The Daddy Scratch

Her name is Toby Brownie Sunflower Noodle Poodle, but mostly I call her Poodlah, (rhymes with good, huh!), Pood (rhymes with food), Noodlius, or Poodlius. When she misbehaves (she excels), it’s generally “Noodlius”, preceded by “goddammit”. I believe she interprets “goddammit Noodlius” as “good girl”, because she always hears it when she is rolling around in, or eating, rabbit poop, or getting into someone’s pocket where they keep their snotty tissues, or any of many other violations. If you ever visit me, take care where you set your beer (if having) and maintain situational awareness of your cannabis (if any) at all times.

A couple years back I was home from Germany for Christmas, lying on the couch in gastronarcosis from some cooking and/or eating related extravaganza. I loved living in Germany, and enjoyed adapting my cooking to the different types of ingredients I could easily get, but being back in the land of large packages of familiar ingredients led me to some excess, measured in freezerfuls of leftovers from well-attended feasts. If I remember correctly, I had several gallons of clam chowder simmering, or was perhaps braising a gigantic bone-in pork butt. Anyway, the Pood was stretched out on the corner of the sofa back that had originally been squashed down into a poodle perch by the late and most excellent Daisy Noodle Poodle. I grew tired of whatever I was reading, or awoke from a nap or something, and invited her to climb down on top of The Daddy. She has a way of stabbing her front legs down onto my chest from above, then sort of hopping her back legs off the back of the couch onto my beer belly. Oof.

I could just barely reach down with both my arms stretched out to scratch at her backbone just above her tail. Tiny little finger motions like parting your hair down the middle. I gradually worked my way up to the back of her neck, sometimes going down her flanks but mainly concentrating on her spine. I managed to locate one area just a little bit above her tail, where scratching it just right led to her giving the cutest little quiet grunts. This was the first time I had done this particular move. Mrs. Dean, reading in the comfy chair across the Persian rug from the couch noticed and remarked upon the cuteness of the grunting. I kept repeating my tail to neck massage, and every time I hit that sweet spot I elicited happy vocalizations. Eventually a timer went off and I had to venture into the kitchen to attend to my pre- and post- gluttony duties. The Pood was perhaps reluctant be heaved off my stomach.

Over the next couple of weeks, I found that cute noise elicitation via Daddy Scratch was not a slam dunk. Sometimes there was no noise, sometimes different spots were sweet. One regularity was that a strenuous hike would set the stage for a chorus of different happy grunts, elicited from multiple potential sweet spots. Toby has many admirers who are pleased to provide her with, or witness her being provided with, ecstasy, and I found it gratifying to demonstrate the Daddy Scratch to all who would enjoy it.

I returned to Germany after that Christmas, having gotten my covid paperwork in order (not everybody at the gate had, alas for them), but was back the next Christmas and then back for good a few months after that. The Pood was very happy to receive these bursts of Daddy Scratch, but now she gets them several times a day. About half the time with the satisfying grunts.