hear the coyotes at night. Groggily I got out of bed and toddled downstairs to get the fan from our storage area.

The route to the storage area takes you past the front door. As soon as I got down the stairs I could smell that all was not right. It smelt distinctly like the dog had had an accident in the house.

Even at my 1:30 in the morning stupor I put two and two together. The poor dog didn't want to bark at things, he had the runs and needed out. I let him out immediately, but the weird thing was, I couldn't find the 'accident.' My nose confirmed its presence, but my eyes were failing me. Until I looked at the shoes by the door: my hikers, and Kris' canvas shoes. Both of my hikers were neatly filled with liquid dog poop. Not a bit on the rug, nothing on Kris' shoes, just two hikers filled with doggy doo.

I burst out laughing. "Kris – you HAVE to get down here and see this." Kris came down in his own 1:30am fog, was amused, disgusted, took a picture of the absurdity, and left. What the heck was I going to do with two shoes filled with dog poop? It's one thing if you get a bit on the sole, but both of them filled to the brim?

My I-have-dealt-with-so-much-poop mom brain took over for me. I donned the uber poop-proof rubber gloves we kept from washing cloth diapers and emptied the shoes into the toilet and flushed. Then using an old garden bucket I rinsed them out and dumped the water in the trees. I left the shoes on the deck for the night and chuckled my way back to bed. The dog came back in much happier, and was quiet for about an hour, until he barked madly from within the house at something outside. Sigh. Should have completed my original mission and gotten the fan.

I left the shoes on the deck for a couple of days while I mulled what to do with them next. "Burn them" said Kris. "Throw them out!!" said my best friend. "Man, I have climbed mountains in these shoes, they are comfortable and they still have a ton of life left in them", I thought to myself. "I'm not throwing them out without at least trying to save them."

So I did what any sane person would do, I put them in the washing machine. (Remember they had been rinsed out, so they hardly had any 'material' left on them, just odour.) I ran them through on a cold wash on their own. Then I filled them each with baking soda and ran them again. After that, they were put out on the deck to dry. If that didn't do it, I wasn't sure what else would.

After a day of drying, they seemed fine. No evidence of their misfortune, visible or odour. So, I put them on for a round of gardening, and still no smell after being worn. I pronounced them restored to their original virtue and saved from the garbage.

I still don't know if the dog did that intentionally, or if my shoes just happened to be positioned at an unfortunate distance from the door. Either way, I got one heck of a good laugh out of it, and I hope you did too.