My Pal Alfie

Not a bad photo, huh? The dog, who goes by the name of Alfie and who is in possession of enormous eyes that peer deeply into yours, seeking your essence, is cute as can be. And he was even cuter a couple of weeks before this picture was taken. By which I mean that Alfie, a Wheaten Terrier, was the definition of luxuriously shaggy at that time (I’ve seen photographic proof of this). But when his owners — my brother Richie and my sister-in-law Sara — brought him to a groomer for what they thought would be a trim, the groomer, totally incompetent and/or smashed out of his or her mind, went hog wild and sheared off tons of hair. Alfie was left looking as sleek as a sausage. I’d have sued. Or maybe not . . . after all, the new version of Alfie is still damn cute.

I made Alfie’s acquaintance in early June when my wife Sandy and I visited the aforementioned couple and other family members in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The photo dates from that visit. Alfie was nine months old. At one time a human was prominently displayed in the photo too. Me. But I cropped the picture drastically because I look like absolute shit in it, disheveled and sporting neck folds as thick as ham steaks. I don’t know, maybe I look like absolute shit pretty much all the time. At my advanced age it’s perfectly possible. But I like to dream that such isn’t the case.

The most amazing and unexpected thing for me about the New Mexico trip was that Alfie and I took to each other as though we were predestined to become close pals. This was a wonderful experience. It felt totally natural, making me realize that I’ve missed the boat, pet-wise, never having had a dog or cat as a kid or an adult.

Now, cats ain’t my favorite cup of tea anyway, so I have no regrets about their continual absence from my life. They’re too aloof, though I know there are exceptions. Dogs, however, I feel fine about. I’ve been with a fair number of them, including three that Richie and Sara owned prior to Alfie. But only one canine — a mutt named Maggie who lived with friends of mine during the 1970s — ever showed more than the slightest interest in me. Maggie, exhibiting dubious taste, dug me a lot. The bond between me and her was the strongest I’ve ever had with a non-member of my species. Until Alfie entered the picture, that is.

My relationship with Alfie developed, no doubt, due to my lack of hesitancy in patting his head and rubbing his stomach. Alfie, it was clear to me, couldn’t get enough of those forms of contact. As a result, before I knew it he was paying meaningful attention to me, often laying his head on my legs or resting one of his paws gently on my arm. And gazing with wonder and interest into my eyes. Which resulted in my petting and rubbing him even more than I had, cementing the feelings that flowed between us. Strong feelings, you understand. Alfie, you’re my kind of dog. That is to say, you like me!

As for Sandy, well, she and Alfie had a mutual admiration society going too. But there’s no denying that Alfie seemed fonder of me than he did of her. Sorry, Sandy, but facts are facts!

Will Sandy and I ever get a dog? Probably not. Owning a dog is a big responsibility, one that requires a lot of time. I’m not particularly up for that. I haven’t discussed the topic with Sandy, but I’m pretty certain that she isn’t up for it either. You never know, though. The love and companionship that a dog provides aren’t to be underestimated, that’s for sure.

Sandy and I were around Alfie for eight days. When will we see him again? There’s a real chance that we’ll visit Richie and Sara next year. So, maybe it won’t be terribly long before my new friend and I commune once more. Usually it’s not easy making friends, especially when you’re frigging old, like me. If only all friendships developed as quickly as this one did.

168 thoughts on “My Pal Alfie

  1. Debra July 17, 2022 / 10:35 am

    Stan is not a dog person, so I had to choose between him and a dog. Some days I wonder if I made the right choice…When I need mental therapy, I go to a local dog park and watch the dogs play for a while. It’s wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. D. Wallace Peach July 17, 2022 / 5:27 pm

    I’ll bet Alfie was a lot cooler without all the hair, Neil. Maybe a blessing for the summer. Aren’t dogs great? I love how they gaze into our eyes with such adoration. And they’re so easy to please – just a little love goes a long way. I don’t have any pets anymore and miss them. I hope you get to visit with Alfie again. He’ll remember you no matter how much time passes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 17, 2022 / 7:52 pm

      Hi, Diana. I guess I’ve missed out on a lot by never having had a dog. But I’ll be real glad to see Alfie again one day (next year I hope).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Silver Screenings July 17, 2022 / 9:19 pm

    I’m already looking forward to your reunion with Alfie next year. He looks like he has the kind of eyes that see into a person’s soul.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Linda Pearce Griffin July 18, 2022 / 3:36 pm

    There were only a few years in my whole life when I did not have a dog companion. I am always mystified by those who do not have these creatures in their lives. For me, dogs love unconditionally and are appreciative of any attention they are given – no matter how little. My dogs trust me implicitly and their presence soothes my soul.

    Should you choose to change your lifestyle to include a dog I predict you will not regret it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. alhenry July 18, 2022 / 6:10 pm

    “But when his owners — my brother Richie and my sister-in-law Sara — brought him to a groomer for what they thought would be a trim, the groomer, totally incompetent and/or smashed out of his or her mind, went hog wild and sheared off tons of hair.”

    LOL, I sympathize 100% with Alfie. I had an experience JUST LIKE THIS (ridiculous cut due to total incompetence and who knows how many spoonfuls up the nose of the hairdresser–all this after waiting for a cut from Feb. 2020 until May 2021!!!)

    Also, “It felt totally natural, making me realize that I’ve missed the boat, pet-wise, never having had a dog or cat as a kid or an adult,”

    Neil, I’m shocked. A softie like you, never having a pet??? Animals NEED folks like you and Sandy. People who won’t beat or starve them or drop them off a cliff so they can film it for You Tube(Yes, I’m OK with turning on the guilt trip here)

    Anyway, thanks, truly, for sharing Alfie with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Joe July 19, 2022 / 12:30 pm

    Great story, Neil! Alfie is probably happy with the close haircut, especially in the warm Santa Fe summer. Glad you have a new friend out west.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 19, 2022 / 4:19 pm

      Hi. Right, he must be more comfortable with the hair gone. I wonder if my relatives will let his hair grow back fully. I’ll have to ask them about that.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. rkrontheroad July 20, 2022 / 2:50 pm

    When I was a child (middle or high school?), my father took our collie Lady to be “groomed” and she came back looking like a greyhound! I cried and cried. But it all grew back and he never did it again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 20, 2022 / 7:10 pm

      Collies were a very popular breed at one time. I wonder if that’s still the case. Hi, Ruth. Have a good rest of the week!

      Liked by 1 person

      • rkrontheroad July 20, 2022 / 10:23 pm

        Hi Neil. I think collies were overbred – ours died young of cancer, sad to say. The pervasive breeds these days seem to be labs and golden retrievers. Hope they are doing well. Thanks, enjoy your week as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Fictionophile aka Lynne July 21, 2022 / 7:45 pm

    I like your new pal Neil. I’ve never owned a dog though I do have two ‘grand-dogs’ which are King Cavalier spaniels.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pam Lazos July 22, 2022 / 2:59 pm

    They steal your heart, they do. My son begged and begged for a dog that he “needed for his childhood”! We finally gave in when he was 16 got Apollo and then my son was off to college and guess who Apollo’s dog is now? Wouldn’t change it for the world and Neil, with all the walking you do a dog would be a welcome companion! 🐶 ♥️😘

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pazlo September 16, 2022 / 10:24 am

      “Ryan’s dog” Chuy was left behind when he went to college.
      Chuy became the light of my life, and is the finest in a lifetime of dog companionship.
      We shared 15 1/2 years together, and after he died I launched a blog dedicated to him, to dogs, to dog lovers, and to all those who give their fragile hearts to loved ones of another species.


      Liked by 2 people

  10. Stuart Danker July 22, 2022 / 7:54 pm

    Aww, what a cutie! He has almost the same haircut as my cocker spaniel right now, lol. And I hope you do get a doggo someday. They’re totally worth the commitment, because the act of giving love is a blessing in itself (similar to how the act of writing is sometimes more rewarding than the actual results). Thanks for sharing! And lemme see if I can somehow attach an image of my doggo:

    Liked by 3 people

  11. cigarman501 July 23, 2022 / 11:33 am

    We adopted a rescue three months ago, an Australian Tri-Paw…that’s a blue heeler with three legs. We weren’t looking for another puppy but sometimes they seek you out. We are all happy with our decision.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. roughwighting July 24, 2022 / 3:01 pm

    I understand your friendship with Alfie. Some dogs just BOND with a certain person, as if they are meant to be BFF’s, even they don’t get to be together often. I had this kind of relationship with Oliver, my brother’s dog (lab/golden mix). My brother lives 8 hours away from me, so I didn’t see Oliver often, but every time I did visit, Oliver just sank into total ecstasy that we were together again. As did I. And believe me, the next time you visit Alfie, no matter how long the time in between, Alfie will be SO happy to see you once again.
    Side note, six months ago I learned that Oliver was dying of cancer (13 years old) and didn’t have long to live. So my guy and I drove the 8 hours down to say our goodbyes. It was so worth the long drive. Oliver’s heart melted the same time mine did. True love never dies.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 24, 2022 / 6:18 pm

      Hi. I wonder why dogs prefer certain people over other people. Does it have to do with vibes? Maybe so. By the way, I have to say that your reply is one of the best I’ve received in recent years. Thanks very much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • roughwighting July 26, 2022 / 2:56 pm

        Ohhh, thank you. I tend to write comments that are too long, but with blog posts that really “reach” me, I can’t help myself. 🙂 Yes, I think somehow our energy ‘vibes’ with certain beings – human or other animal. Maybe even plants!!! :-0 But that’s another subject for another day 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. eden baylee July 26, 2022 / 10:55 am

    Neil, I think you need to get a dog, or at least set up regular trips to visit Alfie. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Juliette July 29, 2022 / 1:30 am

    Such a cute encounter! I’m not really into dogs and I’ve always had the impression that the feeling was mutual, but to gain the affection of a pet surely is a wonderful thing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 29, 2022 / 7:40 am

      Hi, Juliette. I sure never had anticipated bonding with my relatives’ dog during the trip. I was very, very surprised.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Americaoncoffee July 29, 2022 / 7:34 am

    What a loving sensitive share. Alfie is a great bond but a year is too far off.😢

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Lisa at Micro of the Macro July 30, 2022 / 5:55 pm

    LOL! You are always entertaining, Neil. Alfie does have very soulful eyes & it’s easy to see how you’d fall for him. I have a cat now for the first time since I was a very small child, and she brings me a ton of laughs, but also gets super pissed at me from time to time & ignores me for hours. So I can understand your not being a cat person! Hope your weekend is going swimmingly! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 30, 2022 / 8:58 pm

      My wife is a cat person, and I’m sure she’d like to have one now. She had cats growing up and for much of her adult life. But, it’s true: I’m not a cat person!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Michele Anderson July 30, 2022 / 8:17 pm

    Pam’s right, they do steal your heart. He is a cutie for sure. Unconditional love is what dogs show us.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. junedesilva August 3, 2022 / 6:02 am

    I’m a massive dog lover and I often blog about my dog when I’m supposed to be blogging about France!! My Border Collie has one blue and one brown eye and sometimes, when he looks at me, he looks so wise! Love this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 3, 2022 / 9:24 am

      Hi there. I’ve heard of people who have one color in an eye and a different color in the other eye. I wonder if that happens occasionally in all animal species.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. stargazer August 7, 2022 / 7:57 am

    Aww, he is lovely! I’ve always loved animals, but I prefer cats over dogs. Probably because I grew up with a cat? Also, they tend to be more independent that dogs, which I prefer.

    Liked by 1 person

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