Anyone who’s ever owned a dog knows the fascination canines have with shoes. While treats, toys, and bones galore lie strewn across the house, what does your dog want to chew? Your stinky, smelly, muddy shoes. At first it’s endearing, “Awww, look, Mommy’s little girl likes Vans, too.” Then the problem becomes annoying, “We do not chew on Mommy’s Birkenstocks.” And at some point, we take the furball to training after discovering our new Jimmy Choo pumps have been ruined by our overgrown “puppy.” Dogs and shoes and women and shoes—we’re all equally fascinated by the things.
So it’s not surprising that an enterprising cousin of the domesticated canine—a fox–was behind a ring of shoe thefts in the small town of Fohren in Western Germany. It all started when shoes began to disappear from door steps and back porches all over the city—sometimes the thief would steal the pair, but would more often leave one shoe behind. It was dastardly, confusing, and downright annoying—what can you do with only one shoe? And why did the residents leave their shoes out when they knew there was a shoe smuggling ring afoot?
As it turns out, the thief was none other than a female fox looking for a good time (full story). A forestry worker stumbled upon dozens of shoes around the fox’s lair, within her lair, and in an undisclosed location nearby where the local foxes like to play. It seems that the momma fox and her babies had a shoe fetish and like their domesticated dog pals, just wanted to play with the shoes.
The town’s “count” (German towns have counts? That sounds so medieval!) gathered the shoes and spread them out on the “palace grounds” (there are palaces in Germany?) so locals could reclaim their fox-bitten shoes. Because who wouldn’t want his or her shoe (or shoes—thirteen pairs were found amongst the singles) back after it was chewed, defecated upon, and played with by a wild fox who could be carrying diseases? (Of course, I could always use them for “The Shoe Project.”)
No word on whether or not the fox prefers German-made shoes like Birki’s or American shoes like Nike (which are actually manufactured in sweat shops overseas, but still…). And this fox hasn’t changed her ways—locals report in recent weeks that their shoes have started disappearing once again.
Of course they have! Old dogs (or young foxes) don’t learn new tricks. Nor do the townspeople who still seem to keep their shoes outside!