Almost 10 years ago, my wife rescued a little mixed breed dog that she named Alfie. The term 'rescue' has all but replaced 'adopt' in dog jargon and is usually overused. In this case, Alfie really was a rescued dog.He was abandoned and left roaming the streets of NYC, surviving however he could, with hair so badly matted it was pulling the poor guy's skin leaving nicks across him when they had to completely shave him to start all over. Yet he was the sweetest, most appreciative dog you could imagine. He died Friday, but he went to Heaven years ago when the Gurkovich family took him in.

Candid Alfie loving life.

My wife Aubree was the first to love him, but over the years he won over every heart he came across, especially Aubree's dad John who became Alfie's very best friend. From the time he was much younger when he would charge across the yard with crazy, flopping ears, until he was very old and couldn't see well anymore, John and Alfie were inseparable. Alfie was a mix of Dachsund, Poodle, Beagle, Bichon Frise, and God knows what else. Really smart too. When he was younger, he loved running so much that he figured out how to escape three different harnesses like a canine Houdini, once by leaping forward then quickly jerking back and performing an escape artist's twist. Not because he was ever trying to run away, but because he wanted to run faster than any family member could keep up with. He'd often get away from people, like my mother-in-law Rhonda, run far ahead but then stop and wait while they ran to catch him and he'd let them get within 5 feet only to run another 100 yards and wait again. He was a wonderful, smart, silly dog that kept everyone laughing for years.

As he got older he had more and more problems, but was still a happy dog and just enjoyed being him. In the end, he developed congestive heart failure, and there was nothing they could do for it at his old age and he was in pain. In the most selfless act of love every good pet owner faces they had to put him down on Friday. John even stayed with him, something I've had to do and know how hard it is. I love my family so much, and I hurt when they're hurting. RIP Alfie, best pup ever.