This photograph always makes me smile. My husband was busy trying to carry out vital repairs to our boat’s engine, and he was ably assisted by Buddy. I just love the way Buddy has found a way in, and made the most of it. Maybe he has sensed Anthony’s mechanical frustration and is seeking to relax him, maybe he wanted to assess the damage himself, or more probably he just wanted some attention.
When we were researching the Labrador Retriever breed prior to getting Buddy, we kept on reading that these dogs want to be involved in every part of family life. As you read that in books or on the Internet, with no experience of it in real life, you can’t help going, “Aaah!” as you imagine those doggy eyes fixed on you, as your devoted Labrador follows you around the house. In reality, Labs are a lot more direct than merely looking and following.
In Buddy’s case, he leads with his nose, and will push it in, wanted or not, at the slightest opportunity. For example when Anthony was intent on working on the engine.
In our house if you try having a quiet sit down with a newspaper, surfing the net, or just watching television, that cold wet nose will come questing your way, in search of affection. It used to come questing under bedclothes until its cold wet arrival was greeted by a firm push back, and a loud command to stop and desist immediately, which convinced it not to. To this day, it will loom over the side of the bath, ever hopeful of a friendly stroke.
Having lived with a dog that insists on being involved in all family activities, I know it’s not always terribly convenient. I remember my father-in-law coming round to carry out some DIY involving sawing wood. After a while he asked me if I would call Buddy away, as he was leaning so closely against my father-in-law it prevented him pulling his arm back, severely hampering his sawing.
However, I have to say I would not change him for the world. He may be an attention seeking nuisance, but he’s my attention seeking nuisance, and it’s flattering to be pursued so enthusiastically and consistently. He makes it plain he loves me and wants to be with me, and I can’t help loving him right back. Of course, he also loves and wants to be with virtually everyone he encounters – and they don’t always welcome it. Still, he doesn’t let a little thing like that put him off!
The thing about Buddy (and most Labradors) is that they are man’s best friend, whether the man likes it or not. And I take my hat off to persistence like that.