Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Abby & Begging

(I don't have any photos of Abby begging, but this one is close enough. Nikki was pretty good at it, too.)

Abby had begging down to a science, an art form, if you will. She knew how to strategically position herself where someone was eating as well as how to give a certain ‘look’ to get that person’s attention. Nothing of Abby’s appearance would suggest subtly, but she knew how to place herself directly in front of the person eating so that the person would be facing Abby and be forced to look at her beg. All of this was done without one’s knowledge until she had staked out her position and locked in on her target. You were forced to acknowledge her just by her positioning alone.

On her last Thanksgiving, Abby tried her best to beg from everyone at the dining room table but with no success. Her next move amazes me still to this day. This overweight dog crippled with arthritis slipped under the table undetected so she could be in the best possible place to get food—directly underneath the middle of the table. No one knew how she got there, and how she was able to sneak under there was funny. When my mom pointed out where she was, we almost congratulated her for her determination and initiative.

But her strategical positioning wasn’t the only tool in her box. Abby could give a look that could evoke so much sympathy and concern for her that you would forget that she was a little fatty who could skip a meal or two. She had this sad, forlorn, long-face that could convince her target that she had been locked in a closet and not fed for days.

The last trick up her sleeve was one of last resort. She would slightly shift side to side. It wasn’t like Andy’s shifting where he looked like he was tap-dancing. Abby’s shift was so coy and yet wasn’t forceful that it would provoke her target. It was a move that said ‘Look at me, please!’

Normally, that would be enough for her to get ‘tumpty’ (something). In the event that didn’t work AND Abby was being ignored, Abby would pull out the big guns and loudly bark at her target in that deep booming voice she had. That would get anyone’s attention. Sometimes in an attempt to tease Abby, I would deliberately ignore her just so I could make her bark. She would be so frustrated, and it was so cute watching her bark like that.

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