Ralph Hampton Fisher
September 20, 2000 — September 24, 2009
Ralph was a gorgeous Labrador Retriever who didn’t know he was a dog. He slept with my husband and I every single night. During the summers when we walked on the boardwalk at the shore he was unlike any other dog in that he chose to sit on the boardwalk benches like a man reading a newspaper and just waited for the attention that he invariably got.
At home he was never more than a few feet away from our children or us. He adored us and we adored him. He gave kisses constantly and begged for food, and never talked back, unlike our children sometimes did.
Another one of our funniest memories were our regular visits to the veterinarian. Ralph was smart enough to be apprehensive and unlike the little brave dogs, this tall 107 lbs Labrador would climb up on my husband’s lap until he was called back to the exam room.
He was such a gift to us and he was such a comfort for us, as our twin children just left for college and we were empty nesters, but we still had our Ralph. Unexpectedly though he had a nose bleed one night soon after our kids left for college and within 24 hrs he was gone. He started bleeding late one night from one nostril. I called our veterinarians emergency service number. He phoned back, and said it sounded like a nasal tumor. He said we could see him first thing in the morning or if we wanted could take him to a hospital about an hour away. We opted to take him to our vet first thing in the morning. My husband and I kept him calm through the night as he bled and sneezed quite a bit. Our downstairs looked like a war zone. Miraculously the bleeding stopped early in the morning making the commute to the veterinarians an easy one.
Our veterinarian wanted us to leave him there overnight so he could observe him, take blood, examine him. It was tough leaving him behind, but he was familiar with the doctor and we just had to do it. We left him off at 8:00 am and the doctor called me at around 3:00 PM to tell me that his hemoglobin level was really low …the number was 13 and when it reaches 10, most dogs succumb. He said he started bleeding from his rectum and that he was gravely ill. He would need a blood transfusion if there was any hope for him…but the nearest hospital was over an hour away and he didn’t think he would be able to make it and if he did, more than likely it wouldn’t help.
I called my husband and met him at the veterinarian office to say our final good-byes. It was heart wrenching…surreal…I couldn’t believe how quickly he deteriorated. He was so weak and could barely open his eyes…but he knew we were there. We kissed and hugged him and told him how much we loved him and to go nite-nite…and he did. He died knowing we were with him and that we loved him.
It is all very frustrating, not really knowing what happened. The doctor strongly feels it was a nasal tumor, but the amount of bleeding was disturbing. We know our veterinarian did the best he could, it’s just so hard to understand.
We are crushed and an absolute mess. We loved him more than any dog we’ve ever had. He was beyond special. He was a true gift to us. My husband always said if there is a heaven, and he could only have one dog there with him…it would have been his childhood dog…until Ralph came into his life. So, hopefully he’ll get to see Ralph again.
I personally think I will see Ralph again…it just has to be. In the meantime, I will cherish the many pictures and memories of that gorgeous, handsome, noble boy of mine. I love you Ralph.
— Cynthia and Michael Fisher and Family