MEET RALPHIE NUGGET

Since this blog is named after the dog, I figured it was time I wrote about him.

Ralphie Nugget came into our family a little over a year ago from a rescue group. Originally named Cass, he threw up on the way to Tractor Supply—our meeting spot for the adoption– in the nice rescue lady’s car, then threw up again in our car on the way home. So Ralphie seemed the logical choice for his name. Nugget was added on because he was a scrawny 6-pound scaly-skinned monster baby when we got him. It was obvious he had a rough start in life, which we have since made up for by loving him so much he is now 60 pounds and on a diet. Food = love in our house and our home is filled with love. Moo…

Despite his small size, he had big shoes to fill as a replacement for our recently deceased Mollybean, who will forever be the favorite. Molly was the happiest dog on earth, as loving as she was lovable, never met a stranger, independent, spirited, imaginative, helpful, I could go on for days. She did have her limitations: feared plastic, turtles, and melons. Refused to not jump on people, and ate anything and everything she found with her half-beagle nose. Apparently the only Labrador parts of her were her love of water and her color.

My total bad ass husband (he is paying me to say that so expect to see it often) and I picked Ralphie because he looked exactly like Molly. Not so much because we missed seeing her, after all the house is filled with her pictures and she currently sits on the mantel where she spends her days haunting the new dog, but because our house is also filled with all sorts of black dog decorative crap. And it just seemed easier to get another black dog than to get new crap. What can I say, we are lazy folks.

Ralphie learned the Sit command immediately. I was convinced he was a genius, and told the vet so on his first puppy exam visit. Oddly, the vet just laughed. It became obvious to me that our vet was an idiot, but he had been such a great vet and unidiot-like during Molly’s demise that we kept him. Then we enrolled Ralphie in puppy school and the instructor said this: all your dog wants to do is please you. We thought she was high, since Molls had spent her entire life showing us she didn’t give a rat’s ass what we thought of her, most obviously displayed by faking illness and a limp when we tried to take her home from Grandma and Grandpa’s house, aka Heaven. Turns out, vet and instructor are correct: Ralphie is not a genius, displayed by pooping in the house—TWICE—the day after graduating from puppy school (see shaming photo on Facebook.com/RalphieNugget). And all he wants to do is make us happy. After a year, we are still adjusting to this foreign dog-pleasing-the-humans behavior.

Unlike his big sister, Ralphie Nugget is a delicate and sensitive soul. He cries easily, and often. He pees on your shoe when you meet him. He loves to snuggle buggle on my lap while we watch Dr Phil in the afternoon. If he is scolded, his feelings are terribly hurt, which has led us to advise him ‘’do what’s in your heart.’’ Usually what is in his heart is running in the yard and barking at the neighbors like a mad man, which no one likes but whatcha gonna do, we have become permissive parents in our old age. He likes to visit Grandma and Grandpa, but believes there is no place like home.

He is also a very, very odd little duck. His favorite toys are not toys. Number one favorite: blue stick, a plastic stick from the Chuck It set, which turned out being way more fun than the Chuck It ball (photo on Facebook). Number two favorite: garden stake, a plastic lawn stake that guides water hose around flower beds (again on Facebook). And our little man loves to dance, usually with a rope toy that he flings about in a rave-like trance until we have to warn him he is about to concuss himself. Apparently the music is inside his head, but we like to encourage him by singing the Safety Dance song. (Google it.) Since our house is a judgment-free zone, no one cares about his quaint (read: weird) behavior. So if Ralphie wants to dance, dance he shall. It’s better than having him claim to be a citizen of the world. (Hmm, maybe not entirely judgment-free house.)

Now that it is spring and the weather is above freezing on most days, Ralphie likes to spend his time outside, where there is more room for dancing. So we are off to explore and search for new and exciting things, mostly in the shape of other animals’ poop. And hopefully some new blog topics…

Next up: Cell phones

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