Photographer A. J. Windless    
Table Manners
He was just an innocent little ball of fur, no taller than a cat, but it didn't take him long to prove he could jump just as high as a cat. The first day I brought Tecumseh home I hadn't yet purchased any dog food. I thought he might be hungry and I wondered what I had that I could feed him. Tuna fish, certainly an Alaskan sled dog would enjoy a can of fish! I no sooner had worked the opener around the edges, the scent escaping into the room, the can still in my hand at just about belly button level, when my little potential terrorist eagerly began jumping off the floor like a little dolphin rocketing out of the water, his nose nearly tipping the can out of my hand. At that moment I realized one of the first things I needed to teach him would be proper table manners, otherwise, by the time he was as big as moose I would have a whirlwind of chaos on my hands. I taught him, like everything else I taught him, and he learned well. Whenever I did not appreciate his eyes,  as if they were magnets, trying to stare food out my hands, or the hands of one of my guests, I would simply order, "No begging." He knew that meant he should turn away and go lie down somewhere and mind his own business. Always obedient, he would oblige until I was done with my meal, then I would call him to me and let him lick the last bite of food out of my open hand. In this manner we got along quite well, rules outlining the nature of our relationship and how he would behave, while I spared myself food stolen off of the table, tables and chairs overturned, and perhaps a bundle of broken dishes.
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