At this time of year, my thoughts turn to Alfie, a brindle lurcher Annabelle fostered in the autumn of 2008.
I have happy memories of Alfie. He was a complete nutter and a good laugh. He looked gorgeous as well, like a younger version of Owen Bowen. He was never still, which made it hard to get a photo of him – though Alain did manage to catch him in a rare moment between racing in circles and wriggling about on the sand.
When Alfie first arrived he’d just had a big operation on his back leg, which had been badly broken while he was living on the streets. The vet was afraid he would have to amputate it, but he told Annabelle to try physio first and see if that would help. Every morning Annabelle would give Alfie a giant chew to keep him occupied while she massaged and manipulated his leg as instructed by the vet. The sight of that chew almost made me wish I’d broken my leg.
Alfie had boundless energy and enthusiasm, which helped him recover quickly. He soon went from skittering along on three legs to dashing around on four, and once he started there was no stopping him. He never tried to boss me about (unlike some) and we had great chasing games together.
Right from the start, Alfie was a handful. Even on three legs, he would skitter off and dive-bomb other dogs. When Annabelle came home from a hunting expedition, he would tear the bottom out of the shopping bag, distributing the contents all over the floor for our inspection. And he was a MOUNTER.
A mounter does exactly what it says on the tin – mounts everything that moves, including the person caring for him.
Once mounted, Alfie was like Velcro. Over and over, Annabelle would remove him from her leg only to have him clamp straight back on again. She would be forced to struggle to the door – dragging one leg with Alfie attached – and put him in the garden to cool off. This was high comedy for me, but not much fun for Annabelle.
At last came the triumphant day when the vet declared Alfie’s leg safe from the chop. Another part of his anatomy wasn’t so lucky (I believe they call it ‘neutering’) but hopefully that put a stop to his ‘problem’. We never found out for sure, because soon afterwards he found his forever home with a loving family.
That was five years ago now, but I often wonder if he’s still up to his old tricks.