After a month in a shelter and a brief stay with a very nice temporary foster family, Alf arrived in her forever home. When a comment was made that she looked like Alf in one of her photos, a name was born. And maybe a breed, since we have no idea what her mix is.

As is so often the case, we can only guess at Alf’s backstory, but someone had taken good care of this little girl. She was housebroken, knew all about dog doors and about groomers, and had fairly recently received a dental. Overall she was, and is, the nicest, friendliest, and most tolerant little dog you would ever want to meet. So why was she not adopted? Alf has diabetes. Once in her Old Dog Haven Final Refuge home she was able to receive the vet care she needed and she has been very patient with all of it–appointments, insulin shots and all.

After she left the shelter, it was found that she’s essentially deaf. Then, about 10 days after she arrived in our ODH home, Alf woke up blind. Losing vision within a few hours can happen with diabetic dogs, we are told. Alf was confused and very frightened but with very limited sensory input to help, she is gradually learning her way around. The first thing she taught herself was how to find the dog door!

In spite of all these challenges, Alf’s happy, affectionate personality is returning and blossoming.

It is heartbreaking to think what Alf’s experience would have been to suddenly become blind in a shelter. How long would it have been before someone noticed? And without the resources to urgently see a veterinary ophthalmologist, how would the shelter staff have understood what was happening?

We are so very thankful that Old Dog Haven was there, and that now she is here.

(And I’m pretty sure sweet Alf is very thankful as well!)

Update from Alf:

This is Alf and I am writing this from the Bridge so I can let my mom and dad and everyone who supported me know that I am doing really well here. I was with my mom and dad for almost 4 years. They tell me that is a pretty long time for an ODH dog, so I was lucky (although Mom and Dad said they were the lucky ones). Through those years there were hard times but there were great times too. I couldn’t hear much and then I couldn’t see anymore. The nice doctors struggled to get my diabetes in control—my glucose levels bounced all over the place which felt pretty weird. I went to lots of doctors and they tell me there are people out there who helped pay for my care. That is so great! My favorite times were when I got to run. I always trusted my mom wouldn’t let me run into anything and as long as she was on the other end of the leash I knew I could go fast. We would go to a big field in the park near our house and I would run in big circles at the end of my long leash. That was the best.

But eventually I couldn’t run anymore. My body got so stiff and sore it was hard to even walk and to lie down. But my mom and dad were always there to help me. My dad carried me outside when I needed to go, and they never got mad when I couldn’t wait and I had an accident in the house. I was so sorry. One day my head started feeling funny, I got confused, and it was hard to stand up. My mom helped so I wouldn’t feel so scared. They took me to the doctor who said there was probably something wrong with my brain. Then they all did the most wonderful thing. The doctor gave me two shots that she said would make me feel better. My mom and dad cried a lot but my mom promised when I woke up I would have my fluffy coat back (not sure where it went along the way), I would be able to hear and to see. But best of all I would be able to run. And she was right!

I miss my mom and dad and the rest of my family but I know they will be here when they are ready. And I have lots of friends here who say they knew my mom and dad too!

Update from Alf’s Mom and Dad:

Run free sweet Alf,   Mom and Dad