Home Lifestyle COLUMN: Happy Birthday, Alfie

COLUMN: Happy Birthday, Alfie

Photo by Chris McDonald

“Nothing makes me smile more than looking into the face of a Pembroke Welsh corgi who loves me.” – Author Unknown

The following was a conversation between me and Alfie, my Pembroke Welsh corgi.

Me: What are you doing.
Alfie: Dim.
Me: Dim?
Alfie: Ie dad, dim byd.
Me: Alfie, our readers don’t speak Welsh.
Alfie: Sorry Dad, my bad.
Me: So, it’s your birthday.
Alfie: Yes sir! But dad, am I the bestest boy?
Me: Of course.
Alfie: Am I your favoritest boy?
Me: Yes, why do you ask?
Alfie: Well, I found these boxes, with other puppies’ names on them.
Me: And…
Alfie: I was worried that you may love them more than me.
Me: No, you silly goose.
Alfie: I’m a dog, not a goose.
Me: I know that, it’s just an idiom.
Alfie: I’m not an idiot!
Me: (sigh) Shall we move on?
Alfie: Let’s.
Me: Yes, those are the ashes of puppies who came before you.
Alfie: I thought I was your only puppy and favoritest boy?
Me: You are now, but you weren’t born then.
Alfie: Tell me about them.
Me: Well, my first corgi was named Texas Roxy of Matthews Hill. We called her Roxy.
Alfie: What did she look like?
Me: Not too much unlike you. She was a beautiful red.
Alfie: What happened to her?
Me: She got old and one day, I had to help her go to sleep to ease her pain.
Alfie: Were you sad?
Me: Yes, very sad. I cried for many days afterward.
Alfie: Did you love her?
Me: Yes, very much. She was with me a long time. Grandma loved her too.
Alfie: So what happened after Roxy?
Me: I was sitting on my couch in our apartment in Michigan and I got a message that said that there was a corgi in Kalamazoo who needed to be rescued.
Alfie: So you called about him?
Me: Yes, I called and found out his name was Eggroll.
Alfie: Eggroll, that’s funny.
Me: Yes, Eggroll was a roly-poly.
Alfie: (Laughs) How did he get so big?
Me: I found out that his former owners were mean to him.
Alfie: Mean to him?
Me: Yes, they had fed him too much and he was very overweight.
Alfie: How big was he?
Me: When his owners surrendered him, he weighed 87 pounds.
Alfie: 87 pounds! That’s too big.
Me: Yes, very much too big. Pembroke corgis are supposed to weigh between 30-35 pounds. Your cousins, the Cardigan corgis weigh a bit more (40-45 pounds) and have longer bodies.
Alfie: Oh no. People who hurt puppies are mean.
Me: Yes, they are, Alfie.
Alfie: Tell me more.
Me: Yes, he was a beautiful boy and had a personality as big as he was. He barked at the wind and at the snow. He was sooooo fun.
Alfie: So, what happened to him?
Me: Well, after I adopted him, I took him home and he lived a fantastic life. Between me and the rescue, we helped him to lose 32 pounds. I know he felt better.
Alfie: Why did he get a box like Roxy?
Me: I brought him home to North Carolina for Spring Break in the spring of 2021. I could tell that he wasn’t feeling good so I took him to the vet.
Alfie: Ooooh, I don’t like the vet.
Me: I know, me either.
Alfie: So, what happened next?
Me: The vet said that because he once was so big, it hurt his kidneys and that his kidneys were not working properly. So, he had to stay at the doggie hospital for a few extra days.
Alfie: Did he get better?
Me: Sadly, no. I went to see him on a Wednesday morning and he came out and I hugged him and kissed him on his nose. Then the young lady took him back into the office. I got a phone call a little while later saying that Eggroll had gone to be with Jesus.
Alfie: (sadly) I’m so sorry daddy.
Me: Thank you son, it was for the best. He did not feel good and I could tell that he was unhappy.
Alfie: So, what happened next? Did you get me?
Me: No, but something unexpected happened.
Alfie: What?
Me: Not yet, but…Eggroll died on Wednesday. March 24 and you were born Sunday, March 27.
Alfie: Wow! That’s both sad and cool at the same time.
Me: Yes, it is, son. Yes, it is.
Alfie: Was there another puppy before me?
Me: Yes, his name was Watson.
Alfie: What happened to him?
Me: Mean people had hurt him too.
Alfie: Do you like rescuing puppies who have been hurt by mean people?
Me: I like rescuing anyone who has been hurt by anyone.
Alfie: I love you dad.
Me: I love you too, Alfie.
Alfie: Tell me about Watson.
Me: Watson was a tri-color corgi. He was a beautiful boy and was very well mannered…except when he was eating. He was a very bad boy when he was eating.
Alfie: What did he do?
Me: He bit me three times, and the last time he hurt me bad.
Alfie: He hurt you daddy? He can’t hurt my daddy!
Me: It’s ok, buddy. I’m ok now.
Alfie: I’m not happy.
Me: Well, don’t be too mad at him. He was not well in his feels. He thought he was being threatened when I fed him. He was hurt where you couldn’t see it.
Alfie: I don’t understand.
Me: Other people were mean to him and he only knew how to act one way and that was to fight and bite. When there was food, he would act mean because he thought I was trying to take his food when I was trying to give it to him. I made the mistake of dropping a piece of food, and when I reached for it, he bit into both of my hands and my thumb.
Alfie: Oh no!
Me: I’m much better now. The people-doctor fixed my thumb and it’s as good as new.
Alfie: So, what happened to Watson?
Me: I took Watson back to the rescue where I got him and gave him to a nice lady. I don’t know what happened but, I hope they worked with him and made him better.


Alfie: Me, too. So, what about me? When did you get me?
Me: About two weeks after Watson, a couple of my students were looking online for another corgi (they knew I was lonely) and they found a picture of you.
Alfie: Me?!
Me: Yes, you. There was a phone number that I called. I spoke to a very nice man down in Indiana and he told me all about you.
Alfie: Did he say I was a good boy?
Me: Yes, he did. He said you were the bestest.
Alfie: And then what?
Me: Well, I sent him some money and told him to keep you until I could travel to pick you up.
Alfie: How long was that?
Me: It was only a couple of days. So, on June 29, 2021, I got into my car and I drove to Lingoneer, Indiana, to pick you up.
Alfie: What was my breeder like?
Me: He was a very nice Amish man who had four kids.
Alfie: What is an Amish man?
Me: Well, according to Google, “the Amish believe that community is at the heart of their life and faith and that the way to salvation is to live as a loving community separate from the world.”
Alfie: They sound nice.
Me: They are. Very nice.
Alfie: Then what happened?
Me: He gave you a bath, which you didn’t like, and after he had dried you off, he gave you to me and off went back to our home in Michigan.
Alfie: I still don’t like baths.
Me: I know, I’m the one who gets washed more than you!
Alfie: He he he!
Me: Anyhow, that was two years ago.
Alfie: Wait, I’m going to be two-years old this year?
Me: That’s right!
Alfie: Can I have a birthday party?
Me: Yes, you can have a birthday party. Granny is going to make you a cake.
Alfie: A cake? A puppy cake? Is it safe for me to eat puppy cake? It’s not made of puppies is it?
Me: (laughs) No silly, it’s made of good things. You’ll love it!
Alfie: Daddy, am I your goodest boy?
Me: Of course, why do you keep asking that?
Alfie: Well, you had other puppies and they were your goodest boys and girls and I just wanted to make sure that I was the bestest goodest boy.
Me: Yes sweetie, don’t you worry, you ARE my bestest goodest boy.

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There you have it. The story of Alfie. He has been a brilliant ray of sunshine on the darkest of days. He has made my transition from Michigan to North Carolina flawless. For many people a dog is a pet, but in my case, my dogs have always been family members. Having that pet waiting for you when you return home each day and looking at you with unconditional love is the best feeling in the world. Happy Birthday Alfie! Daddy loves you!

Christopher McDonald is an accomplished educator and military veteran with experience in print and radio. Reach him at cmcdonald@richmondobserver.com.