Our next new member of the Vermont Animal Hall of Fame is Alfred, a seven year old Dalmatian dog, belonging to Vaunne Alden, who is the Humane Education Director of the North Country Animal League. Alfred lives in Morrisville and was nominated by his VVMA member veterinarian Dr. Gary Solow.
Alfred was surrendered to the North Country Animal League in October of 2005 when his owners could no longer care for him. Upon his arrival, Alfred’s skin was very irritated and he had significant hair loss due to long standing allergies. It took 3 weeks of care for Alfred to start feeling better and looking better. During this time, Murphy, a 10 year old Irish Wolfhound owned by Vaunne, was the North Country Animal League’s Education Dog Ambassador. Due to old age and health problems, Murphy was having difficulty keeping up with the demanding schedule of being the Ambassador. Not only was it tiring for him to visit schools and give shelter tours, it was getting extremely difficult for Murphy to even get in and out of the car. Vaunne was considering retirement for Murphy, but who would take his place?
During a shelter tour, Vaunne noticed Alfred. His hair was all grown back. He looked quite striking and handsome in his white coat with black splotches. Indeed he was quite unique. Dalmatians are known as the “Fire Engine Dog”… that would intrigue children… Vaunne took a closer look. After receiving a doggie “high five” and a demonstration of Alfred’s unique form of break dancing, a full body wiggle with all four paws in the air, Vaunne had decided. She would adopt Alfred and train him to be the next Education Dog Ambassador!
Since that time, Alfred has become a North Country Animal League humane education star! He has passed his Canine Good Citizen test and has received his Pet Therapy Certification. Here is a list some of Alfred’s credentials that have helped him make such a difference in the communities he serves:
- Alfred is the North Country Animal League’s official R.E.A.D. dog. Every week, over 70 students from four different schools read a story or a book to Alfred, helping them over come their reading shyness and instilling a love for reading.
- Alfred visits nursing homes, Copley Manor and Out & About Adult Day Care Center in Morrisville, as well as the Craftsbury Community Care Center.
- Alfred helps with presentations to schools about animal care, dog bite prevention and spay/neuter awareness.
- Alfred attends R.E.A.D. days at local libraries
- Alfred goes to humane outreach events such as shelter tours, morning news at WCAX and local community events.
- Alfred can “high five” anyone he meets and put a smile on their face!
Children have a lot to say about Alfred:
- “He is a gentle, mellow listener”
- “He doesn’t care if I make mistakes when I read”
- “He is a good listener.”
- “It is a special treat when he ‘high fives’ me with his paw!”
- “I like it best when he puts his head in my lap and looks at the pictures.”
- “I like his big, sloppy kisses!”
- “Alfred can turn a bad day into a good day.”
This is a good day for us and for Alfred as we induct him into the Vermont Animal Hall of Fame in the Professional Animal Category.