Alvin sticks out his tongue when he is nervous

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Alvin Meets the Fam

My dad lives in out of state and came for a few days to visit during Christmas.  I was eager for him to stay here because I wanted to see how Alvin would react to a male in the house, because if you have been following this blog then you know that a male in this house is a rare occurrence indeed.  Now getting a non-relative male in this house would just be slightly short of a miracle, but knowing my luck it would probably only be a repair man.   But back to the sweetest male in my life, Alvin - I wanted to see in general how he would react to someone new here.  Alvin is a friendly dog.  It is difficult to describe how an anxious dog can be a friendly dog but Alvin pulls it off quite well.  He is so curious about human beings and everything they do and so he stayed right around my dad and repeatedly put his nose on him.  Alvin confuses people because he will repeatedly come right up to the person and get as close as a dog can get without being in their lap but when the person goes to pet him, he quickly backs away, only to come right back.  I guess he just really likes to be physically close, as in his nose on the person, but it feels too vulnerable to be touched.  I had previously told my dad over the phone that I, along with others, think that Alvin is autistic and my dad scoffed at that idea because one, he had never heard of a dog having autism (it does indeed exist) and two, he couldn't imagine what a dog could do to give the impression that he/she had autism.  My father was a teacher, principal, and educational superintendent during his 40-plus years of working and so he is quite familiar with autism.  After being here for one night, I asked my dad if he was still skeptical about Alvin being autistic and he responded by spontaneously doing that kind of coughing-laughing response and said a definitive no. 

I had my dad sleep in my bed because it has the best mattress but I didn't know what Alvin would do with having the gang all in the guest bedroom.  I usually leave that door closed and so he has been in the guest bedroom less than five times, and for no more than a minute and so the room is very unfamiliar to him.  I left his bed in the room with my dad so that Alvin would have that there if he chose to sleep in there, but he would have the familiarity of the dogs and me if he chose to sleep in the guest bedroom with us.  I really thought that he would sleep with us just because my dad is a new person but he chose to sleep in the bedroom with my dad in his own little bed.  I was encouraged by that because I am learning that Alvin isn't afraid of new people, he is just afraid of them touching him.  The second night he chose to sleep with the dogs and me, which was also encouraging because more and more I am noticing that Alvin really likes to be included and does seem to feel a sense of belonging with us.  The feeling is mutual because I don't know what we did without him all the time before he circled into our lives.

Speaking of circling, my dad's arrival initially created quite a dilemma for Alvin.  My dad sat in the chair that Alvin loops around and this really threw him for a loop (pun intended).  My mom always sits in that chair when she comes over and as you all know, she is here a lot and so she is not a new person to him.  But with a new person sitting in the middle of his looping route, he just didn't know what to do and so he started to make a circle right in front of the television.  He repeatedly circled there for most of the first night and so our television viewing consisted of part of the screen blocked by Alvin's circling tail.  He must have become more comfortable with my dad because the second night he put my dad on his route and circled around the chair again.  You know Alvin is comfortable with you when he put you on his route.

Speaking of Alvin feeling more comfortable with people, while my dad was here Alvin let out his truck driver burp (no offense to truck drivers).  It really is his best trick and would be a wonderful addition to nearly any dinner party.  Well, a dinner party comprised of sumo wrestlers, but a dinner party nonetheless.  I fed Alvin and then did the count down to his after dinner burp and he let it rip.  I had warned my dad but hearing such a little dog burp like that is something one can't completely prepare for.  My reaction is probably the most inappropriate because I am strangely proud of him when he does it.  If only Alvin had come into my life when I was in college because there were many a party I would have taken him to and made money off of burping contests.  Oh, the missed opportunity there.

Tonight there was an opportunity I didn't miss, however.  I went into my bedroom and Alvin was in his little dog bed.  He goes in and goes to bed much earlier than the rest of us and when I went in he sat up in his bed.  He looked so groggy and sweet that I couldn't help myself but to kneel down and put my hands on each side of him.  I then hugged him like I would a person.  I have no idea why I felt compelled to hug him but he actually allowed me to hug him and didn't try to squirm away.  I then then kept my hands on his sides and put my face up to his and he very gently started licking my nose.  I am not a big fan of dogs licking me because I am always aware that they are capable of licking their own genitalia and at least one of the dogs in this house likes to get into the litter box in search of disgusting treats.  But Alvin giving kisses is impossible to resist and he very gently and lovingly showed my nose affection.  It just doesn't get cuter than that.

Alvin also got to meet my grandma recently.  I take Stevie and Timmie to the nursing home my grandma is in but I think that would be overwhelming for Alvin.  On Christmas day I was driving my grandma from dinner with the family back to her nursing home and I decided to make a detour to go by my house so she could meet him because I keep telling her all about him.  My grandma was the one that introduced our whole family to cocker spaniels because she and my grandpa got one for my mom and her sisters growing up and we have been a cocker family ever since.  I brought all three dogs out into the driveway and although Alvin was very curious about my grandma, he took one look at the car and didn't want anything to do with it.  The other two tried to climb in but that was one adventure that Alvin wasn't going to have any part of.  But my grandma got to see him and he has now officially met all the members of my family.  Alvin loves my mom but for an initial meeting he seemed to take most to my aunt.  Alvin seems to pick his people and I would love to know what his criteria for selection consists of.  He seems to be right on the money so far and so I just might leave it up to him to select my next boyfriend, although I will probably try to find a very old, wealthy man with a heart condition and then sneak treats into his pocket so Alvin "selects" him.  I'm not sure where one runs across elderly, single, wealthy, men with heart conditions but I think our next "walk" may be around a golf course.  A girl can dream, can't she?

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Janet! I'm a new reader of your blog, but a fellow member of the Zim forum. You may remember me as the Mom of Isabel (of "Dere Isabew" fame) and the current mom of Penny. Michelle Olson drew my attention to your blog because I was complaining to her that little Penny is a mystery to me, even with the experience of working with Isabel, who was plenty shy and fearful. So I'm glad to hear about your work with Alvin. Thanks for taking the time and energy to document your experiences.