As It Happens

This 'fire-breathing demon' dog is coming for your ankles. Want to adopt him?

Ralphie is cute, but there’s no getting around it. He’s a menace. He’ll blow you away with his puppy-dog eyes, but he will go for the ankles, according to Liz Marshall at the Niagara Country SPCA in New York.

Niagara County SPCA hopes a brutally honest review of Ralphie will find him the right home

A French Bulldog looks at the camera while sitting on a blanket.
Ralphie may only be 26 pounds, but he's still a danger to ankles and mops in his vicinity, according to Liz Marshall from the Niagara County SPCA in New York. (Niagara County SPCA)

Ralphie is cute, but there's no getting around it: he's a menace.

"He does have tendencies to be a little bit of a fire-breathing demon," Liz Marshall, of the Niagara County SPCA in New York, told As It Happens host Nil Köksal.

He'll blow you away with his puppy-dog eyes, but he will go for the ankles, according to Marshall. 

The non-profit shelter posted about the 26-pound French bulldog on Facebook earlier this month, and they didn't hold anything back. 

"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. Ralphie is a terror," the post says.

"He's a whole jerk — not even half."

A French Bulldog lays on tile floor.
Marshall says Ralphie knows how to use his cuteness to his advantage. (Niagara County SPCA)

Brooms and ankles be warned

Marshall says that one minute you could be petting him, and then the next, looking on in horror as he attacks his two greatest nemeses: brooms and mops.

"He's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," said Marshall. 

She says on Ralphie's first day at the shelter, he seemed cute. A little reserved, but fine. But later that day, Marshall walked by the dog.

"I guess he just didn't like the way I walked around him when he was in his bed, and he kind of like jumped toward [me], wanting to bite my ankle," said Marshall. 

A coworker had Ralphie on a leash, preserving Marshall's ankles. But it was clear the dog was going to be trouble. 

Ralphie does have other hobbies. Marshall says he likes belly rubs, staring at himself in the mirror, and yarn.

A French Bulldog looks out the window of a car.
Ralphie may look like a prime candidate for adoption, but the SPCA says he isn't for the faint of heart. (Niagara County SPCA)

Ralphie's right home

Marshall says the SPCA wanted to make sure everyone knew Ralphie wasn't for the faint of heart.

"That's why we were very direct and honest, because he's been re-homed twice already. And we really don't want him to be re-homed a third time," said Marshall. 

"We want to make sure that he's going to go with the appropriate family and household."

She speculates he was too much to handle in the first household. In Ralphie's second home, he was living with a family with children and another dog, and didn't get on with them.

Marshall says the right fit would be a family with no other dogs, no small children, and someone who has time to train him. So far, since posting about Ralphie, they've heard from people in 41 different states. 

"Based on the response, we're super hopeful that we're going to be able to find his home sooner than later," said Marshall.

And wherever Ralphie does end up, it may be wise to invest in thick socks, and some durable brooms. 


Philip Drost is a journalist with the CBC. You can reach him on Twitter @phildrost or by email at

Interview produced by Kate Swoger

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