One of my favorite things about dogs is their ears—the fur on them is so silky and soft that they’re a go-to place for my fingers. Buddy’s ears are no exception and offer lots of petting real estate. He’s got a huge blocky head and large ears to match. I’ve heard that rubbing a dog’s ears is calming for them. I’m not sure it’s true because if it were, my dogs would be limp with relaxation with the amount of ear rubbing they get from me.
If it isn’t calming for them, it’s certainly calming for me. As a little girl, I had a blanket named Tickle Blanket. The satin trim had come off and the edges were frayed. I liked to gather a corner of the blanket, hold it near the end and rub the soft strings along the space between my upper lip and nose or cheeks. It’s name was Tickle Blanket because of the soft tickling this created.
My dad had a special way of arranging my blanket for me at night. I would lie in the bed with my arm out. He would hold the it by the corner, the blanket hanging down, then lay it along my side and over my arm, the crucial corner by my face. Only he could do it. Sometimes I wish I could take one of Buddy’s ears and rub it along my lip and face the way I did with my blanket.
Sugarplum agrees about the appeal of Buddy’s ears but for totally different reasons. His ears are her go-to playthings. Any play she starts with him begins either with her gnawing on his ears or his hind legs. He’s amazingly tolerant of her pestering. If he’s reluctant to play, it can take much munching of ears to get him engaged. By the time she’s done with him, his ears are wet and slobbery. The hair on them dries stiff and prickly. It looks like he’s used doggie hair gel to achieve a mini punkish hairdo.
Buddy has a tattoo inside one of his ears. Based on my research, it’s either a puppy mill or breeder’s mark. He was a rescue from a rural kill shelter in Oklahoma, taken in by a Lab rescue here in Colorado (http://www.safeharborlabrescue.org/). We’ll probably never know exactly what the dotted-line “SB” tattoo in his ear signifies. Like his tattoo, the first two years of his life are a mystery to us. It’s clear that at least some of it wasn’t good.
But all that has changed. He now lives in a caring home with two other dog friends, plenty of food, walks, a soft warm bed, and plenty of ear rubs.