Alfie on March 4, 2020 at Marin Humane.

At the beginning of 2020, over 60 Chihuahuas living in unsanitary and heartbreaking conditions were rescued.

I saw him in early March. He was just 4.8 lbs and his bones were evident. He seemed gloomy and weary. We weren’t sure if he had a name in those first six years of his life, but we decided to foster him and call him Alfie.

The other rescued dogs from the same case looked very similar to Alfie. Most of them suffered from chronic malnutrition, poor coat condition, and slightly bowed bones. They all required laboratory tests and support treatment.

Alfie and many of his former pack went to foster homes, as they needed special care and attention. Even though Alfie seemed to be starving, he was a picky eater, but when he found himself in a home with plenty of attention just for him and a variety of foods to indulge in, he was more than happy to enjoy himself and he thrived. It was so heartwarming to see him blossom in personality. Physically and emotionally, he seemed like another dog in just a few weeks.

Alfie on March 14, 2020 at his foster home.

Hand feeding was especially important for him. At the time, my two-year-old assisted with feeding him with good success. Turns out Alfie was starving more for love than nutrition.

In March, when the shutdown took effect due to the pandemic, Marin Humane had to limit the number of staff in the building. Having foster care was imperative for Alfie and many other pets. We are so thankful for our foster volunteers!

Furthermore, the work of the adoption department was outstanding. More than two thousand animals were adopted in 2020 at Marin Humane. I want to mention Catherine Tryon who dedicated so much effort to finding the right matches for those pets – including Alfie!

Alfie’s fragile jaws suffered from severe dental disease, just like so many other pets that come to the shelter. Many of these pets receive cleaning and treatment at Marin Humane. Some of them, like Alfie, have a post-adoption dental with other veterinarian hospitals. Alfie’s periodontal treatment required multiple extractions and all the expenses were covered by Marin Humane.

Alfie is a wonderful companion. He truly loves his adoptive mommy more than anything. His dad is a Chef and Alfie gets the most tasteful mini meatballs exclusively made for him. Alfie has gained 2 lbs. since he was rescued and is now healthy. He finally enjoys all the love and attention that he deserves!

The sweet adoption moment.

So, what’s it all about, Alfie? It’s about many other “Alfies” looking for a home. It’s about animals that complete a family, fulfilling many hearts. It’s about all the help and love that we share for each other, even in this troubling time, making this community strong and enhancing lives.

– Karen B. de Souza, DVM
Relief Veterinarian of Marin Humane