Mr. Ridgers. What a goof ball.
RR knows Ridge, our yellow (fox red) male who is now eight years and soon to be retired from stud-service, came to us as a three year old. We don't know a lot about his "nurture" (vs. nature) from those early years, only that his previous owners loved him, trained him, and cared for him well. Beyond that, we really know very little.
Yes, we have his pedigree. We know who his original breeder was (but never met him or saw those facilities). We met his first post-breeder owners and did see their facilities -- both were great. But we've never really known much about the specifics of his early years.
Regarding his "nature" (as in, wiring) we know even less.
Ridge, of our gang, is our mystery dog in both nature and nurture when it comes to his first three years of life. All we know is what we have in his paperwork. That's it.
Fast forward five years, and we're still learning about Ridge.
One of our recent (in the last year or so) discoveries concerns his aptitude for storytelling.
Yes, I did say storytelling.
Ridge loves to tell stories! Who knew? We sure didn't for the first four years he was with us; and if his previous owners did, they didn't tell us.
Here's how it goes when it's story time:
Ridge parks himself somewhere (brick floor, sofa, kennel room floor, the picnic table top ... whatever suits his old-man's fancy):
A human type walks by, especially a "Dad!" human type or a "Mom!" human type (aka DH or me), Ridge cocks his head, and then makes a half-voiced singing noise. It's not a bark, not a whine, not a howl or a moan (and not even remotely a growl), but something in between:
Said human type then says something like "Oh Ridge, did you want to tell us a story? Ya got a story to tell us, Ridge? Huh, Buddy? You got a story?"
And that's Ridge's cue. Enter Ridge the Storyteller (that's my foot-filled-aqua-blue-and-white sock at his nose in the first pic below). Note the leg action required to tell stories:
Ridge tells us stories just about anywhere. The sofa:
The picnic-table-top (now, mind you, I'm inside looking through the kitchen bay window when these next few were taken -- he's shouting his story through the window!):
You get the idea. Ridge carries his stories with him wherever he goes, and he's ready to tell them at a moment's notice. Anywhere. Anytime. You name it, and story-teller Ridge is there.
Lest you think Ridge's story-telling is a typical Lab thing, in the twenty years we've owned Labs, I can't recall ever capturing a photo of even one of our other Labs vocalizing. We've owned eight Labs here (not counting our litters); not one vocalized like Ridge.
And none told stories when asked. (Hey... the first real "On Demand"!) .
Who'd a thunk?
Wiring, it seems, is revealed over time. We just can't know everything up front. And I think it requires some level of trust.
After three years with previous owners, Ridge took a while to feel at home here, to feel safe, and to trust us. But now that he does, we're afforded windows into the "real" Ridge we might never have otherwise seen.
We just needed to stick it out with him. We needed to give him a chance. We needed to give him time.
And so it is with canine wiring: given the right conditions, even story-telling wirings can soar.
So it is with human wiring, too.
Here's to giving each other the grace and time we need to discover, test, and enjoy our wirings.
'Til next time,