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Rescue dog: Getting inside a dog's head and his futon fixation

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Courtesy of Peter Zheutlin

(Read caption) Rescue dog Albie's futon fixation may just be his discerning eye and nose for fabric.

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In the living room of our small cottage in western Massachusetts, there’s a futon that doubles as a sofa and, when the back is dropped down, an extra guest bed. As it turns out, the futon cover is made from a fabric very similar to the L.L. Bean dog bed we bought for Albie, our half-yellow Lab, half-golden retriever rescue dog. (I stood firm against having it monogrammed.)

I doubt I’d have ever noticed the similarity until Albie, who never jumps on the furniture at home, quickly made himself comfortable on the futon.

In our ongoing effort to try to get inside his head and discern what he’s thinking – about us, about his new home, about the presidential election – we surmised that Albie made the connection between the two fabrics and figured since he’s allowed on the dog bed, he’s allowed on the futon. Now, this may be imputing a power of logical deduction beyond your average dog’s ken, but it’s the kind of analysis people make all the time when they’re trying to understand what animals are thinking, especially dogs.

If Albie had surmounted the futon and lain there with that happy face he often displays – ears perked up, eyes wide open, mouth slightly agape and pulled
back in what we are convinced is a smile – we’d have said, “Aw, look how proud he is of himself,” even though I defy anyone, even the Dog Whisperer, to truly know if a dog is capable of feeling pride.


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