Rescue Dog’s Name
Ralph and Hubert
Where Did You Find Your Dog?
Ralph and Hubert are best friends who love one another and everyone they meet. Ralph is our dog (my boyfriend and I) and Hubert is the dog of our good friends who work long days in politics, so Hubert has been coming over to our house to hang out with Ralph everyday for 2 years (his entire life). Ralph’s mom and his litter-mates were strays in rural Georgia who were cared for by an elderly woman, named Martha, who did not call animal control as she knew the mom and puppies would be euthanized quickly in the local high-kill shelter. The mom of the litter was very scared and defensive and would not allow anyone to approach her; Martha created a makeshift bed outside for the mom and puppies and fed her as she was very emaciate and knew if she did not get enough nutrition, she would not be able to nurse the pups and they would die. Martha contacted a rescue group in Philadelphia called the Rescue Express who made it possible for the puppies to be transported to Wilmington, Delaware, where they were fostered by my now good friend Rory Graham, who is a positive reinforcement based trainer in the area. We found Ralph on Petfinder, and met him on May 7, 2011 and took him home that day. Hubert, has a similar story to Ralph. He and his litter of puppies were strays in Rural Kentucky and were transported to Northern New Jersey where Hubert was adopted at ~2.5 mos old from the rescue Orphaned Pets. He was one of the last puppies to be adopted from the litter. Poor Hube was so sick for the first 2 weeks of his new life, he had intestinal parasites and was having trouble eating, but recovered fully and was able to meet new friends at the dog park and began coming over to our house daily.
Tell Us About the Moment When You Knew that You Two Were Meant for Each Other.
My boyfriend and I bonded with Ralph instantaneously, he is so loving, affectionate and sweet it was hard not to! We worked very diligently using +R methods to reinforce the behavior we wanted Ralph to continue to display, showing him what to do instead of only what not to do. He was socialized with dogs and people everyday, and still is present day. Through participating in the above mentioned, we watched Ralph grow and learn how to assess situations and use his cognitive abilities to problem solve. We spent almost every possible moment with Ralph, which only deepened our bond. Bonding with Hubert was very similar, although he isn’t our dog, we certainly love him like he is. Hubert’s humans were married in August of 2012, out of state, and we watched then 9 month old Hubert for a month, although we already bonded with him by this point, having him around constantly for a month deepened our bond with him. Everyone who meets these two comments on how hilarious they are and how intune they are with one another.
How Has Your Hero Changed Your Life?
I think a better question to ask is, how has my hero not changed my life? Ralph has shown the world through a different perspective and how to enjoy the present. He loves and accepts everyone, no matter who they are or where they’ve come from; he is excited to see his human and dog friends alike as well as meet new friends. He is my personal trainer and work out buddy, since adopting him, I’ve lost and kept off between 80-85 pounds, and there is nothing quite like experiencing nature through the eyes of your dog. Both Ralph and Hubert have shown what friendship and unconditional love are. They are intune with one another, as well as their human family. If we are ever ill, or down, they seem to go out of their way to try and show they want to be near us, or do something which makes us laugh.When feeling sad or stressed Hubert encourages us to pet him (he won’t let us not pet him! haha) and Ralph will climb into bed with us, or on the couch and nuzzle as closely as he can-maybe on some level they knows petting a dog releases endorphins and oxytocin in both humans and dogs? In addition to all of this, while getting to know Ralph and Hubert (which is a lifelong process), watching their body language, behavior, play, social cues, with both dogs and people. I really learned how fascinating dogs, dog communication, dog cognition really is. Through watching them, researching, and reading about dogs, I decided that changing my career trajectory; I once was pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner and hoped to specialize in endocrinology, I now am in my last semester of undergrad and plan to attend grad school for animal behavior. I’ve been working as a +R dog trainer with my mentor, Sam Wike, which has been truly life changing. Every dog is amazing, all they need is our patience and a chance.