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Happy Tail: I See Spots!, the story of Ralph & Libby
Ralph & Libby were Dalmatians friends had gotten for Christmas. When the friends moved from Connecticut to Florida, there was no place for Ralph and Libby. Naturally, Peg Schaffer took them in, and brought them to Kentucky, which became their old eternal home. They were quite a pair, as this touching tale reveals. Ralph, was a father, the progenitor of a mixed breed Peg dubbed "Beaglematian."
Click on headline for complete Happy Tail. Then to continue reading more Happy Tail columns by Peg Schaeffer, including the next previous ones, scroll beyond the end of this column and links to others will appear. Each time you read another column, that list changes to allow continuous read as far back as you wish.
By Peg Schaeffer
I had two friends in Connecticut, Timmy and Joyce, who lived not far from us. They had a small farm and had gotten two Dalmatian pups one year for Christmas. They named them Ralph and Libby. They loved the two dogs and the following year they were on their Christmas cards. Whenever I'd go to visit Timmy and Joyce, Ralph and Libby would greet me. Libby was the quiet one of the two and would trot out to welcome you with a slow wag of her tail. Ralph would bound up to you, leap on you, and slobber you with kisses.
Timmy came to our farm one day and asked if I could do him a favor. They had decided to move to Florida. They had sold their place and had moved into a condominium. The problem was that Ralph and Libby couldn't go. Since they were planning on moving within six months Timmy wanted to know if Ralph and Libby could stay with us in the meantime. Of course I said "yes".
Our house and barn were connected and the barn was heated. So Ralph and Libby stayed in the washroom in the barn. As soon as the door squeaked open they would greet you with big smiles and wagging tails.
In no time, dogs became Keith's constant conpanions
The two dogs settled in in no time and became Keith's constant companions. If you were looking for Keith all you had to do was look for the spotted duo. Keith would be nearby. They loved to ride in the truck and would often jump into the bed of the pickup waiting for Keith to take them somewhere - anywhere.
We had the two dogs for a while and Timmy never came back to visit them or bring food. Then one day he showed up with a bag of food. The two dogs went to the door to see who it was, gave him a quick look over - "oh, it's you" and bounded back to Keith's side. Timmy said things weren't working out with their plans to move to Florida so they'd decided to find homes for Ralph and Libby. They were going to split them up. Keith told them in no uncertain terms "They're not going anywhere, they're my dogs now" and he and his two sidekicks walked out the door.
Ralph was barn watchdog
Ralph was the barn watchdog. If he knew you you had nothing to worry about. But if you were a stranger Ralph would curl back his lips and utter a low growl. No one would try to figure out if he would bite you or not. They would just back away. Once Ralph knew you were a friend you would be welcome. Our blacksmith would always call ahead to insure that Ralph was locked up while he trimmed and shod the horses.
My red heeler, Sydney, and Ralph were arch enemies from the beginning. The day I brought Sydney home Ralph raced out from the laundry room and bit off the tip of Sydney's ear. From that day on they had to be separated. Sydney would look for Ralph whenever he went into the barn and Ralph would lurk in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to pounce on Sydney. They never became friends.
Before Ralph was neutered, he fathered start of designer breed
When we got them Libby had been spayed but Ralph hadn't been neutered. Our friend, Jenn, had a female Beagle named "Holly" and Ralph fathered a litter of puppies. They looked like Beagles but had the Dalmatian spots so we had a designer breed "Beaglematians". Luckily we found homes for all of the puppies. Jenn still has two of them, Clyde and Jasmine, and my niece, Kathy has Domino. When Ralph traveled to the neighbors had mated with their Bichon Friese we decided it was time to have him neutered.
When we moved to Kentucky Ralph and Libby came with us. They lived in the kennel and couldn't wait for Keith to come outside. They'd stay by his side while he did his chores, worshipping the ground he walked on. They rode in the truck when he went on errands and loved life.
Libby was first to go, and old age soon caught up with Ralph
Libby was the first one to go. Old age caught up with her first. We thought Ralph would mourn her loss but he just bonded more with Keith (if that was possible). His favorite trip with Keith would be to the dump. He made friends with Doug who would always share a candy bar with him.
Old age soon caught up with Ralph. He started to get arthritic and had a hard time getting around. But he still followed Keith everywhere. Keith would just have to walk a little slower. One morning when Keith went out to feed he found Ralph had died during the night, snuggled up in the straw. Ralph and Libby are buried together and I'm sure the spotted duo is romping in the fields waiting to help Keith do chores.
- Peg Schaeffer, President and Founder, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue
Contact us if you would like to help.
Peg Schaeffer, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue,
860 Sparksville Road
Columbia, KY 42728
Home telephone: 270-378-4521
Cell phone: 270-634-4675
This story was posted on 2015-02-15 12:10:41
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