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Rescue dog Albie: A year later, an owner reflects on adopting his best friend

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Courtesy of Peter Zheutlin

(Read caption) Albie the rescue dog sits by a window in the Zheutlin family's living room, July 31.

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Our rescue dog Albie has been with us a little more than a year now.

The shy, tentative creature who’d been found wandering alone in central Louisiana, and who was just days away from being euthanized in a kill shelter, is now very much at home.

The dog that didn’t bark for weeks now uses his “outdoor voice” to engage other dogs we meet on our walks. The dog who wouldn’t even venture upstairs now makes himself at home in our bed. The dog that waited for attention now comes into the office as I type, looks up expectantly with ball in mouth and, if I don’t respond immediately, begins pawing my leg to let me know it’s time for a game.

You learn a lot about a dog in a year. You also learn a lot about yourself. Here are some of the things I’ve learned.

First, my tolerance for dog hair on the carpets and sofas, and mud on the leather seats in my car, is much higher than I thought possible. I still prefer things clean and neat, but there are some things you just have to let go. When you are over the moon for your dog you can overlook a lot.

Second, my capacity for loving an animal is far greater than I knew. When I look into those deep brown pools he has for eyes, when he cocks his head to one side as if to say “don’t go” when I leave the house, when he rolls over completely onto his back and rests his head in my lap – one way he says “belly rub, please” – I’m all his.

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