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3 Years with Ralph: A Reflection on Pet Adoption and Unconditional Love

Updated: Mar 10

With Ralphie's "Gotcha Day" only a week away, I thought I'd reflect on March 2021, the month we welcomed Ralph into our home! PS... just after writing this blog post all about our amazing experience, 7.15am on a Saturday morning, Ralph decided to cock his leg and p*ss all over my new bedroom rug for no apparent reason, jumped on the bed, licked my face and lay on my chest to fall back to sleep. I swear, I nearly deleted the entire post.

After much deliberation on rescuing a second dog, we drove three hours over to Boston, Lincolnshire to meet Cockapoo Ralphie. A dog I'd fallen madly in love with from from the amazing Pupcakes Rescue Facebook page, a rescue centre dedicated to dogs with complex behavioural issues and bite histories. Ralphie had a level 2 bite history, and was described as
"mouthy energetic, incredibly loving and very weird in some hilarious ways".
Of course that last bit completely won me over and I HAD to apply. The application form was rigorous, and asked us questions like 'What are the expectations and hopes of adding a Pupcakes dog to your household'. This was the first time I had applied for a rescue dog and I love that they made you question exactly what you wanted from the dog you were applying for and also questioned what problems you may need help with in the long run as they have a community to support you through the adoption process. I took around 3 hours filling in the application form and explained everything thoroughly about our life, work and experience of owning a dog and telling Pupcakes exactly what I can provide for Ralphie, which in essence was a happy and supportive home to his needs.


I was obsessively checking my phone looking at whether the rescue centre had emailed or messaged for the next three days, day four came and an email from the lovely Liz came through inviting me for a video home check. Within the hour I'd sent over a walk through of our house, the main things they were checking was the general living areas and the garden. We live in a two up, two down terraced house, with a small yard for reference, something we were worried would stop us from adopting a dog. We were so happy to find out we had passed this stage and we were invited to meet Ralphie in person!
Due to being over two hour drive away, and a lockdown still in place in the UK we were told if Ralphie and we were happy and connected, we would be able to take him straight home. It was now only 8 days later and we were on our way to meet him! Ahh!!

On arriving at Pupcakes, Ralphie was running around with lots of other fabulous poochies and came straight over for a fuss but once we were sat in their meeting room we saw the other side to him, a nervous quiet boy, a dog that wasn't too sure on us, especially my partner. We stayed there and gained his trust (with the help of liver treats!) and after about an hour, he sat happily and proud in between us, and we could tell he was ours! For the next couple of hours we talked about Ralphie's behaviours and his last two homes. Ralphie was not a fan of men, presumed to be from his first home where the man "didn't like him", they put him up for adoption elsewhere, at the second home, he bit someone twice and they were scared to have him around children, and then he ended up at the Pupcakes Rescue. The lovely staff explained his bite history and ensured we knew exactly what we could possibly be taking on. We were happy to take the risk, of course! We transferred the funds over to Pupcakes Rescue, signed some forms, and off we drove, with our new fur baby. The whole journey he sat glued to my chest like a new born baby, with his head resting on my shoulder, all I could think was, how could someone rehome this boy,
I already felt such a strong connection and he'd only been ours an hour.

Forever Home.

Just after midnight we arrived home and absolutely wiped out from the day, we had just picked Sidney up and in the car home they sat together happily on the back seats. It was time for bed, and of course we are those folk that sleep in the bedroom with the dogs (who doesn't?!) Sid jumped into bed first, in the prime location, central between me and my partner. Ralph jumps up excitable and Sid starts growling. I hadn't really come across this behaviour in Sid before, so I decide it is maybe best for us to try them both sleeping on the floor in their separate beds, Sid happily climbs into his bed but Ralph refuses and jumps back in our bed. Sid is staring at me and all I'm thinking is, what have I done? My boy Sid is so upset with me for bringing a new dog home! The opposite of my intention - I wanted him to have a friend, a companion! I think this is what we don't realise when bringing a new dog into the house, we expect our dogs to immediately become best pals, and behave as we would, understanding of who this new animal is whereas in reality he has no idea who this random dog is and why he is in OUR bed in between HIS humans.
I'll be honest, the next couple of days were difficult, and I although I had bonded so well with Ralphie, I couldn't help but think how Sid was feeling. I felt like he was struggling with sharing us with Ralph, his space, and his toys. The only time he was behaving 'nice' towards Ralph was when it came to food. Ralph came to us quite underweight and Sid would let him eat his food, even if he hadn't finished...
Was this the start of a doggie friendship?

Forever Friends.

After only a week, whilst on a phone call to a friend I could hear some noises coming from the living room, I sneak in and find them playfully leaning on each other and play fighting. I was so happy! I started welling up, finally watching them get on and behaving the way I imagined them to! That was it, after that first play they didn't stop! We are now just short of three years later and they are just like brothers... sometimes playing, sometimes fighting (boys will be boys!) Sid has give him so much confidence in the house, and out of the house, a once very nervous boy in most social situations (we believe he wasn't given enough regular socialisation at his previous home) now thrives on being out and about.

Forever & Always.

Today Ralph is very much the same dog as we picked up, a crazy weird little bundle of fun. A dog that will drive you actually beyond mad, but is incredibly loveable. He absolutely loves you to bits - and makes it clear. Loves cuddles and being right next to you (whether that means his entire body across your pillow so his face can touch yours!)
He loves attention from women but still, even three years later is extremely wary of men. I think that is key to mention that no matter how much love and support you give a dog, sometimes these behaviours will stick, and Ralphie's fear of men continues for him, he finds them extremely intimidating - his tail dips straight down and he avoids all eye contact with strange men. We always explain to strangers who want to pet him to keep their distance and let him suss them out first, if he comes to them, then allow a pet, and 9/10 he makes friends with them after a good sniff... a huge progress from when we first picked him up! His resource guarding has been incredibly hard to train out, but something we continue to work on, and believe we'll be working on for a long time.
He now drops things in exchange for a treat and stands at the fridge ready for something of higher value than the pair of knickers he just robbed out of the washing basket!
I'm going to do a blog post about his resource guarding as I've found speaking to customers it is a very common trait - especially in Cockapoos. I'm going to rate the most ridiculous things Ralphie has stolen in the house, along with pictures - so get ready for that!!

Pupcakes Rescue.

I have to write about how amazing the process was throughout with Pupcakes Rescue and share some of the beautiful dogs that are currently up for adoption. Pupcakes Rescue And Rehab is a unique, non-profit organisation that predominantly offers rescue spaces and support to owners and rescues alike by taking on and safely rehoming dogs with severe behavioural issues and bite histories.
They have a Facebook community group that is absolutely amazing and full of super supportive members. After adopting your dog, you are welcomed into the group, people are open honest and non-judgemental, a place you feel safe asking for help, or offering support to others. Below I've added a couple of their current dogs that are available for adoption!

Adopt, Don't Shop!

Choosing to adopt a dog is not only a compassionate decision but also one that brings you so much joy and fulfilment. While I understand that adopting may not be feasible for everyone, especially those with demanding schedules or young children, I strongly recommend considering adoption before opting for purchasing from a breeder or puppy farm. There's a multitude of reasons that make adoption a heart-warming and socially responsible choice.
First and foremost, adoption gives you the opportunity to provide a loving home to a dog in need. In the UK alone, thousands of dogs are eagerly awaiting a chance at a better life. Each one has a unique personality and charm, ensuring there's a perfect match for everyone!
For those concerned about the adaptability of rescue dogs, charities like Pupcakes Rescue have an array of wonderful dogs with different backgrounds and temperaments. These dogs are not only deserving of a second chance but are often resilient and grateful for the love and care they receive in their new homes.
One of the most fulfilling aspects of adoption is witnessing the positive transformations in your canine companion. As an example, my own experience with Ralph from Pupcakes Rescue has been immensely rewarding. Watching him gain the confidence to stay in the living room or bedroom independently, even during daily activities like taking a bath or doing the dishes, highlights the huge impact we can have on their lives. It's in these subtle yet wholesome moments that you step back and realise how far they have come from the beginning.
By choosing to adopt, you contribute to the larger cause of reducing the number of animals in shelters, promoting responsible pet ownership, and ultimately breaking the cycle of overpopulation. It's not just about bringing a dog into your home; it's about becoming a part of their journey toward a brighter and happier future.
So, if you can, take a moment to explore the incredible companions waiting for a forever home! The satisfaction of knowing you've made a positive difference in a dog's life is unparalleled and will undoubtedly create lasting memories for both you and your new four-legged friend.
Ralphie, loving life at his new forever home!

Hope you all enjoyed my first blog post! If you're new here, check out our socials @sidneyandsapphire where you'll see all our updates and new posts!

Briony x

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Excellent post! Lovely to see Ralphie getting along well with Sid. Pupcakes let me adopt a dog from them five years ago. We travelled down from Scotland to pick him up 😃 Here he is, loving life with one of his two Cat Bros. He also has a another Chi bro 😍


Love our Ralphie, remember that first meeting when you came to pick Sid up! A bundle of fun. We love Ralph & Sid our grandfurbabies! Xx

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