You may remember that our landlord's family, on the first floor, had a dog named Snoopy. He was a funny, cranky old guy who used to howl at the milk vendors in the morning, with the happy result that they started turning off their loud electronic jingles when they came down our street.
Sadly, Snoopy died several months ago, possibly of some kind of virus. Now there's a new puppy: Blackie.
My first thought on meeting Blackie was that she must have been a pity pup: the kind you adopt because they're cringing in their cage and seem like they need someone to love them. Blackie is exceedingly skittish. It took many tries before she would accept treats from my hand; even now, it's a dicey proposition, and if I twitch a muscle while she's eating she'll jump away with a look of terror.
Blackie's major function is to bark at anyone who comes in the front gate. She'll follow you up the stairs, but she trails one floor behind, like a ghost puppy. Lately she's also branched out into shoe transport. She doesn't chew on the shoes; she just redistributes them from one floor to another. Maybe it's a strange little cry for help?