Our dog, Junior, has some clearly defined favorites. He is partial to peanut butter, gloves and mittens, bacon, long walks in the woods and chest scritchies. He loves to greet guests at the door with a gift, often a pillow or tea towel. He earnestly claims the right-hand side of the couch. But his hands down, all-time favorite thing, is socks.
He is, in fact, somewhat of a connoisseur. Our youngest teenaged boy’s dirty athletic socks are the pinnacle. The crème de la crème of Junior’s sock world. Dad socks generally guarantee at least a few minutes of fetch with him, which is always a blast. Mom socks are awesome but you have to really be on your game to sneak those out.
Sometimes, Junior has socks that are specifically designated: Junior’s socks. These are socks which have become bereft of their partners for reasons laid down by the sock gods, who seem to think long-term sock monogamy just isn’t a thing. OR, sometimes, they’re what my husband calls, ‘quitters’. Those are the ones who’ve lost their oomph, and end up puddled in the toe of one’s shoe.
Those sorts of socks are the ones that become specially, uniquely, Junior’s. They are set apart from the others, by a simple twist and a tuck. That is to say, a knot. Once dad ties a knot in the sock, it becomes forever, a Junior sock.
And he treasures them. Of course, he’s a dog, so sometimes that treasure gets buried in the back yard, but they are treasured nonetheless. The ones that do stay in the house periodically get rescued from behind the kitchen cupboard or the sofa and are returned to the fold, valued even more for their coat of dust, their time spent gathering smells in the kitchen, and perhaps the brief game of tag each time one is unearthed.
The joy, evidently, isn’t just the sock itself, but the experience. It’s the smells and the texture. The interaction, the comfort, the knowing that all of those things are bound together.