Friday, November 25, 2011

Two Years Ago...

...on this very day, we brought Alfie home for the first time!  Little did I know that that tiny ball of fluff and puppy breath would grow up to make himself a permanent part of our lives, bringing his special blend of humor, mischief, and affection with him. 

What a personality he's proved to be! Perhaps one of Alfie's most amusing traits is his natural curiosity.  I have never seen a dog as interested in every detail of our daily lives as Alfie. For example, the first time Tim did some work in the crawlspace beneath the house, the rest of us nearly died laughing as we watched Alfie trot alertly from room to room, tracing Tim's route by snuffling into the heat registers on the floor.  Then, one day, I helped Tim up into the attic to check on the insulation -- Alfie, who of course was watching these proceedings, gave an unexpected and valiant attempt to follow right behind him!  I had to hold him back, much to his irritation.  As he heard Tim's footsteps above our heads, Alfie followed his progress around the house, looking up at the ceiling with an occasional excited bark.  From time to time, he would just stop and look at me intently, as much as if to say:  Well, aren't you going to do something about this?  When Tim finally reappeared, Alfie greeted him as if he'd just gotten back from the moon, or perhaps some mysterious fourth dimension.  What an adventure!

Alfie, his coat getting shaggy for the winter, sits on the front step
Life is better with a friend by your side.
Right by your side!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Thanksgiving week -- and there's so much to be thankful for!  I'm not so sure that Alfie understands the concept of thankfulness, as we know it.  But there are many things that make him happy, most of them very simple:

Games of fetch
Games of find
All games
Learning new skills
Showing off old skills
Friends and family
New people
Anything that smells funny
Anything that smells
All other animals
Night, you get the picture, he's happy pretty much all the time!  There is very little, in fact, that makes him unhappy.  The three main things:

Being ignored
Being left behind
Having to skip a meal

Enjoy all the little -- and big -- things that come your way this week, giving thanks for them all!   As G.K. Chesterton said, "When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude."

Alfie's sitting on a rocky outcropping overlooking a pond framed by tree branches; he's looking back over his shoulder at the camera
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

First Flurry

Yesterday evening as we headed out on our walk, it felt colder than usual...sure enough, before we were halfway along our route, tiny snowflakes were stinging my face.  Our very first snow of the season!  Okay, so it was just a teeny bit, but it was still exciting.  Couldn't resist taking a picture of Alfie with a couple of tiny white flakes on his face...

closeup of Alfie; a couple of white flecks are resting on his chocolate-brown face

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sous Chef

Hi again blog friends -- Alfie's World has been quiet lately as I've been investing time and emotional energy in other areas.  Some big decisions have been brewing and we're excited for that.  But in the meantime, who keeps me grounded, makes sure I laugh several times each day...oh yeah, and makes sure I get my exercise?

I'm considering the title 'personal assistant'...

Alfie may no longer be a service dog, but that doesn't keep him from helping me out with many important things.  Sometimes I admit they are only important to him (such as alerting me that Hey!  Look!  The neighbor's dog is out AGAIN!); sometimes, though, he does help out in ways that are actually important to me.  He is a very alert and curious boy and not much gets past him.

One very minor inconvenience in our new home is the old electric stove...I'm still trying to get used to its quirky performance and miss some of the conveniences of the newer model I used to have in Texas.  I'll turn the oven on to bake something and keep having to go back to check doesn't have a little beeper to let you know when it's up to temperature, and the guesswork can get frustrating.

That's where Alfie comes in -- twice now, he's actually come and alerted me when the oven was up to temperature.  Apparently he hears the little click when the heating element switches off.  Then he rushes over, gets my attention, and dashes back to the stove to show me what's going on.  Of course he got lots of praise and a nice treat for that -- I can use all the kitchen help I can get, so I want to reinforce the cool new trick he's teaching himself!

Last night, I'd made us a yummy casserole (shepherd's pie with lots of mashed potatoes...mmm...), set the timer, and popped it in the oven.  With a long time to wait while it baked, I went upstairs to work on the computer.  Alfie was napping on the rug near my feet.  Long before the timer was set to go off, though, he sprang up suddenly with a grrrUFF! and, making sure I was coming after him, raced down to the kitchen.  I opened the oven door to find that the gravy in the casserole dish had just boiled over.  Yikes!  I think Alfie must have woken up when he heard the first drops sizzling on the bottom of the stove.  Needless to say, I was glad he heard it when he did, saving me what could've been a very nasty cleanup job!

All in a day's work.  PS -- Can I have some??