Monday, November 17, 2008

The Touch Factor

I know Labs are "just" canines. I get it; they're not human. But, boy-oh-boy, canines (especially Labrador retrievers) and humans have much in common.

One of those things is the need for touch (well, in Labs and humans that are emotionally healthy and socialized well anyway).

These pups, since they came home, seem inseparable (both pairs: Sky and Green; Yellow and White (Bones). They chew on things together, they romp together, they pounce on toys together, they pace their pens together, they get drinks together.

And they, of course, sleep together.

Here are Miss Sky (ear hanging over front edge) and Mr. Green (tucked in under Sky) choosing to sleep in the open crate last night:

And here are Mr. Yellow (in the orange collar, on left) and Mr. White (Bones, on right) settling in for the night:

It's like they're invisibly joined somehow.

And this time, it's not an issue of being cold. The wood stove is blazing, and the circulating fans running, so the kitchen is really warm where we're keeping Yellow and White. Miss Sky and Mr. Green are in the kennel room, which has radiant heat flooring, and the heat has been on in there since it started getting cold at night. All four pups are in roasty-toasty living conditions (yes, we keep plenty of water available at all times for them).

But they still want to touch.

And they want to touch us, too (they can't seem to get enough of us!). When I got into the pen with them last night after their last meatball for the evening, Mr. White and Mr. Yellow both climbed into my lap and promptly fell asleep (little snuggle bugs).

This need for touch could have something to with the fact that they haven't been able to touch each other since they went into the hospital, nor have they been able to snuggle with humans like they used to do. They have lots of missed snuggles to make up for (and I'm only too happy to oblige!).

But it isn't just that: Ridge, Elsie, Kenya, Tuc, and Pinot, who've been with us all along, "need" touch, too. They thrive on it.

I think touch, just as it does in human-types, fosters comfort and security in Labs. Maybe it does in other mammals, too, but I can only speak for the breed we know and love.

I can't explain it. I can't document it. I can't cite studies to back me up.

But I know it's true. Labs respond to affirming human touch. It calms and assures them.

And if our guys are any indication, it fosters recovery and healing, too.

I guess I have my work cut out for me this week, eh? :o) :o)

And that's a kind of work I can live with.

'Til next time,


Hope said...

Touch is very important and our Hope demands it a lot. In fact, we have a puppy pile every night and while watching TV, she often sits in our lap. She has even taken up the trick of rubbing up against us like our cats. I love it and respond every time with hugs and kisses. Touch is important no matter whether you have two feet or four. : ) You hug those puppies as much as you can because they really need it now. Sending love and HUGS to you all.

andybrenner said...

Joan and Don

It is good to hear the news. We will be thinking of the four pups yet to come home,but sounds like they are almost out of the woods. Please give them all big hugs ad kisses and an extra special one for our bones (soon to be known as Titan). We will contiue to check in and will be back in the states tomorrow evening.

Best wishes to all

The Brenners

Monica said...

I know what you mean. I have a golden retriever and she's all touchy feely too, which I love. I have friends who have a weimeriner. She's a great dog but doesn't like to be snuggled at all. My Abby loves to be touching some part of me when she sleeps. Plus she's a worrier, as a lot of goldens are by nature, and is always coming to me for hugs and pets when she's worried about something.