Thursday, October 28, 2010

Goodbye, Alfie

Alfie's gear was packed, feeding instructions written down, and Alfie himself received a thorough grooming.  Monday came, our goodbyes were said, one last picture was taken...

My husband Tim, the kids, and I are all kneeling on the lawn in front of our house, Alfie in the middle

...and I handed over his leash for the last time.  I did better than I thought I would; I managed not to break down and cry or do anything embarrassing.

That came later.

I had to run to the store for something and as I pulled up to the traffic light the random thought broke into my consciousness:  This was the first intersection where we crossed 4 lanes of traffic together.  I remembered Alfie's aplomb despite his young age and the busy traffic, as well as his polite tolerance of a toddler who patted his head as she walked the opposite direction with her mama.  Sure enough, tears start to well up.

OK, OK, calm down, I think as the light turns green and I head for the store...impossible not to remember, though, the many times I'd been here with Alfie:  how well he knew his "lefts" and "rights" (better than many people, actually)...how much he enjoyed finding the counter...how impressed people were that I could drop his leash anywhere and he'd relax into an automatic down/stay, always smiling at what I'm sure he took to be his adoring public.  No point in fighting the tears any more, so I just let them come! 

Somehow I manage to get my errand done, but the scene replays daily in various forms no matter where I go:

This is the store where some kids came racing around the corner and ran right into us...
We went and saw a movie with Alfie at that theater...
I remember working those steep  stairs there...
That's where we rode the bus the first time...

...And on and on.  At some stores, the staff even miss Alfie and ask about him!  I went to pick up a prescription and was greeted with, "Where is your dog?"  He's become, in some ways, almost a part of me. 
Alfie's sitting, pink tongue out, in the low crook of a liveoak tree; there's one giant branch on each side of him and the place where the branches meet forms a wide place low enough for him to sit in

But there's a sweetness to the sorrow, too:  If he already means this much to me, imagine what he'll mean to his partner as a fully trained guide.  That's what it's always been about, I remind myself.

Larry promised to update me on Alfie, and I'll post any news I get to this blog just in case there are still any interested readers out there!  My own life is opening a new chapter and I'm excited about what it may hold...who knows, maybe I'll continue blogging in some form later on, once I get settled.  This blog has been a fun journey for me, and seems to have taken on a life of its own!

I wake up to an oddly silent room in the mornings now.  No crate beside my bed, no questioning Grrr? coming from inside.  I used to flop over and unlatch the door with one hand, and he'd come out sleepily, yawning and leaning into me with a sort of Wawagaaa and a big whiskery kiss on the face. 
Starting off on our last walk together, Alfie and I are facing away from the camera; he's seated at my side, looking up at me and I'm looking down at him; the evening sun is slanting through the trees

Now there's just a crate-sized square of mashed-down carpet at my bedside...and, forever, an imprint on my heart.

Love you, Alfie.

10 comments:

Sierra Rose said...

So very sweet. Alfie! Do hope you can post updates. This has been a week of too many goodbyes in a variety of forms. Tears roll easily with all emotions... Alfie will be an amazing companion. Thank you for sharing with us his beginning journey with you! Blessings.

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose

CamillaBottelberghe said...

I've enjoyed reading Alphie's adventures so much, and I would love to hear more updates. I can't even imagine how hard it must be to say goodbye, but like you said, he is going to mean so much to his future owner.

Elijah and Dembre said...

I was almost crying myself reading this post. I know your gonna miss that dog and so will I. Hope you start puppy raising again after you move.

Katrin said...

I very much enjoyed reading your adventures with Alfie over the past year. I hope that your move and new stage of life goes well.

Ruby's Raiser said...

We'll be doing the very same thing, saying goodbye on Monday the 8th. :)

Best of luck to both you and Alfie, and our sincerest wishes for happiness in your move!

Vader's Mom said...

They you so much for sharing this part of Alfie's life. Good luck and please do keep us updated!

Christine said...

This last post was so touching! I can't even imagine how hard it was to say goodbye and then all the memories. I have loved reading your blog and do hope you will update us with any news on Alfie! I think you should consider a personal blog with your new path in life... you do a great job!

L^2 said...

Goodbye Alfie, and hugs to you all! I have really enjoyed following your adventures together. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life with us. Best of luck with your move!

Lisa, Ellie and Hosta said...

Good luck Alfie! Aw, so beautifully written and I am wiping away the tears. Can't wait to hear updates on the little man and hope you continue raising!

Michelle said...

I have loved your writing flair from the very first word. I love hearing the "normal" life of the amazing puppy raiser.

You will be missed far more than you are missing the Alfinator. I hope you will look into raising for one of the service groups when you get settled. You know i will get you the in you need, just ask!!

thanks for everything, you did so much more than i ever could.

Michelle