Second chance for 2 strays found near death; now they needs forever families

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Screenshot 2015-03-19 at 2.22.29 AM

As theGabby Dog sun inches over the equator and declares astronomical spring, The Gabby Dog has found an excuse to toast the Good Pet Samaritans.

Yes, we mean the humans who save little dogs and cats.

Two different Good Samaritans in the Greater Boston area went above and beyond  to save a stray kitten and a lost dog, respectively.

Here are the tales of Ralphie, the stray kitten, and Patrick, the lost dog, according to Rob Halpin, spokesman for MSPCA-Angell. Their predicaments are connected to the change of season, and the hope is, both pets will soon enjoy sunny days with new families.

But on a cold winter night in Dorchester, Mass., Ralphie, the kitten, almost died frozen to a metal fence.

Screenshot 2015-03-19 at 2.22.38 AMHis tiny paws were stuck like glue, and he couldn’t free himself. But Ralphie put up a howl. He kept up the racket until a Good Samaritan in a nearby apartment heard the cries and went out to investigate.

Ralphie’s new friend used a bucket of warm water to thaw the kitten’s paws and free him. The kitten didn’t run away. But Ralphie was a couple of degrees south of a Popsicle when he arrived at the emergency room in Jamaica Plain.

According to Halpin, Ralphie “was hypothermic when Angell’s Dr. Meagan Rock saw him that evening.”

The emergency vet team went to work. They used convection heat, blankets and warm water bottles to bring his temperature back to normal.

Dr. Rock also provided some pain meds to help with the sore paws and took him home, while he was on the mend, Halpin said.

“His swollen front paws are still painful,” Halpin said, “but she’s confident he’ll heal completely. The long-term plan is to find a family to adopt Ralphie.

Ralphie’s story is a winter’s tale, but Patrick, the puppy, ran afoul of a problem that crops up in spring and fall.

Patrick was extremely ill due to ingesting rat poison and required emergency veterinary care at Angell
Patrick was extremely ill due to ingesting rat poison and required emergency veterinary care at Angell

Back on March 7, Symone Gamble, of Brockton, Mass., noticed Patrick wandering outside her apartment complex. It was cold; she figured he was lost and decided to drive him over to Angell’s 24/7 Emergency & Critical Care Unit.

“He just looked like a lost dog and I worried about him spending the night outside, so I put him in the car and drove him to the hospital,” she said.

But when Dr. Roxanna Khorzad took a look at the little guy, she suspected the one-year old beagle mix had swallowed rat poison.

“By the time Patrick got to us he was dehydrated and minimally responsive,” she said.  “He was having difficulty breathing because he had started to bleed into his chest, which caused fluid to build up around his lungs—a classic sign of a dog that had gotten into rodenticide (rat poison).”

On his third day at the hospital Patrick was well enough to move to a larger dog run.
On his third day at the hospital Patrick was well enough to move to a larger dog run.

Halpin said the MSPCA does not believe Patrick was intentionally poisoned. Most likely, this is a case of a stray scarfing down food around an apartment complex.

“Angell receives upwards of 20 cases per month involving pets that have eaten rat poison,” Halpin said.  The cases peak during spring and fall – times when landlords and home owners are most concerned with rodent infestation.”

“Rat poison is designed to taste like food,” Dr. Khorzad said. “He likely ate it because he was hungry.”

And although his homeless situation led to that dietary indiscretion, Patrick, as a needy pet, came out ahead because he qualified for help from Spike’s Fund, which paid $2,000 for his medical care.

Like Ralphie, Patrick went into foster care to continue treatment, but he also will be ready for adoption. He needs a home “with an active owner who will take him or for long walks and hikes in the woods,” according to Alyssa Krieger, the MSPCA’s Boston adoption center manager.

“He’s sweet and incredibly cute,” she said.  “We’re confident a family or a single individual will claim him in no time.”

If you want to adopt Ralphie or Patrick, email the MSPCA at or to donate to Spike’s Fund click this link. And to find out more about the Pet Care Assistance Program go to MSPCA’s site.

Have a tip or story idea? E-mail Margo Ann Sullivan at and Follow The_Gabby_Dog on Twitter.

Margo Ann Sullivan
Margo Ann Sullivan

Margo Ann Sullivan is a pet columnist who has written for ZooToo, and numerous publications in New York and in New England. She’s had pets all her life, starting with a rescue collie named Lollypop. The Gabby Dog column chases the news that helps pets and people. It also chronicles the adventures of Gabby, the peke-a-poo, and Asia, the tabby cat, and their many pals, hitting the high spots between Providence, RI, and Manchester, NH.

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About Carol Robidoux 6139 Articles
Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!