Don't Buy, Rescue: The Story of Alfie.

If you hadn't already picked up from my instagram or twitter feeds yet, I adore animals. I was raised in homes where a dog was always running around under your feet; my grandma had dogs, as did my aunt and my other aunt had a handful of cats always curled up in an armchair. My mum grew up with dogs and as soon as I was old enough to beg for presents I soon started on getting a puppy. Ever since we got our first dog when I was 10 years old I have never wanted to be without one.
It's got to a point where I can't imagine my life without a dog or cat, it would be an emptiness that I can't quite explain.  

The first pet that I can remember getting was our cat Tom. I was around 9 years old when my parents began talking about getting some animals now that we were old enough and the house renovations had stopped. My mum thought getting a cat first would be the best idea to get my sister and I used to the responsibility and because cats are notoriously territorial. From the very first mention of getting a cat, I asked my mum why we had to buy a kitten because I had seen on Blue Peter (that was clearly very influential to my 9 year old self) cats in a animal rescue shelter that needed a home. Surprisingly, my mum was on board with the idea so after a few visits to an animal home and a couple of weeks later, we bought home Tom. In the last 10 years of having Tom, he's been the best cat I could have ever wished for. Attentive, playful, and sweet; the transition was not always smooth but he has definitely settled down into this little family. 

In the same year my family rescued Tom, we bought a puppy called Harvey. A little golden retriever who, as a relief to us all, loved Tom and Tom loved him back as much as a cat can love a crazy ball of fluff. Harvey was a complete surprise so the mention of rescuing didn't even come into conversation but all I cared about was that we had a dog! Fast forward a year later and the family grew by one more with addition of my (now) step dad's golden retriever, Archie. A few years later, we got the final member of the family, Monty a jack russell x border terrier type and decided enough was enough. 

In the past year, we had to have both Harvey and Archie put down due to ill health. This left us with one very sad and lonely dog, Monty (and Tom who in all honesty, probably was just enjoying the calm). Monty was becoming increasingly upset being on his own so again we looked into getting a dog. I bought up the issue with Monty being almost 10 years old and probably wouldn't like a little puppy running around. The issue had a very easy solution; rescue. 

After some searching we found exactly what we were looking for. Alfie. 
An 8 year old unidentified terrier type who had been found running the streets in our local town. He was in a horrid condition; a dirty, matted coat, a large scar around his neck, a split ear with a broken leg and paw. Every time anyone went near him he would cower away and whimper. My heart broke hearing his story and I just knew looking at his picture, he was for us.

After a few months of visits to the animal shelter making sure he getting use to us and checking that we were a suitable family, we could take him home. That was a few months ago and he's settled right in. Alfie has so much love to give and all he needed was people to give it to. 

Going to the shelter was really, really, upsetting. Some dogs have been in that particular shelter for 3 years. 3 YEARS. The stories the staff had about how they acquired the animals, the conditions they were in and their chances broke my heart. There are so, so many loving dogs that need a home and a chance. 
It's not expensive to rescue a dog, all it takes is some time. I'm not naive to know there may be behavioral problems to begin with (as shown in Alfie and his affliction for going to the toilet indoors!) or some might not be good with children or other animals but there will be a dog out there suitable for someone. 

Seeing Alfie go on the beach for the first time ever, playing in the sea and running around in the sand was wonderful. Even having him eager to jump up for a cuddle or seeing him excited to meet new people is such a huge difference from the type of dog he was when we first got him.

So, if you ever think about getting a dog I urge you to rescue. I know I will be in the future.