As many of you may know, a few months ago, I said goodbye to my best friend and sidekick of 14 years, Alfie.
I felt, though, that now’s the time for me reflect in more depth on what he meant to me, whilst hopefully reminding you – if you had the pleasure of meeting him – of what he meant to you too.
When Alfie first came into my life, all those years ago, he was just a wee 8-week-old from Aberystwyth, Wales. Originally named Taffy, he was a timid little thing, whose personality seemed in total contrast with his brother who was full of crazy energy!
Alfie though? He was always eager to please, learning the ropes of my home quickly (where to go to the toilet for example!) and never caused any of the usual ‘trouble’ you’d associate with a new puppy. No biting, toilet trained in a flash, and he was a natural with kids and other animals. Bringing Alfie home, and making him part of my life, is easily the best decision I have ever made.
Those who knew him will know fully that Alfie had a knack for communicating what was on his mind – usually a piece of whatever you were having for lunch – without a word of English needed to be spoken. This was the case even when food wasn’t around. Around about the same time most evenings, Alfie would wander over, stare at me, then at the stairs, then back at me, then back at the stairs… I knew this meant he was telling me ‘It’s time for bed, Dad!’.
He was such a good, well-mannered guy. So much so, he was welcome to join us up on a chair at the dinner table – often dozing off while waiting for everyone to finish their meal. Being a Cockapoo, he had a natural love for water, and rarely missed a chance to go for a dip. He also had a love for getting his cuddles; only for moments at a time, mind you, before shooting off when he’d had enough, or something else more exciting caught his attention.
Despite his slowing down as he got older, he was a proper canine athlete too, with his favourite activities involving the football, sticks, and balls. It wasn’t just shots he could take at the football, either; he could play it on the deck, smooth as you like! Some of you might remember that Alfie loved getting dressed up in a costume, performing his routine of tricks for treats, and, of course, his annual birthday celebrations.
Not a year went by when his big day wasn’t marked appropriately; cake, balloons, presents… the lot! We even made sure to take the celebrations on the road when he celebrated his birthday in a camper van one year on holiday, complete with all the usual fuss that he deserved.
All of this was because, to me, the boys, and the rest of the family, Alfie was more than a pet; he was a beloved brother and a son. And with all family members, he’ll always be remembered.
“To us, they are only one part of our lives but, to them, we’re their whole life.”
Around Falkirk and beyond, Alfie was known as my trusty sidekick. He quite often accompanied me to work, whether it was at Xtreme or Crunchy Carrots, and he was a regular at the Acoustic Café and Behind the Wall. Our typical day started with him curled up at the end of my bed. After breakfast (and a bathroom break!), we’d head off to work together. Alfie was a familiar sight around town, napping and pawing at everyone for a bite of their lunch. He even joined me in client meetings, where he would always get the rockstar treatment.
Though he mainly had a chilled-out nature, Alfie had plenty youthful energy when certain things provoked him. He’d always perk up, alerting us all, when someone entered the office, but soon enough, he’d have settled back down, and we’d even forget he was there.
Having such a special relationship in my life – like the one I had with Alfie – has taught me invaluable lessons. He was a constant source of comfort during difficult times, of which there have been a few over the years. He had a real sensitivity to when someone was feeling different or sad – I remember how understanding he was when Sarah was pregnant!
His ability to always lift our spirits was really incredible, and it’s something that will be deeply missed and never forgotten.
Alfie was with me for so long, eventually becoming the beloved MD of Crunchy Carrots, where he was genuinely loved by all who met him. And it means the world to me that he was there with me on my wedding day this summer, dressed up in his kilt, just like all the boys!
Alf passed away 3 days after our wedding day, the best day or my life very closely followed by the worst.
I understand how difficult a loss this can be so, if you’re going through something similar, I honestly encourage you to reach out. You’re never alone.
Alfie was a special guy who touched many lives, and we’ll always remember the joy and love he brought into our home.
Alfie, a beloved son, brother and friend who’ll never be forgotten.