New York Shelter Gives Update on 'Demon' Dog Ralphie After Outpouring of Love for 'Jerk' Pup
Ralphie remains a demon dog less than a week after going viral but is now a "full jerk" with thousands of fans.
The 26-pound rescue dog was introduced to the internet on Jan. 17, when New York-based nonprofit Niagara County SPCA posted a brutally honest Facebook post about the adoptable pup, who the shelter's staff described as "fire-breathing" and "a whole jerk — not even half."
The post went on to garner over 2,000 likes and caught the attention of national news outlets.
Since the general public is clearly "invested in Ralphie's success," the shelter has continued to use social media to update Ralphie's new fans on his adoption journey. On Tuesday, Niagara County SPCA offered a look into a training session with the dog, designed to help rid Raplhie of his aggressive, possessive habits.
"In an attempt to make a proper gentleman out of Ralphie, SPCA staffers Liz and Tina picked out an outfit for him for a training field trip to our local Joann Fabrics," the shelter shared in a Facebook post.
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Niagara SPCA Facebook
The trip started off as expected, based on Ralphie's history of bad manners.
"He was a complete lune in the car, bouncing from front to back," the post said.
Once Ralphie the demon dog arrived at Joann's, things got better. He interacted with another customer, who "didn't realize she was taking her life in her own hands," but he was "out of his element," so he "stood stiff and side-eyed her." Liz and Tina led him a "safe distance away" to ensure the encounter remained as pleasant.
Following the encounter, "he trotted right up to a mirror where he went on, like any true jerk, to admire himself endlessly — really checking from all angles," the post added.
For Ralphie, the outing was an overall success. "No blood was shed," and "they weren't told to never come back," so the SPCA was happy.
Niagara SPCA Facebook
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Ralphie's behavior, the SPCA said in its first post about him, is likely rooted in how he was treated at a previous home. According to the shelter, staff members believe the dog was spoiled by his previous owners.
This previous lack of boundaries has led Ralphie to develop a problematic protectiveness over his spaces — like his kennel, which he can be seen defending in a video shared by the SPCA. In the clip, as a staffer tries to enter the kennel, the dog jumps, trying to "bite their fingers." The hesitation from the staffer then signals to Ralphie that "he's controlling the situation," which reinforces his behavior, per Niagara County SPCA.
"Our best guess is that Ralphie's cute face got him whatever he wanted, and boundaries are something he heard people talk about, but they didn't apply to him," the original Facebook post about the pooch said. "His first owners took him to board and train, but their relationship was built on the premise that Ralphie was the boss, so things ended abruptly. He was rehomed. Two weeks into this new home and he was surrendered to us because [he] 'annoys our older dog.' What they actually meant was: Ralphie is a fire-breathing demon and will eat our dog, but hey, he's only 26 lbs."
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Niagara SPCA Facebook
As the shelter continues searching for a permanent home for Ralphie, they have strict guidelines about what kind of adopter they'll accept. Anyone with children or another pet is off-limits. Both provide "less one-on-one time for his training" and are "potential targets for him."
"While we've used humor to help make his behaviors more palatable for public consumption, his behaviors are no joke," a Wednesday post about the dog said. "That's why we're being super picky about his adopter."
For now, the shelter is taking him on field trips like the one to Joann's on Tuesday and encouraging him to practice yoga to calm his nerves.
"He 100% is a full jerk, but we believe he has potential to be a good boy — if only a percentage of the time," the Niagara County SPCA added.