Monday, May 23, 2005

The Nudge

Since we have a Benedryl-induced hiatus from the complete craziness of the last ten days, I thought I'd take today to write about another endearing quality of Ridge's: his nudging nose.

Ridge loves attention (as do Elsie and Baxter). He enjoys a back rub with the best of them. He groans with pleasure during tummy rubs. And he loves to be stroked.

So far, that sounds like any Lab I've known.

Here's where Ridge is different: he won't let you pay attention to anything else when he wants you to pet him.

If I'm working at the computer in the family room, he'll deliberately "bump" the arm that controls the computer mouse (never the other arm; only the mouse-controlling arm). He'll nudge that elbow with his nose until I turn and scratch his head. Then he's happy.

If I'm sitting in the recliner holding the TV remote, he'll nudge the hand and arm holding the remote. If I don't respond, he'll put his head in my lap. When I finally pat him on the head, he'll sit quietly next to me. Then he's content.

If I'm eating at the table, he'll wiggle his head between my elbow and my torso to get a good look at what I'm eating (see photo of him doing the same to Don a few weeks ago). If I ignore him, his nudging will grow more insistent; if I take a second to scratch behind his ears, he'll go lie down, happy as can be.

If I'm reading the Sunday paper, holding the paper open with two hands, he'll bump the center of the paper with his nose making it impossible to read. If I fold up the newspaper, talk to Ridge, and pet him for a minute, he'll curl up at my feet. Then I can read the paper undisturbed.

If I'm reading a book, he'll nudge the binding of the book until I close the book and acknowledge his presence. Again, if I pat his head and reassure him, he'll lie quietly beside and let me read in peace.

I think he just wants to feel secure in our affection for him. And once he gets his attention "fix" he's good to go (for a few hours anyway). Nudging is how he asks for attention.

We call him The Nudge. And a gentle nudge he is.

'Til next time,

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