When Alfie first moved in, he used to run away a lot. He’d go missing for a couple of hours before returning home to us that night. We were at a loss for what to do. We lived in an area where farmers would shoot any dogs that were on their land to stop them damaging their livestock, Alfie had his flaws but we certainly didn’t want that to happen. We set him up with a shock collar device, which sounds a lot crueller than it actually is, to keep him from going on his little trips where he did god knows what.

But he still used any opportunity he could to escape. Once, while I was taking him for a walk, I had to stop to tie my shoelace. I put the lead on the ground, resting my foot on it, but it slipped and the minute it did Alfie had no hesitation about bolting away from me.

I chased him until I was completely out of breath, down roads, up and down driveways and even into fields. He seemed to think that we were playing some mad game of chase and he had an awful lot more energy than I did.

I finally gave up and sat on the grass, wondering whether I was about to cough up a lung because I was that out of breath. Alfie chose this moment to come inspect why I was wheezing so intensely, pressing his head against mine and melting away all of the resentment I felt towards him for running from me.

I was able to pick up his lead and we walked home together and by the time we were back at the house I was already laughing about the experience. That was the thing about this dog. He was so bold, but in a really cheeky way which meant you couldn’t stay mad at him.

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Please excuse the state of this photo.

About a week later he again managed to escape from me, but this time I wouldn’t be put through quite the chase that I had previously.

I chased him as he ran down our long drive and down a small stretch of our road before he runs into a garden of neighbours who I didn’t know very well. I was extremely relieved to see him stop and turn to face me, thinking he’d come to his senses, but instead he began to squat and took a shit on my neighbour’s lawn.

I picked up his lead, but there wasn’t much I could do except hold onto it until he was finished. It was then that I looked up and saw my neighbour standing in the window drinking a coffee (I presume). I awkwardly waved at him and mouthed sorry, but he didn’t react. He just continued to watch me while he took sips from his mug. He was clearly enjoying making me squirm as my dog shit on his lawn. The only thing I could do was walk away, leaving it behind. I didn’t have any bags with me and I really hoped he wouldn’t come chasing after me.

I actually still squirm when I think about this whole experience. I don’t know what was worse, having the legs run off myself by Alfie or being humiliated by him. It’s safe to say that I was extremely careful whenever I took him on a walk after that.

Read more of The Alfie Diaries here.

Watch my Mental Health Journey below.

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