Few shelter dogs have captured the public’s attention like Ralphie, the “fire breathing demon” French bulldog.
Ralphie first went viral in January, after an adoption post from the Niagara SPCA described his challenging behavior in funny and colorful terms, like calling him a “terror in a somewhat small package.”
But his story has had a lot of ups and downs since then: he was adopted, only to be surrendered back to the shelter due to his behavior. But after receiving further training, Ralphie has another new home — and hopefully this time it’s for good.
Read more about Ralphie’s story, and hear the inspiring new update.
Ralphie – viral Facebook post
Ralphie first caught the public’s attention thanks to a January 17 Facebook post from his shelter, the Niagara SPCA. Instead of highlighting Ralphie’s good qualities, as most adoption posts do, the SPCA took a different approach.
Ralphie, who has a history of bad behavior, was described as a “terror in a somewhat small package” and a “fire-breathing demon.”
“He’s a whole jerk- not even half,” the Niagara SPCA wrote. “Everything belongs to him. If you dare test his ability to possess THE things, wrath will ensue. If you show a moment of weakness, prepare to be exploited. Sounds fun, huh?”
At the time, Ralphie had already been through two homes: the first reportedly took him to board and train, but couldn’t give Ralphie the discipline he needed.
He was then rehomed, but his second family also returned him to the shelter because he “annoyed” their other dog.
Despite the shelter’s warnings and insistence that his best home would be with the “Mother of Dragons,” Ralphie won hearts across the internet and the shelter received many adoption requests.
On February 4, the shelter posted an update, saying that their “favorite devil” Ralphie had been adopted.
A statement from the new owner at the time said she saw “a few things” wrong with his behavior, describing Ralphie as a “nipper,” she said she was “completely in love” with Ralphie and was committed to working out his behavioral issues.
However, Ralphie’s happy ending proved too good to be true.
Returned to the shelter for the third time
On February 14, the Niagara SPCA shared another, sadder update to Ralphie’s story: he had been returned to the shelter for the third time.
It turned out that Ralphie proved to be a bit too much for his new mom. The SPCA accepted Ralphie back without judgement, agreeing that it wasn’t quite the right fit after all.
“While the adopter had the right household dynamic, Ralphie proved to be more than she could handle,” they wrote. “Kudos to her though for making the right decision. There were some bad choices made by both, but they parted ways amicably.”
Writing that it was “back to square one” with Ralphie, the shelter said they were planning to take his behavior problems even more seriously.
They said they were finally able to get in contact with Ralphie’s original owner for insights about his history, and enrolled Ralphie in an intensive six-week board and train program while they continued to vet new homes.
Videos showed Ralphie’s progress in his training sessions, responding to commands and showing off some impressive agility. His trainer reportedly described him as a “very athletic, super treat motivated and kind of a fun guy.”
Ralphie adopted again
It’s clear Ralphie made great strides in his weeks of training, and now it was time to find him just the right home.
In a March 24 Facebook post, the Niagara SPCA announced some great news, revealing “Ralphie’s next adventure.” They said they have found a “perfect adopter” for Ralphie.
His new owner is Jason, who trains dogs for a living for the Department of Energy in Tennessee, according to the SPCA. Ralphie will join a pack that includes another Frenchie, a Daschund and a German Shepherd.
While Jason did not perfectly fit the shelter’s requested requirements — they originally asked for Ralphie to go to a home with no other dogs, for instance — they decided that he was the perfect owner for Ralphie because he has experience training other dogs with prior histories of biting.
“Jason is exactly what Ralphie needs,” Niagara SPCA wrote. “He’ll provide him with structure, and give him an outlet for all that Frenchie energy…. He dedicates his life to dogs and that’s what makes him a perfect match for Ralphie.”
It sounds like Ralphie has finally found his true forever home, but fans can continue to follow his adventures: the owner has created Facebook and Instagram accounts for Ralphie. Even though Ralphie’s behavior has come a long way, they still use his nickname “Ralphie the Demon Dog.”
“We wish our tiny, reformed terror all the best and we look forward to hearing about all of his adventures,” the SPCA wrote. “Thank you to all who shared Ralphie’s story and to those who donated to help tame the dragon!”
Ralphie has come such a long way these past few months and we’re so glad he’s finally found a perfect home! We wish him the best in his new life and look forward to seeing his adventures!
Please share this incredible news! 🐾❤️
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