Riggins is a lover, not a fighter. My dog loves showing affection to almost anyone, but more than anything he loves hugs and kisses from his Mommy — that’s me!
I’m a dog sitter, so I have experienced lots of different kinds of dog love. There are the pups who are cuddle monsters and must be on my lap, or at least touching me at all times. Some dogs will follow me from room to room and plop down at my feet if I stop or sit down. Then there are the cute littles who paw at me until I give in and rub behind their ears. Riggins isn’t that obvious when it comes to his love. His PDA has a specific purpose, to show everyone that I am his and he is mine.
When my nephew and then niece were born, Riggins went through a jealous stage. If I was holding a little human baby, he would find a way of wiggling his head and body onto my lap so he could be included in the love fest. I couldn’t just have my nephew on my lap — I had to have Riggins AND my nephew taking up the small amount of real estate.
Even now, if I’m cuddling with one of the kids, Riggins needs to join in. If we are on the sofa together, he will plop down across our laps, a move that tickles my niece to pieces. If the humans are napping, Riggins will jump up to put himself into a human sandwich.
My baby boy doesn’t sleep on the bed all night. He will hop up when he wants to cuddle and be close. Usually this happens in the early morning, right after he has eaten breakfast. He lies down on his side of the bed, with his head on the pillow like he is human. I’ll cuddle up behind him. He is the perfect size for me to curl my legs so they rest under his butt and for my arm to go over his chest and under his arms, resting in a position that makes it easy to rub his chest. If I stop rubbing, he will pick up his head and look back at me as if to say, “Why would you stop that? If you loved me, you would keep it up.” Of course that means I can’t stop.
I lean my face up against him so I can feel the warm comfort of his fur against my cheek. My arm and head slowly move up and down with his breathing. It’s relaxing; it’s our Mommy-and-son happy time before we have to face the day.
One of the first “tricks” Riggins learned was to give kisses. I’d lean in and say, “Give me kisses,” and he would be happy to comply. Today, when I need to get his attention (like when taking a picture), saying, “Do you want kisses” is the most effective way to get him to turn his head. Of course, he wants to give me kisses. He is my love bug!
Riggins isn’t one of those dogs who has to follow me around everywhere I go. That doesn’t mean, though, he is far away. He is always there in the room with me, usually right in the transition to a hall or another room. He always knows where I am and makes sure that when he plops down for a snooze, he is in a spot where if he lifted an eyelid, he could see me.
Of course, we all want well-adjusted children, but if I am being honest, I have to say there is a little bit of happiness inside of me that Riggins obviously misses me when I am gone. Even when he is with people he really loves, like his grandma and grandpa, I’m told he spends the first part of our separation waiting by the door for my return.
Once I had to leave town for a last-minute work trip. My normal babysitters, my folks, were out of town, which left me searching frantically for last-minute accommodations for my sweet baby boy. He ended up spending the night with my best friends, a couple Riggins has known for years and the parents of his best doggie friend. I took the time to warn the male of the couple that Riggins was going to want to sleep with him and it was important to me that he be nice and accommodating to my baby. It turned out I didn’t have anything to worry about: Riggins spent the night curled up on the mat by the front door.
If Riggins sees me packing, he knows something is up and gets anxious until he is confident we are going somewhere together instead of him being left behind.
As a dog sitter, I’m pretty good at taking dog selfies. I usually get the dog in a headlock, smash my face up next to her, and click. As you can imagine, many dogs aren’t in love with this and the pictures are often blurs of them trying to get away from the crazy woman. Not Riggins. When I tell him that we are going to take a picture together, he has no problem posing with me.
I have dozens of pictures of the two of us, faces smashed together, smiling for the camera. You can just see the love in his eyes. He is so happy to be out with me and can’t hide his love of the attention I give him. There are little hearts in his eyes when he looks at me.
The feeling is mutual!
How does your pup show his love for you? Is she a cuddle monster or an attack kisser? Share your stories in the comments!