The concept of personal space has been studied for decades, with interesting results.\r\nApparently all humans have a \u201csecond skin,\u201d a personal space that should not be invaded. This is hard-wired in our brains. Our discomfort when someone gets too close is a feeling that cannot be controlled.\r\nOur personal space varies depending on who is coming close to us, whether it is a partner, family member, friend or stranger. The necessary amount of personal space also varies with cultures around the world. Some cultures allow a closer contact, while others insist on more personal space.\r\nWhat about animals? Researchers have found personal space is also hard-wired in the brains of animals. According to their findings, solitary animals \u2014 like cats \u2014 insist on a larger personal space, while pack animals \u2014 like dogs \u2014 tend to allow closer contact.\r\nThen there\u2019s Pierre, who has no concept about anyone\u2019s personal space. None at all. The other day I came into the family room after a morning of volunteer work. I picked up my knitting, got into one of the recliners and pushed the button to pull the recliner out into a comfortable position, where I could put my legs up and lean back. It had been a long morning and I was ready for some much needed rest.\r\nPierre was sound asleep on the dining room rug, one of his favorite places to sleep, since it has a clear view of the front door, the front hall and the kitchen.\r\nNo sooner had I settled down, than he came bouncing into the family room to join me. He jumped up onto the couch and slapped a large, hairy paw on my arm, his usual greeting and also an indication that he needs some attention.\r\nNo problem. I actually enjoy our bonding sessions. We talked for a while and I scratched behind his ears. Then I got out my knitting and prepared to enjoy some quiet time with the big dog lying next to me in companionable silence. I should have known better.\r\nAs soon as he saw that I had settled down on the extended recliner he insisted on joining me. Pierre stretched out his considerable length right beside me and slowly inched me over until I was squeezed against the chair\u2019s arm and he had taken over most of the recliner.\r\nAs though that wasn\u2019t enough, he put up his muzzle to be scratched under the chin. Reluctantly, I put my knitting bag down on the floor, as it became obvious no one could knit in that position. In minutes he was sound asleep.\r\nI know most friendly dogs are exuberant greeters when visitors or family come into the house. Pierre is no exception and I understand this completely. What is difficult to accept is his lack of consideration for people\u2019s personal space, not only when greeting, but all through the day.\r\nThose who have owned a golden retriever are familiar with the term, \u201cgolden hug,\u201d when the dog gently leans up against his owner. Pierre has taken this \u201chug\u201d to a higher level. He is a big, muscular dog and his hugs are powerful. I\u2019ve often been pushed and held against the kitchen counter by these hugs.\r\nPierre is a very loving dog, but even love sometimes needs space. Still, when I see his glad, toothy smile in the morning, bared front teeth and a wagging tail; when he greets me at the door as though I\u2019ve been away for months; when that shaggy head rests in my lap, I know he\u2019s worth more than any personal space he takes from me.