In the time of my life BB (Before Bastas), I had a much more cavalier attitude about leaving my things out unattended while I was away from the house. After all, it was not exactly if my chinchillas were going to spring out of their cage and eat my shoes, and my fat old shepherd mix could not care less about chewing on anything besides her own food.
Bast, however, is more than happy to get into just about anything and everything in my house and has ruined the carefree "Leave my shoes by the door because they're fine" environment. BB, I had no reason to count the potatoes in the pantry - if I left the house with 6 potatoes, odds were there would still be 6 potatoes sitting there when I returned, barring supernatural interference. Now I walk in the kitchen, notice there are 2 spuds missing, and start wondering at what point in my day am I going to find a surprise starch squirreled away somewhere in my things. Bast rarely destroys what he finds - he just takes it and puts it elsewhere for shits and giggles.
The exception to Bast's non-violent pilfering is leather products. Anything made of dead cows is on the menu, I have learned to my sorrow. Belts, shoes, jackets, boots, bound books - Bast is an Equal Opportunity Destroyer. Although it only takes a few beloved possessions shredded to learn your lesson about not leaving things out in the open, tricking Bast is a little more complicated than simply putting your things away (which as an adult, I should be doing anyway, but, you know...)
At first, putting my leather goods away in the closet sufficiently protected them, but the infuriatingly clever Bast was not stalled by the closet doors more than a couple days - his versatile, monkey-like front paws are more than dexterous enough to pry open the sliding doors to reach the forbidden fruits of my belongings. When my most beloved leather jacket fell prey to the Big Bad Wolf, I started lobbing everything onto the highest shelves of my closet. Putting things up higher than even I can reach them for the most part resolved the issue of shredding, but it doesn't stop Bast from sliding open the closet doors and making a huge god damn mess of everything in his quest for the leathery Holy Grail.
I needed something to keep him out of the closet period, but my options were limited. A lock wouldn't work (no place to put it), and neither would spraying a bitterant - Bast loves the bitter apple sprays sold at most pet stores as deterrents. Of course he does. The little freak.
As in most areas of dealing with Bast, outwitting him to protect my things became an issue of psychological warfare. If physical deterrents wouldn't keep him out, it was time to go deeper and tap into the the most basic fear of every dog, befriend the most hated of enemies, make a deal with the foulest of Devils.
I parked the vacuum cleaner in front of the closet door.
Like most dogs, Bast has an instinctive hatred of the vacuum, that deceptively passive appliance that spends most of its time silent and roars to life a few times a week. Because Bast is a naturally skittish creature who needs to be frightened only once by something to develop a life-time complex because of it, he has never really gotten okay with the vacuum. Occasionally, he will stand his ground against this buzzing nemesis by actually staying in the same room, but that bravado lasts until it swoops anywhere close to his direction - one hint it's coming toward him and he becomes a pitch black streak retreating to another room.
I have two closets, and fortunately, two gate keepers to stand sentinel over them - my beloved Dyson Pet Vacuum and the lumbering Hoover Carpet Shampooer, which makes up for its lack of speed and agility by being even noisier and more obnoxious than the vacuum. Each one guards a closet, and completely stymied my leather-raiding dog.
If having strategically placed vacuums isn't weird enough, you have to also remember that I am absolutely incapable of acting in a socially-acceptable manner about the smallest things. Pleased with my ingenuity at enlisting the help of my appliances to act as gargoyles against Bast, I greet each vacuum by shrieking, "I AM THE GATEKEEPER!," every time I pass by.
Hoover and Dyson have yet to tell me if they are the key masters, though, so the portal remains locked thus far.