Annie the Tribble

Annie is an affectionate dog, and by affectionate, I mean a pain in the ass.  Annie loves everyone. If you sit down, she will run up to you with her tail a-waggin’ then jam her head into your lap, looking up at you with those big brown why aren’t you petting me? eyes. Of course the eyes are just a distraction from the dripping wet drool-laden lips that just soaked your pants, but that’s all part of the game. You see, in the language of Newfoundland dogs, drool = love.

If, after a reasonably long time—say, one-third of a second—you haven’t begun to pet her, she will then take her pointy nose, jam it under your arm and flip your hand up on top of her head where it belongs. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll commence with the petting, or it will just get worse. Actually that’s not true; it always gets worse.

Annie has a variety of tricks up her furry sleeve to get you to pet her. It starts with the head in the lap. That, I suppose, is a form of using the word please to her. The arm-flip isn’t a please at all. I’d say the arm flip is more of a NOW! added after the please for effect. Now the pointy nose method used by our arm-flipping ferret-dog has a few variations. She can just flip your arm straight up, or she can give it a twist and flip your arm up and to the side. Sometimes she’ll flip your arm just high enough so she can jam her head in under it before it falls. That maneuver is usually followed with the why aren’t you petting me? eyes again. In her mind, if her head is in your lap, and your hand is on her head, then you should be a-scritchin’. I mean, why wouldn’t you be?

Now, if you haven’t begun petting Annie by now, she will escalate her attack and resort to the strongest please she knows. In Annie’s arsenal of pet me weapons, one is reserved for the end-game. When all else fails she will resort to the mightiest of moves, the most powerful of techniques, the  ultimate weapon if you will. When all else fails, Annie will deploy… the paw.

We never taught Annie haw to give her paw. We dont’ know if her first family taught her this, or if she just picked it up on her own. What we do know, is that Annie is a young, lithe little (120 pound) girl who can raise her paw a good four-plus feet in the air from the floor. That means that she can land a paw on the face of an average seated adult with ease. For this reason, I’m constantly on the alert for the paw. Years of Tae Kwon Do training have served me well in the ongoing pet me/go away conflict between Annie and me. I can dodge her swinging ferret-foot with amazing speed and grace for a 45-year old fat guy. The kids? They’re not always so quick.

Newfies are known to be lovable dogs, and Annie is no exception. Actually she is sort of an exception, but I don’t mean that she’s not lovable. She’s… too lovable! No, that’s not right either. The word lovable means literally able to love. I don’t mean to say that she is unlovable, it’s just that she wants, no… needs love. Dammit, that’s not right either…

Annie demands love.

In the original  T.V. show Star Trek, episode #42 of the second season found The Enterprise infested with little furry creatures called tribbles. In the third act, when the tribbles start to overrun the starship, Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Lt. Uhura have the following exchange:

SPOCK: Captain, I am forced to agree with the doctor. I’ve been running computations on their rate of reproduction. The figures are taking an alarming direction. They’re consuming our supplies and returning nothing.

UHURA: But they do give us something, Mister Spock. They give us love. Well, Cyrano Jones says a tribble is the only love that money can buy.

KIRK: Too much of anything, Lieutenant, even love, isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Of course, Captain Kirk was talking about millions of tribbles overtaking The Enterprise. I’m only talking about one tribble, er, ferret… dog. I could easily have the same conversation with Lauren. I imagine that it might go something like this:

GAD: I’ve been running some computations and the figures are taking an alarming direction. Annie is consuming all our supplies, destroying the house one screen door at a time, driving me quietly mad, and giving nothing in return.

Lauren: But she does give us something Mister Dimwit, she gives us love. Well, Newf Net says that a Newfie is the only love that money can buy.

GAD: Too much of anything, especially Annie, is not necessarily a good thing.

Lauren: Put down your tricorder, stop playing Star Trek and help me clean up the trash that Annie spilled. For the last time, you are not a starship captain!

GAD: Yes Dear…

One of my many nicknames for Annie is The Love Sponge. Though that sounds like a double entendre, it’s not meant to be (and get your mind out of the gutter!). No, the term Love Sponge means that Annie will soak up all the love in a room. She will demand love from each and every person until there is either no more love to give, or she has had her fill. Of course neither of those possibilities exist in this universe, so we are constantly accosted by Annie, no matter what we’re doing, or where we are.

Though there is only one Annie, after an exhausting afternoon of defending myself from Annie’s demands, I feel like Captain Kirk at the end of the episode where he is chest-deep in tribbles. Annie would probably smother someone with good intentions. She just wants you to love her, to admire her, and to pet her. Luckily, she only wants that 24 hours out of the day. Our tribble-dog doesn’t have an off-switch when it comes to love though, and that’s why she’s Annie. Hey, at least I didn’t compare her to the salt monster from season one.

If you’ve never seen the Star Trek episode, The Trouble with Tribbles, or just feel the need to nerd up a bit, you can watch it in its entirety with CGI enhancements here on the CBS webpage: The Trouble with Tribbles

Oh, and yes, I really do have a tricorder. And a phaser. OK, I have a communicator too. But I don’t go running around the house playing with them all… much.

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10 thoughts on “Annie the Tribble

  1. I think it’s endemic to the breed, maybe most breeds. We sure have a bunch is this house and the female rotten rowdy Rhodey Ridge is the worst.

  2. Hmmm, wonder if you could harness the power of the paw to serve a higher purpose? Like opening doors when your hands are full of groceries? Pushing toys out of your way as you walk through the house? High five during sporting events? Kangaroo boxing?

  3. Are you sure you’re not talking about Porter, our 5 year old New rescue or Sophie our almost 9 year old rescue? It is hard to believe there is such an affectionate breed on this earth. We’ve had 5 newfs (3 have been rescues) over the past 23 years and every one of them has been a “love” puppy.

  4. Having Mister Dimwit and Newf Net in the same sentence is criminal. Or is each just anther word for love?

    The olde English Sheepdog paw would never come out unless I was wearing a fresh new shirt and tie. And then it would be hanging over my shoulder as I stood in the kitchen! Later in the day, someone would see the mark on the back of my shoulder and ask what it was. I guess I could have responded “Its Love”


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