RIP My love, My Ralph.

Do you remember when we met? I had come to the west valley animal shelter, and I saw you before you saw me. You were by yourself in a little cage at the end of the long corridor. When you saw me, you tried to bite your way through the wires. I stopped and took a moment to fall in love with you. Oh, you were tiny. A comma made of black fur, punctuating my love with licks and nips. Our affair was destined to be a run on sentence, on and on and on and on and on and on. But then, it was just the beginning of the story and you could sit comfortably and very dignified in the palm of my hand while you emanated gratitude and warmth and puppy love. There was a large wound on the top of your head that was caked in dirt and dried blood, and you had a slight wobble in your walk because the people at the shelter said you had been kicked very hard. They put you on a table and someone tried to feed you a French fry, but you refused it, because that would have meant you would have had to stop staring at me. you never wanted to stop staring at me. You were a master at seduction, even then, at just a few weeks old.

We went home together and you were scared. I had to bathe you in the sink and you hated it! You were even smaller without fur. The dried blood and fleas were gone, and then it was just you, wet and perfect and tiny and soon asleep between my giant platform shoes. It was the 90s after all.

I named you after Ralph Fiennes. “The English Patient” had just come out. You were badly hurt but I was determined to be your Juliette Binoche and nurse you back to health, my head on your chest, as you told me all the great stories of the war and your love. The vets didn’t believe you’d get better, but I held you day and night and cried softly into your fur and fed you nutrical from my fingers and you grew and suddenly, seemingly overnight, you were my big dog. My big boy. My Ralph.

You would sleep on the bed with me, in my single days, and you would put your head on the pillow, the rest of your dog body under the covers, just like a man. Before I was married, you were my dog husband. When we moved to the big house, you were horrified, and you barked at the movers like you were defending your homeland, but you grew to love the new house, and then your new dad, and begrudgingly, your new dog siblings.

I am not sure what I am going to do without you. My love. My Ralph. I don’t know yet. I am happy you are no longer in pain. All the money in the world couldn’t cure the passage of time. Where are you floating now? Among all the famous people in heaven? I bet it’s big scene up there. They should let you into the VIP lounge. Just tell them who your mother is.

I grieve for you so, my love. My big dog. Who was so afraid of the wind. When I petted you, I could hear the deep satisfaction that welled up inside you. Your great dog sighs were profound. You would shake the floors. When you were very sick, I would try to ease the pain by lying next to you in your bed, my whole body encircling yours, thinking if only I could absorb the pain, take the disease into myself and take it out of you. We can only do so much, we can only do so much on earth, my love.

I am convinced I will meet you again someday, when this is all over. When there are no more jobs or days or nights or appointments or things or shows or age or sun or moon or trips or life or anything. It will be just us, and there will be a field and you will run to me, with no pain in your hips. You will run to me and knock me down.

Ralph Puppy

Ralph BW

Margaret and Ralph

DJ Ralph

Ralph Senior

Blue Ralph

Ralph and Auriana

137 Comments. Add To The Mix…

  1. I am so, so sorry to hear this. Lots of love your way. I have two dogs and have lost pets before; it’s agony.

    He was gorgeous.

  2. You were a very lucky person to have Ralph in your life… just as he was lucky to have you. It is soooo hard losing one of the furkids.

    I, like you, believe that we get to see our furkids again sometime. Maybe there really is a Rainbow Bridge that they are sitting just across…. If you haven’t heard the ‘story’ of the Rainbow Bridge, be sure that you find it. You will Love it. And, I hope that Ralph is there waiting for you.

  3. I’m really sorry. I would love to big you a big hug, but I know that only time will make you feel better.

  4. So sorry about Ralph. I dread that happening to my Ted. I played a sketch of yours to my pupils in a French lesson today. Just for fun. They loved it. David. X

  5. Oh, he was such a handsome big boy. I am so sorry for your loss and I’m sure he has TONS of company wherever it is he has gone to.

  6. Sad, but beautiful. It’s hard to lose someone you love, especially someone who loved you unconditionally, but Ralph will be with you always.

  7. So Sorry to read of the passing of Ralph…..but it was never a loss because he will always be with you…then, now and in the after. What a handsome and regal boy!

  8. I’m so sorry that you lost your beloved friend.
    There will be a day, some day you won’t think of him at every turn…and that might, almost, be worse. But, it may be years before you don’t think of him every day.
    Later you’ll find that you smile first when you think of him. Until then will seem like a very long time.
    UNTIL THEN, Bitchslap anyone who uses the phrase “just a dog.”
    Our dogs are what make us sure that life is good, and that love can last forever.
    Be comforted in the memories, hugs.

  9. You were so lucky to have each other. From one dog lover to another, bless you for rescuing him and loving him.

  10. My favorite quote about losing someone you love comes from Six Feet Under – “it doesn’t get easier, it just becomes more familiar.”

    Take care yourself, and give a lot of hugs to those that are in your life.

  11. Oh, Margaret! This was so beautiful and I feel for you so… I love my cats the way you love your babies (as Al said the same to me-vise versa-recently when my Merlin was sick), and my Merlin is like your Ralph. You develop a deep, intense relationship with your first born animal friend that can never be replaced. But you saved him and gave him a great life and so much love! He was a lucky pup. I’m glad I got to meet him and pet him and almost get knocked over by him before he left us… my deepest sympathy. I cried my eyes out reading this lovely blog… love and blessings to you and Al… Heidi

  12. *hugs* I’m so sorry, Margaret! 🙁

    Its true, the become such parts of our lives, sometimes even closer than family. My heart aches along with yours. Our 9 year old golden retriever just died of cancer on Thursday.

    I like to think that they’re playing tag and waiting for us to join them.

    Be good to yourself. He loves you as much as you love him and that’s an awesome thing.

  13. Margaret, as the mom of 2 older big boys, my heart is heavy for you. Thank the Universe we get to have them while they’re here. Much, much love, Celeste

  14. We are so sad for you and wish that socks could make it all better. Good dogs are such a gift, some day we’ll take a run through that field with you, barefoot even.

  15. as sad as it was to read this, and my heart is breaking for you, it would have been sadder if you had not adopted Ralph….

  16. For anyone who has loved a pet, adopted a new furry family member, you know the pain when they leave us. You have my deepest sympathy.

  17. Margaret,
    That was an AMZING tribute to his life and the love you shared together. I lost a pet last Wednesday, and even though I am still grieving I know she is in a better place and is finally out of pain. It doesn’t make it any easier, but you did the most loving and most compassionate thing you could do.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time.
    Peace and love to you,
    Kristen <3

    p.s. he had such a GREAT smile!!

  18. I cannot read stories like yours about your Ralph without getting a lump in my throat and shedding a few tears… I think that anyone who has ever loved a dog understands how sad you must be right now… But, know that dog love is eternal and you gave him such a wonderful life and loved him so that he will be watching out for you “furever.” (Cheesy, I know, but someone said that to me when my belovedly bitchy cockapoo – Oreo – sighed her last sigh and closed her eyes in 1998… sniff.)

    Love from Kate & Max Tango, Canine Private Eye in SF…

  19. Awww, so sorry for your loss, Margaret… You and Ralph were lucky to find each other. What a beautiful tribute you have written, I’m in tears for you.

  20. What a beautiful tribute to your beloved friend. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    You have my deepest empathy for your loss.

  21. MC–Thanks so much for sharing your feelings so well!
    Our LOVE for our pets may be the closest sign of our own self love. They are certainly our greatest teachers and an extension of ourselves. Reading you now -I am reminded of all the great times and the really hard times (wowie)–that I have had with my pets. It is an unceasing love and be to loose them is to know the lesson has been learned. For now. There will be another to come when you are ready.
    Such a gift. I just had my next dog appear last week..after 1.5 yrs without one. She is perfect and I am ready to learn again.

  22. Ralph was lucky to find you and a happy loving home.
    That’s all we can do for them.
    I have tears in my eyes reading what you wrote.
    My dogs have brought me and taught me so much.
    Thanks for showing those pictures.
    What a handsome boy.

  23. I’m so terribly, terribly sorry that you lost Ralph. Reading this literally brought me to tears. Recently I had to put my Zeeke to sleep…after watching him have 7 seizures in less than 24 hours due to a brain tumor. Losing a pet is one of the hardest things to go through. After all, they know us better than anyone and they love us when no one else will. I’m sure you will see him again. *hugs from a fellow dog lover*

  24. Sorry for your loss. I don’t know what the equivalent of “pouring a 40 for your homie” is for a dog. Maybe leaving a dog snack out in a park. I don’t know why we have to have such loss. Some spiritual person told me that you mutually help evolve each other’s soul in this life and are certainly a new relation, a new family, ever after more. Pets and owners are students together and push evolution along and your kindness will not be forgotten. Don’t be surprised if he visits you from time to time.

  25. I already expressed my condolences to you on your FB page, but I just had to share with you how gorgeous Ralph was now that I’ve seen these adorable pictures on your blog. Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt words and pictures with us, Margaret, but most especially for being the loving soul who saved and healed Ralph, and gave him an incredible second chance at life.

  26. I just read this and started crying so hard… I have Dogs and I love them with all of my heart… I dont know what I would do if I ever lost my Lily


    So Sorry for your loss.

  27. Margaret,
    you have made me laugh many times…but not until today have you made me cry. That was the sweetest story, and I thank you for sharing your baby with us. I am sorry for your loss.

  28. im so sorry, i know just how you feel but you will oneday meet againe. my Prayers go out to him and you.

  29. Poor beautiful Ralph! I’m so sorry he had to leave you, such a darling dog and a good friend. Thank you and bless you a thousand times for rescuing him and for giving him a life full of love, affection, and security.

  30. I will never understand how anyone who has ever met a dog could claim to not be a \dog person\. Margaret, this simultaneously wrecked and inspired me. You will be together again someday…

  31. Margaret – you put it all so well. That is how many of us animal lovers feel when we lose one of our beloved furry children!

    You have made me laugh so hard I am in tears, but never cry, until now. Thank you for sharing such personal emotions.

    May Ralph’s spirit guide you to your next furry child.

  32. Dear Margaret, A touching tribute to a beautiful and lucky dog, to have shared his life with you, surrounded by such love and devotion. I have loved and lost several animals and know your heartache. I hope there is a heaven where we will all be reunited one day. All we can do is love animals, adopt more, and give them the best lives possible. Thank you for being such a kind loving person to animals. It’s so easy to love them, isn’t it? My life is filled with joy because of my pets. Good luck to you, sweet girl. Kandi

  33. I am so sorry. He was a beauty. It is amazing the hold they have on us – dogs, cats, parrots – whichever, especially when rescued. Cautious protection slowly becomes mutual trust and commitment. It is hard now but my god, you took him out of hell and into heaven. He had a good a life! A miracle – and you gave it to him! You should be proud of that – spread the word in honor of Ralph. Puppy mills means perfectly good dogs sit in pounds and worse. It is really sinful. Pounds and rescues need help. Money, volunteers, adoptions.

    It gets better but the pain never completely goes away and I am glad for it.

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