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The Importance of the Gaze.
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In the process, I suddenly realized, I was also showing her what to do with me. She learned I was good not only for putting kibble in a bowl and a leash around her neck, but also for introducing her to agility obstacles, playing “get it” games, removing snowballs from her paws and helping her sort through what to do about the strange things that pop up out of the landscape on our walks. This day, on this walk, she let me help her sort through a fishy, thorny problem with her tongue. More than teaching Ainsley to look at me, I realized I had finally, and much more importantly, taught her to look to me.

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Laurel Saville is the author of the memoir Unraveling Anne. She and her dog Ainsley live with her husband and two cats in upstate New York. laurelsaville.com

Illustration by Kathryn Hansen

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