Alfie was up for adoption for over TWO. YEARS. And there were no "takers" who wanted to offer this little guy a forever home. He bounced around between a few foster homes, otherwise he was stationed at the Tiny Loving Canines (TLC) home base in Simi Valley.
Below is a video from TLC that shows the little man in action. For being so tiny (he's a little under six pounds), this three-year-old pup already has a big story. Alfie has demodex mange, which is non-contagious and caused by mites that actually occur normally on all dogs. The mites can get out of control, however, on dogs under extreme stress or with poor immune systems.
At the time this video was taken, his mange was in remission -- he currently has much less fur than he does in the video.
Alfie was pulled off a "kill list" from a local shelter, where he was abandoned by his first family -- supposedly, they didn't want to have to deal with the cost associated with his skin condition. TLC swooped in and saved the day, but Alfie still waited two and a half years to get adopted. It can be a financial difficulty and time-consuming responsibility to adopt a dog in Alfie's condition, so any adoption interest was undermined by a flare up of his demodex.
After his first trip to our vet a couple weeks ago (we made him an appointment the day after he came home with us), we found he not only has demodex mange, but also a secondary skin infection from the mange AND a parasite called giardia. He's now on three different oral medications, gets a medicated bath every other day, and takes Benadryl tablets to help manage his itchy skin. I suspect he might also have a little bit of an eye infection (but it could also just be that the sensitive skin around his eyes is itchy), and his teeth need a good cleaning -- but we're waiting until the mange gets a little more under control before we move on to his (hopefully) more minor issues.
He was a bit on the scrawny side when we first brought him home, but he's got a very healthy appetite and has put on a little more weight -- yay!
Alfie makes FOUR dogs in our house. FOUR. They're all under 25 lbs., so really, size-wise, we're at the equivalent of one large dog. That's what we tell ourselves, anyway. I was nervous about Mickey and how he might get along with Alfie, but they are getting along surprisingly well (I'm so proud of my little Mickey bug).
And I've fallen head-over-heels in love with this little guy. His nicknames are "Alfie-bear" and "piglet" (because his little pink skin and snorting noises when he eats make that a pretty obvious association). He burrows under the covers in my bed and virtually disappears in the folds of the duvet, only to emerge if I leave the room or if there is food present. If he's not in my bed or snuggled in someone's lap, he's curled up in his own little doggy bed in my bedroom.
Alfie and I bonded really quickly, almost instantaneously. I think when he came home to a brand new place, he just needed to latch on to someone to feel safe, and that someone was me. The third day he was home, I had to go to Orange County for a couple of wedding client meetings, and he actually howled in my absence (there's a video to prove it). He gets so excited and bounces around on his front paws when I come home. Yesterday afternoon, I walked in the front door and spent what Alfie considered too much time greeting the other dogs first, so he yelped at me for attention.
He's seriously SUCH a sweetheart. I can understand the overwhelming nature of his health problems and how that could spook someone who might otherwise have taken him home, but we've already been paid back tenfold in the form of Alfie's love and affection. He has big doe-eyes that get me every time. I don't love the fact that Alfie had to wait for us for so long, but I'm glad we got the chance to add him to our family (better late than never?).
We also suspect the piglet may have been abused at some point, maybe by a man; he still hasn't warmed up to my dad at all. He barks at him when he gets home, and my dad (who is the gentlest guy EVER) can't approach Alfie without encountering a cringe followed by the scamper of little claws on the hardwood floor. "It's not his fault," my dad says. "He doesn't understand that I'm not going to hurt him. Something must have happened to him before." I think it's really sweet that he doesn't get his feelings hurt by Alfie's reluctance to befriend him.
Anyway, Alfie has a fan page on Facebook so that everyone who has loved him at TLC can follow along with his recovery.
And for those of you who remember sweet puppy-girl Boo, we never found her or know what happened to her. I sort of can't really even think about it too much, because it truly breaks my heart. BUT, I also know that if we had Boo with us in our home, we wouldn't have been able to adopt Alfie (apparently four dogs is the legal maximum in California, haha!), so the silver lining is that at least we can help Alfie start a new, happy, stress-free life in which he is beloved and spoiled (my two specialties when it comes to my dogs).