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. Sandy July 12, 2022 / 12:32 am

    When you’ve never had a pet it seems like an awful lot of bother to own one. But when you do have a pet, it’s no bother at all.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Audrey Driscoll July 12, 2022 / 12:56 am

    Alfie is cute, despite the buzz cut. I’m actually a cat person, but right now we have a Newfoundland dog named Nelly. 125 lb. Everything about her is big–big feet, big nose, big heart.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. cindy knoke July 12, 2022 / 1:23 am

    I can’t open the photo of said Adogable, but I fully understand the sentiments.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Lynette d'Arty-Cross July 12, 2022 / 1:31 am

    Relationships with dogs are like relationships with people; some work, some don’t, but sometimes they REALLY work (or don’t). For the most part, I’ve had dogs all my life but lost our dear Rudy a few years back. We’re not sure if we will get another one, my, they are great. Alfie looks like a real nice guy, and his haircut isn’t so bad. Good for the heat!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. endardoo July 12, 2022 / 3:05 am

    I can only say that having dogs has been, and still is, wonderful. Alfie is adorable

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Paddy Tobin July 12, 2022 / 3:09 am

    A beautiful dog and, as you will surely agree, one with impeccable taste. We haven’t had a dog for the past ten years but I always enjoyed them when we did. You will enjoy this, well, some of this story: our last dog, a big beast, a cross between a sheepdog and a labrador, big and hairy, friendly and defensive of territory and family, died, as I describe it, in the service of humanity for he nipped the bottom of a passing jogger and had to be put down. A sad day for us.

    Liked by 4 people

      • Paddy Tobin July 12, 2022 / 12:23 pm

        Very unlikely; certainly not our attention at the moment but it could happen!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Paddy Tobin July 12, 2022 / 3:28 pm

          “intention”, of course!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Martie July 12, 2022 / 5:21 am

    Dogs are my favorite people. Another interesting narration.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. swabby429 July 12, 2022 / 6:24 am

    Alfie looks like Marcos–a friend’s golden retriever who gets sheared every spring for hot weather. Big dogs and I get along just fine. Alfie sounds like a great friend.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Denise Denton Thiery July 12, 2022 / 10:38 am

        Growing up, we had a collie named Lassie, because back then every collie was named Lassie after the tv star. Since then, I’ve always had cats. Unfortunately my husband is highly allergic to pet dander, but I love to interact with pets belonging to friends and neighbors. I get the cuddles and fun, then when it needs ticks removed from its ears or a bath (because it’s been wallowing in garbage), I call my neighbor and say, “Come get your dog.” It’s kind of like sucking up to someone with a pool or a boat. They get the hassle and expense and I just get the fun. Haha. I’m no dummy.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. shoreacres July 12, 2022 / 6:34 am

    Of course the first thing that came to mind when I read your title was the question, “What’s it all about, Alfie?” In an unexpected and quite wonderful way, your post answered that question. I had a beloved cat for 18 years, and miss her terribly, but while we together I experienced the kind of relationship you describe here. Given my age and limited resources, I’ll not have another pet, but in different circumstances I surely would. And I’ll confess it — it would be a cat.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 12, 2022 / 10:34 am

      Morning. I’ve never taken to cats too much. My wife, though, is a cat lover. She’d probably love to have one in the house right now!

      Like

  10. annieasksyou July 12, 2022 / 7:22 am

    Love this post, Neil. I’ve been severely dog-deprived for a while and must stop myself from actively dog napping the likes of your new friend. If I lived in New Mexico, your bro would probably need a restraining order. The soulful eyes get me every time.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 12, 2022 / 10:36 am

      Alfie’s eyes definitely are soulful. My sister-in-law told me that she and my brother chose Alfie because of Alfie’s eyes.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. JOYCE HAMILTON July 12, 2022 / 8:01 am

    Happy that you had a bonding experience with Alfie. I always had cats and never a dog but l enjoy being with the dogs that my friends have.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Laurie Graves July 12, 2022 / 8:20 am

    Dogs are a lot of work, but what good buddies they are. Alfie is utterly adorable, even with a buzz cut. And all too soon, his hair will grow.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Helen Devries July 12, 2022 / 8:45 am

    Well, you certainly consoled Alfie for his contretemps with the groomer….it’s a wonder he let you leave!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. gabychops July 12, 2022 / 8:51 am

    What a delightful post! As to your looks, why don’t you look like the Boss? I saw him performing
    with Paul McCartney, and looking young, no more than 50!

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Deb July 12, 2022 / 9:20 am

    Alfie is a cutie for sure. He knows he has a good thing in befriending you!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Carol Balawyder July 12, 2022 / 9:21 am

    There’s a reason why they say a dog is man’s best friend! I have had a similar experience with my dog and the groomer shaved him. He looked like a large rat. Now, when I go to the groomers i specifically say do not shave him. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 12, 2022 / 11:10 am

      If Alfie’s hair ever grows back fully, I guess my brother and sister-in-law will choose to keep his hair nice and long.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Jacqui Murray July 12, 2022 / 10:22 am

    Alfie is a sweetheart. Those are huge eyes. I’m sad he had you in his life and then you disappeared. Maybe Zoom calls with him? Although, I don’t know that dogs get the idea of video images (meaning, I don’t think mine does).

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Donna Cameron July 12, 2022 / 11:18 am

    I’ve never had a dog, but find myself wondering what it would be like to experience that unconditional love and devotion, and to feel that way in return. We’ve had cats . . . it just isn’t the same. But now my husband says no more pets—he fears that we would die first, abandoning it. Alfie looks like a great “starter dog.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 12, 2022 / 1:09 pm

      An amazing thing about Alfie is how fast he can move. My brother and I were outside in the backyard one night, and Alfie was doing sprints around and around the grounds. I was amazed.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Paula B July 12, 2022 / 11:20 am

    A lovely tribute to Alfie, even though he is not our own. Our dog Buster Posey is a drain on the pocketbook and an obstacle to freewheeling travel plans, but we wouldn’t give him up for the world.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 12, 2022 / 1:12 pm

      Hi, Paula. I remember that you mentioned Buster Posey before in one of my stories. Your dog has one of the best names ever. You know, you should try and get in touch with the real BP, and let him know that you’ve named your dog after him. I think he’d be totally flattered.

      Like

  20. Sam Gridley July 12, 2022 / 11:21 am

    We had an Alfie in our family. He was an obnoxious, manipulative Chihuahua mix, a tiny expert in passive aggressiveness, but he was beloved anyway.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 12, 2022 / 1:14 pm

      This would be a good title for a book: “Obnoxious And Manipulative, But Beloved Anyway”

      Like

  21. talebender July 12, 2022 / 11:33 am

    Well, you certainly told us what it’s all about with Alfie! Nice story.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 12, 2022 / 1:16 pm

      Hi. I think about the movie Alfie now and then. Haven’t seen it in a very long time. It’s really good. Michael Caine is a heck of an actor.

      Like

  22. snakesinthegrass2014 July 12, 2022 / 1:01 pm

    And he’ll remember you too. Dogs are so good about remembering people. My wife is a serious cat person, and I’ve always enjoyed dogs more. – Marty

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Al July 12, 2022 / 2:34 pm

    There’s an old saying that every time you pet a dog you add 5 minutes to your life. If that’s true, I’ll outlive Methuselah. I don’t think I’ll ever be without a dog.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter July 12, 2022 / 4:02 pm

    He looks adorable! But you will have to forgive me for being another cat person – especially after a dog bit John the other week when he was walking to work minding his own business! Of course, the owner is to blame, but it still makes me more wary.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 12, 2022 / 6:18 pm

      Hi. There are too many irresponsible dog owners — they allow their dogs to bark their heads off outside, or they don’t have the dogs on leashes, or they don’t pick up after their dogs, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. kegarland July 12, 2022 / 5:27 pm

    One of the best relationships I’ve ever had was with my toy poodle. It’s the weirdest thing how we can bond with animals.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. viewfromoverthehill July 12, 2022 / 7:07 pm

    I easily identify. I loved our dogs! However, good for you in carefully considering the responsibility and not jumping into dog ownership. As a bionic lady with advanced arthritis, there have been times of late when I could never have given a dog the care and EXERCISE they require.
    He’ll definitely remember you and you can enjoy him on your next visit. Cheers, Muriel

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Becky Ross Michael July 12, 2022 / 7:23 pm

    Adorable dog! I’ve had one dog as an adult, and I still miss him immensely. I’m afraid that’s why I never looked for another.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Becky Ross Michael July 12, 2022 / 11:42 pm

        Hi Neil. Yes, I’m sure that you can. Different people deal with this in different ways, of course. Some can’t wait to get another pet. I had trouble dealing with it and probably waited too long.

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Array July 12, 2022 / 10:56 pm

    I’m not surprised with how you connected with Alfie! Dogs can touch our souls in ways that humans often can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. tylerus July 13, 2022 / 9:33 am

    Ooooh, he does have beautiful big (love-and-pet-me) eyes. What a sweetie. I, too, want a dog but, as you pointed out, they are a big responsibility, and I don’t think I have that in me, at least not at this time. But you never know. Here’s hoping.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. The Coastal Crone July 13, 2022 / 3:25 pm

    It’s funny how animals choose their friends. I had a cat that preferred men and ignored the female visitors. I am a cat person, but when our last one died I decided I didn’t want the responsibility at this older age. Dogs do make good companions. Alfie is a cutie!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 13, 2022 / 4:35 pm

      Hi. Many thanks for adding your thoughts. Right, pets can be fickle. For example: My sister-in-law told me that the dog they had before Alfie used to like her more than my brother. But at some point that dog started to like him more than her.

      Like

  31. Crystal Byers July 13, 2022 / 4:18 pm

    Somebody might need an updated Alfie photo before long, one where he’s luxuriously shaggy.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Anonymous July 13, 2022 / 6:30 pm

    enjoyed this tribute to Alfie; I too am a dog person though I am learning to appreciate cats: certainly they are great fodder for poetry; love the self deprecating humor of this piece 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Christy B July 13, 2022 / 7:19 pm

    You bonded with Alfie 🙂 We have 3 cats and definitely have bonds with them. I won’t hold it against you that you’re not a cat person, haha!

    Liked by 2 people

  34. tanjabrittonwriter July 13, 2022 / 9:57 pm

    Alfie looks like a good pal to have. Never having seen his previous coat, I think he looks great and I imagine a sleek outfit will feel better in a New Mexico summer than a thick one. And if it’s any comfort, his hair should grow back to its previous luxuriously shaggy self.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 14, 2022 / 12:00 am

      Hi. My brother says that he was shocked by the way Alfie looked after the groomer took off all the hair. He could hardly believe it was the same dog.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tanjabrittonwriter July 14, 2022 / 4:55 pm

        That’s understandable. I guess next time he will need to make sure that he and the groomer define exactly how much hair should be groomed away!

        Liked by 1 person

  35. selizabryangmailcom July 14, 2022 / 1:07 am

    Awwwww. So adorable. When was the last time you had a pet? It’s been decades for us.
    We had two kittens in Brooklyn for a while, brother and sister, that we named Gary and Cooper. But I miss having a dog too. They’ve evolved to be with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 14, 2022 / 8:54 am

      Hi. I’m one of the smallish number of people who have never had a pet. My wife had cats for many years. But that was before she met me.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. Dave July 14, 2022 / 10:20 am

    Perfect name for a dog, Neil. I want to do my best Dionne Warwick impression and ask him, “What’s it all about…?” The connections (or not) dogs make with humans is fascinating. Our St. Bernard makes his decision (“Yay or nay”) through the front windows of our house as a person approaches the door – sight not smell – and that impression seems to stick once he meets them. Often he has an inner-sense about who’s a decent human and who’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. We’ve learned to trust his instincts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 14, 2022 / 4:18 pm

      Hi. What you say about your dog is very interesting. I wonder what percentage of dogs have that sort of inner sense.

      Like

  37. Alyson July 14, 2022 / 11:15 am

    When Burt Bacharach came across to London to record the song Alfie with our own Cilla Black, she was initially not impressed with it all. ‘Alfie’, she said, ‘that’s the name you give a dog’. Of course the song did go on to be really successful and the Cher recording was used for the film of the same name.

    And now you are sharing pictures of Alfie the dog – an excellent name for him as it turns out.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. jeanleesworld July 15, 2022 / 7:45 pm

    You and I feel the same! I love dogs, but caring for one on top of kids would be just too much..and honestly, while my kids may love the *idea* of having a dog, the actual *work* of having a dog would dampen their enthusiasm pretty damn fast. I suppose I feel a pet’s absence more keenly these days because my mother’s dog passed away last year. Now we’ve no pet among the relatives save for my brother’s cats, and as you note, they’re not the most social of creatures.

    Liked by 2 people

      • jeanleesworld July 20, 2022 / 9:59 am

        Me neither. I have plenty of small creatures in my home with attitude that I don’t need to add a cat to the mix, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  39. lookingforthehigherself July 16, 2022 / 2:04 am

    Alfie is so handsome and love the sound of his personality. Im
    more a cat person and love that they are aloof but still can’t resist the sweet Alfies of the world.

    Liked by 2 people

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