‘Fire-breathing demon’: shelter opts for honesty in adoption ad for ‘full jerk’ dog

A no-kill shelter in Niagara Falls, New York, takes unconventional approach to finding new owners for French bulldog

Maybe he’s born with it, maybe he really is a “full jerk”, “fire-breathing demon” and equally adorable 26lb dog with boundary issues.

Meet Ralphie, a 14-month-old French bulldog whose owners surrendered him at the Niagara SPCA, a no-kill shelter in Niagara Falls, New York, earlier this month where a very unconventional approach is being taken to finding him new owners.

In their Facebook ad for his adoption, the shelter didn’t sugarcoat Ralphie’s aggressive nature that they say would only be suitable for the “Mother of Dragons” as an owner – a reference to a fearsome character from Game of Thrones.

In a post that garnered thousands of responses on Facebook, the shelter admitted that they try to downplay the less desirable characteristics of their dogs in adoption ads, but that this was too tough a task for Ralphie – so they decided to be brutally honest instead.

“We don’t actually have too many nice things to say so we’re just going to come out with it,” they wrote. “Ralphie is a terror in a somewhat small package.”

It could be because his previous owners may have spoiled him by giving in to all his whims, and created boundary issues, the ad said.

It appears that his adorable traits may have landed him with owners who made him “the boss” – which only led them to eventually letting him go. Within two weeks of being rehomed, the second owners had to give him up because he irritated their older dog.

But the shelter at this point knows what that could have actually implied: “Ralphie is a fire-breathing demon and will eat our dog, but hey, he’s only 26lb.”

“Lots of people withheld Ralphie’s less than desirable traits, but we’re going to tell you all about it,” the ad read. “He’s a whole jerk – not even half.

“If you show a moment of weakness, prepare to be exploited.”

Turns out that the honesty in the post is what appealed to people.

“I’d like to donate toward his adoption fee,” one Facebook user responded to the ad. “I’m bossy and too much for some people too, so he’s a little bit my spirit animal.”

Others chimed in with their own (not so polite) theories.

“Sometimes it’s not an upbringing, rather genetic and chemical imbalance. He would have to be placed with someone who understands mental illness in dogs,” wrote one person. “Not all dogs can be cured with hugs and kisses.”

“So in human terms, Ralphie is a spoiled brat?” commented another person. “He was given a mile and took two instead. There is someone out there that would take Ralphie and all his quirks. He just has to learn his boundaries and his human stick to them.”

Many commended the shelter for their honesty in the post.

Last week, the shelter shared another update, and it looks like he is getting better – even though it’s in very tiny steps.


Samira Asma-Sadeque

The GuardianTramp

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