Originally written by STEPHANIE ZEVENBERGEN
LEONIE Edge is counting her lucky stars after she was re-united with her miniature daschund Alfie, which had disappeared for eight months.
The lucky to be alive pooch was located at a neighbouring property in Cavendish a few weeks ago, after running away from Leonie’s home, a day after she adopted him around October last year.
Leonie explained how she came to adopt four-year-old Alfie whose story was no ordinary tale.
In search of a female daschund to breed with one of her male daschunds, Leonie responded to an advertisement.
“I saw an advertisement for daschunds to give away,” she said.
“I telephoned up the bloke and he said ‘I haven’t any females left but I do have a male left’. I thanked him very much but said ‘sorry no’.
“The story behind him was that he had been breeding in Ararat in the township, obviously there had been complaints.
“I’m just putting two and two together here because if you’ve got a whole lot of dogs they’ll bark and then of course there’s the smell.
“He’d been ordered by the council to get rid of them and I presumed he had a limited amount of time.
“Well he telephoned back a few days later and said ‘please can you take the male that’s left because he’s supposed to go to somebody in Western Australia and that person has reneged on the deal’.
“So of course I said yes, what else could I say? I drove up to Ararat and met Alfie.”
When Leonie met Alfie he was frightened and unsure of what was going on.
He had been living in a cage, which restricted his social capabilities.
“Alfie didn’t have a blanket. He was in a cage when I went there. He was very much unsure of himself; he didn’t have a favourite toy or even a collar at that time,” Leonie said.
After a long journey from Ararat back to Cavendish, Alfie was welcomed into Leonie’s home, with her two other Daschunds.
“The next morning I brought him out with the other two and I figure Alfie having been with them overnight he’d be fine,” she said.
“And he was for about an hour. And then he ran out our driveway, over the Henty Hwy. Thankfully there wasn’t any traffic in the way. And I ran after him of course.”
A long-winded chase ensued but to no avail, Leonie believed she would never see him again.
“He wasn’t just exploring, he was running away from us, because he couldn’t stand it,” she said.
“He wanted to be back with his former owner and he wanted to be back in his cage where he felt secure.”
Leonie and her family searched for Alfie throughout the town.
She spoke to police, neighbours and residents in Cavendish.
Leonie said she would look for Alfie in paddocks when driving, but had no luck.
“Like all humans anywhere you hold out a minimal amount of hope that it will all turn out to the good,” she said.
Eight months on, not expecting any miracles, Leonie received a telephone call from a nearby farmer who believed he had spotted the dog.
After the difficult task of tracking down the dog in a paddock, Alfie was finally found.
“My daughter Alice and I went to his place and we saw Alfie, and Alfie was fine,” Leonie said.
“His teeth were in brilliant condition, his ears were a bit dirty, and he stank of sheep poo which was understandable.”
Leonie speculated that Alfie had survived on sheep carcases, leftover from the fox kills.
She was in disbelief at how such a small dog had survived eight months living outdoors, fending for himself.
A few weeks on and Alfie is settling in well with Leonie’s other dogs and her family.
“We got him home and again he was shivering like crazy,” she said.
“What a wonderful miracle it was to have him back.
“It took him four days to learn to wag his tail again. He was that shell-shocked by all that had happened to him.
“Poor Alfie is still scared of everything. He’s got the small dog shivers but he is such a lovely little fellow he really is just amazing.
“One of the phenomenal things I noted about him is that his claws have almost turned into talons because they haven’t had a chance to be filed down from rough ground, because he’s been in paddocks.
“So we’re waiting for that to happen but of course, it gives him a better grip on life.”