Animal shelter posts funny, honest description of adoptable ‘fire-breathing demon’ dog

Ralphie, dog up for adoption
Facebook/Niagara SPCA

Every year, 3.3 million dogs end up in shelters in the U.S. Dedicated staff and volunteers work hard to get these worthy animals into a forever home, often writing touching social media posts to garner attention from interested individuals.

But the Niagara County SPCA in Niagara Falls, New York, is proving that humor and honesty can also go a long way in these Facebook posts. On Jan. 17, the nonprofit posted a hilarious item about a dog named Ralphie who they described as a “fire-breathing demon” and a “whole jerk.”

“At first glance, he’s an adorable highly sought-after, young dog. People should be banging down our doors for him. We promise you, that won’t be the case,” the Niagra SPCA staff explained on Facebook. “Ralphie is a terror in a somewhat small package. What could go wrong with a 26lb dog, right? We’re sure you’re thinking: my ankles will be just fine. We’d caution — proceed at your own risk.”

Here’s the post:

There was a reason for the nonprofit’s frankness: Ralphie had already been returned twice to the shelter, and they didn’t want the poor pup to have to be returned and rehomed once again. The post quickly went viral, with people asking for more information about this sassy little pup.

The Niagara SPCA responded by offering up additional posts, including the one below with a video of Ralphie displaying some of his difficult behavior.

“In this video, a staff member is trying to go in his kennel to retrieve a toy he has gutted. He’s not just jumping here. He’s trying to bite their fingers as they unlatch the kennel,” the SPCA wrote. “Their hesitation (due to fear for their fingers) is a signal to him that he’s controlling this situation. He guarded his kennel in his last home and does so in the Shelter as well. He does have a bite history of some sort. We don’t know the circumstances because his first owner won’t return our phone calls.”

The SPCA says in a comment, “This is not mouthy, nippy puppy behavior. It is aggression. He should not live with kids or other animals.”

It also posted this update, showing that Ralphie is regularly undergoing training to amend some of the reactive behaviors that are making him so hard to adopt out.

The organization also posted a recent image of the pup doing yoga to get “more calm” in his life.

After another failed placement in February, Niagara SPCA enrolled Ralphie in a six-week training program that taught him impulse control and basic obedience skills.

The organization then combed through more than 700 emails from interested parties and spoke with dozens of potential adopters before finally sending Ralphie to Tennessee, where he lives with a new owner who trains dogs for a living. There, he lives with another French bulldog, a dachshund, a Jack Russell terrier and a German shepherd.

His new owner created an Instagram account where fans of Ralphie who have followed his adoption saga can see him playing with his new friends with — seemingly — no major issues.

Let’s hope this one is Ralphie’s forever home!

Additional reporting by Scripps News.

Animals, Good News, Life, News, Pets

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About the Author
Bridget Sharkey
Bridget Sharkey is a freelance writer covering pop culture, beauty, food, health and nature. Visit Scripps News to see more of Bridget's work.

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