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Radiant, Rescue, Ralph!

If you’ve ever taken home a rescue pet, you likely know what it’s like to find your match — that instant connection saying, “We need each other. I belong with you.” When Christine A. laid eyes on Ralph Lauren in his kennel, she immediately bonded with him. Ralph, a pit bull, was often overlooked. And even though Christine was originally looking for a different type of dog, her love of pit bulls and Ralph’s happy demeanor took over, and she brought him home.

Christine and her daughters quickly discovered what a loveable guy Ralph was. Though quiet, he was great with Christine’s children, loved long walks and hikes, and took a road trip with the family soon after he first came home in 2019. Christine, a vet tech, also wanted Ralph to give back to other needy dogs, so she signed him up as a blood donor. As a healthy two-year-old boy, Ralph was living his best life and saving lives, just like his mom.

But a few years later, Ralph lost the pep in his step. Christine's daughter noticed Ralph falling off the couch after one of their normal walks. Christine immediately thought it must be something neurological. Later that afternoon, he collapsed again and had a seizure. Christine immediately called the emergency veterinary clinic where she worked and told them they were on their way. After performing an ECG to check Ralph’s heart, the vet determined he had what’s known as a second-degree AV block, meaning the electrical signals that control his heartbeat were blocked, causing a dangerously slow heart rate. Ralph would need a pacemaker, which was an expensive treatment and not something Christine could readily afford. 

As an alternative, the cardiologist put Ralph on medication and restricted exercise to see how he would do. This meant he could not go on long walks and had to be in a low-stress environment. However, even mundane, everyday tasks such as taking a shower were enough to stress out Ralph and his heart. He was regularly fainting, and his heart was stopping. 

Being in the veterinary field, Christine better understood Ralph’s situation than most, which helped when explaining what was going on to her daughters. Even so, no one wants to think about deciding to put their pet down or have that difficult conversation. The next time she was at work, Christine discussed what was happening with her practice manager, who told her their facility had recently begun a partnership with Compassion Animal Project (CAP) and recommended she look into it as a resource. Christine applied, communicated regularly with CAP, and was approved in two days. The grant would be enough to cover the pacemaker and hospital stay, leaving Christine with a small, much more manageable amount to pay. And most importantly, Ralph was going to get the help he needed.

Christine is extremely grateful to have had CAP in her corner. “Ralph was put into our lives for a reason. Who knows if he would have gotten the help he needed with another owner, but we’re glad he could get it with us. We thank everyone at CAP from the bottom of our hearts – you gave us our dog back.”


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