Anyone who knows Romeo knows what a bundle of energy he is! But what most people don't get to see is the very lovey-dovey, sweet, snuggly side of him. Romeo's favorite spot to nap is in my lap. That was a bit easier when he first came home with us and was just over ten pounds. At forty-seven pounds, he doesn't fit in my lap quite as easily, but that doesn't stop him.
As I type this, he is snuggled with me in my office chair. He loves, loves, loves to snuggle with me. Ok, I'll admit it, I love to snuggle with him too! But what happens when someone else is already snuggled up in my lap?
All of the animals in our home love to snuggle, from Freighter our cat to Jahzara our 80 pound Greyhound. What, you think an 80 pound Greyhound can't snuggle?!
We never used to allow the dogs on the furniture. But a couple of years ago, we decided to change our rules. The dogs are now allowed on the loveseat with us when we hang out in the evenings. This does create a bit of a dilemma when everyone wants to snuggle, because the loveseat and ottoman are not all that big.
Ed sits on the left, and I sit on the right. Normally, Romeo curls up in my lap. Freighter tends to come and go, but if Ed doesn't allow her in his lap, then she will try to snuggle with me with Romeo already there. Then Jahzara will snuggle up on the ottoman on my side. So, usually, it looks like this: Ed on the left side; me, Freighter, Romeo and Jahzara all crammed in on the right side.
All is well and good until someone else gets to my lap before Romeo. When it's Freighter, Romeo gets this look on his face as if he's thinking (I know I'm anthropomorphizing here, but let's just go with it): “Moooooom, that's MY spot. Now, where am I supposed to lie down?” At first he will pace around a bit, but then he'll get right up next to Freighter and lie down SORT OF next to her, and as close to my lap as he can get. In reality, he's slightly on top of her, but since I won't let him lie on her, he gets himself in as close as he can in hopes of offending her so she leaves and he gets his prized location to himself. A bit manipulative, but effective.
While a bit rude on Romeo's part, it works out since Freighter might leave, but she returns and snuggles in without danger of being squashed. So Romeo has found an effective way to get what he wants even if the cat gets the prized snuggle spot first.
Here's the real dilemma. What happens when Jahzara is in the prized snuggle spot? There is no forcing her out, because she won't just get up and leave. She will tell Romeo when he's being a pain in the you-know-what and will not be pushed around. Romeo has a lot more respect for Jahzara's space. So what is a poor boy to do?
He gives me those same looks that I get when Freighter is on my lap. He looks, he waits to see if maybe she'll move, he paces around a bit. . . If he can find a small space to fit in, he'll go for it, but he's very careful about not stepping on Jahzara, as that's grounds for a little-brother-kick-in-the-pants. But if he can fit in a tiny spot, even if he can't lie down and is sitting on the edge of my lap, he'll take it. If not, he'll eventually resign himself to lying on the dog bed by himself – torture, I know, but sometimes that's the way things play out.
So, the other night, Romeo and Jahzara had gone outside to potty and I was sitting on the loveseat alone when Ed let the dogs back inside. Since Jahzara had been snuggling with me the night before, Romeo made a very obvious run for my lap when they came inside. He was lying down snuggled in my lap in record time, clearly determined to get his prized snuggle space before Jahzara could think about it.
Most of the time, everything works out fine for everyone, and everyone gets their opportunities to snuggle. But it's a fascinating study in dog behavior for me to see Romeo's brain at work when things aren't quite going to his liking. He's a great problem solver.