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  • Writer's pictureSam Hageman

Mitten Made Pups: How We Got Alfred

We were looking for a second dog in November 2019. However due to Dexters being dog selective, it had to be within Dexters preferred breeds & no bully breeds. We had attempted other rescues locally, however we had a hard time finding a rescue that (1) knew what they were doing/knew reactivity isn't aggression; (2) had the right type of dog; & (3) we could get a dog in our time frame, as I was going to be off most of the month of December to get the dog adjusted. After searching for a little while we found the Second Chance China Rescue (now Cats & Dogs Rescue) through our friend Rachel (owner of Wild Wear Pets & the Wild Goldens), because Rachel had just decided to rescue Cassie from them a month or so before. After talking with Rachel we contacted the rescue.

Photos of Mason

When we got in contact with the rescue, we were able to ask all the questions we had about the process of rescuing a dog from China. They were professional & it was a cause we believe in, rescuing dogs breed to be slaughtered & eaten in the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. We originally found a mutt named Mason who we were going to adopt. We went through the adoption process & were approved for Mason. Sadly Mason had an accident & it was going to take him months to recover (until March/April). However the same night of Masons accident there were some new dogs rescued from a truck heading for slaughter. There were two dogs who we wanted from this rescue Austin, a Golden Retriever, & Rhett, a corgi.

Another person, who was approved like us, had already claimed Austin, but Rhett was available & was now ours.

This was the information that was posted about Rhett on the Rescues page when after Mason's accident.

As we awaited our Freedom Flight for Rhett we had to think of a name. Both Garrett & myself thought a proper corgi has a British name. So one day Garrett figured it out, he said what about the name “Alfred?” It happened to work perfectly since I am also obsessed with Batman & Alfred the Butler is one of my absolute favorite characters. SO from then on he was Alfred.

On December 10th, 2019 we drove to Chicago in a blizzard to get Alfred from O'hare International Airport. We were a little behind as the flight came in from the blizzard, but we got there & saw Alfred in the cage. The first time we met Alfred at O'hare, he was timid of humans, terrified of contact, & scared. He tried to run away from us in the crowded international terminal of O’hare, but thankfully was on a leash. We had to pick him up to get him out of the terminal & to the car, because he didn’t want to return to the crate he flew in. However, once we were in the car, out of O'hare, & on the road to the hotel he relaxed a bit. He laid on blankets we had & slept until we got to the hotel.

The hotel is where we finally were able to make him feel comfortable after flying halfway around the world to a completely new place & new culture with a different language. It seems Alfred had never been shown love for his first two years of life. He never felt compassion, never was pet, & was truly never cared for. Although we don’t know exactly what his life was before he was rescued, we can tell that much from his actions. After an hour of just hanging out in the same hotel room he finally came up to us. We were able to pet him & show him it was ok. Then we put him on the bed & that’s when everything changed for him. He started to crave being pet & would crawl to our hands or paw at us to not stop petting him. He slept peacefully on the bed while we hung out for the night & we could tell he was starting to feel safe.

We had to take Alfred outside the hotel for potty breaks, although all he did was pee outside (as he had some accidents in the hotel that night). When we would go outside for bathroom breaks, we would also walk him around to let him stretch out after a day of being in a cage flying. However you could tell he wasn’t really a fan of the cold Chicago wind. Thankfully we only spent 24 hours there & we hit the road to return home to Michigan. Alfred was great in the car & slept the whole way back to Michigan.

When we arrived in Michigan we went to my Dads to pick up Dexter to bring both Alfred & Dexter to Belle Isle to meet on neutral ground. Garrett & I drove in separate cars & we met at Belle Isle. It was just as cold & windy as Chicago (which neither dog was happy with). However we walked them by each other. Dexter definitely was unsure of the whole thing & protective, especially of me. They had a few grumbles at one another & Dexter barked a lot at Alfred at times, but we were able to walk somewhat next to each other for a little while. Once we felt they could co-exist we headed home.

When we got home the dogs were fine, Dexter did his own thing & so did Alfred. We were able to give Alfred a bath to start washing the dirt built up after years. We finally started seeing the white in his fur & he started coming out of his shell a bit. After being cleaned off, Alfred started to learn the lay of the land...even trying to mark his territory, but we were able to put a pin in that quickly. A few days after we arrived home Alfred went to the vet to get rid of all the worms & ear infection he had after years of neglect. He was loved by the vet for his sweet demeanor & still is to this day. Alfred also went to the groomers after three weeks with us (when we knew he would be comfortable with strangers) to finally be completely deep cleaned. The groomers also loved him & he came out looking like a new dog.

The three days, three weeks, & three months rule was perfectly displayed in Alfred. Alfred continued to show his personality, but started feeling safer, comfortable, & loved. The dogs co-existed fine. Whenever we left the house Alfred was caged & Dexter continued to free roam. The dogs taught one another their boundaries & gave each other space, but were never left alone with one another for the first three months. Alfred was a bit jealous of Dexter & still has his moments. However, he loves his big brother now & is legitimately attached to him (so much so he only had separation anxiety from Dexter). Dexter has accepted Alfred as his shadow who follows him everywhere, copies him, learns from him, & understands his boundaries. They truly are the perfect match for one another, especially when herding other dogs (they are a great herding team).

It’s amazing how just a little love & compassion can go such a long way. This boys life has changed forever & he shows his appreciation through those brown eyes & wiggly butt. We are so happy to have added this boy to our family.


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