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Rescue dog: Rule breaker or just plain cute? Pawing the line

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Courtesy of the Zheutlin family

(Read caption) Albie dozes happily on Noah Zheutlin's bed, paying no heed to the no-dog-on-the-furniture house rule.

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Lately, I’ve been wondering what it would be like to be able to eat only when someone else offered me food, and then being able to eat only what they offered. In other words, I’ve been wondering what it’s like to be Albie, our half yellow lab, half golden retriever rescue dog.

When he first arrived about three months ago, he didn’t seem particularly obsessed with food. Perhaps he was just happy to have what seemed, at last, like a real home with people who loved him and thought he was the cutest thing since Shirley Temple sang "The Good Ship Lollipop."

But of late, Albie, now assured of our undying affection, has shifted his focus to all things edible, including a chipmunk he managed to snare, and which I managed to save, all while I was holding him on his leash. He’s quick.

He isn’t sitting next to us at the dining room table looking like Oliver pleading for a little more porridge – not yet, at least – but he does watch us eat, and when food is left out, he is displaying some deft opportunism.

A few nights ago, as we were cleaning up, Albie quietly circled the coffee table where we’d put out some noshes for friends who’d come over to watch the presidential debate. You could tell he was torn between retaining his self-control and going for the vanilla almond biscotti (one of my personal favorites).

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