Skip to comments.16-year-old and her dog spread smiles
Posted on 03/16/2012 8:13:09 AM PDT by Altariel
SYLACAUGA Ellie is a girl on the town.
The four-year-old Doberman Pincher is a frequent visitor at schools, nursing homes, libraries and more, spreading smiles wherever she goes.
She has a lot of friends, said 16-year-old Rebekah Rawlinson, Ellies owner and dedicated trainer.
Along with more than 30 competition ribbons and six titles, Ellie is also a certified therapy dog.
Rebekah, who has been training Ellie for three years, said they got the idea to get her certified after visiting a nursing home.
My great aunt was in the nursing home, and she loved dogs so we wanted to take Ellie to see her, she said. We were at the nursing home one day, and somebody suggested we get insurance on Ellie, so we started looking at different organizations.
She soon located Therapy Dogs International, a national register of dogs and handlers certified to visit public groups for therapy purposes.
Since becoming certified, Ellie has made an impact during her many public visits. Jo Rawlinson, Rebekahs mother, said people react strongly to Ellie.
People warm up to her really fast, Jo said. She has all the patience in the world, and if you put her in a crowded room, she will find the person who needs her attention.
This week, Ellie visited a kindergarten class at Indian Valley Elementary School, where Rebekah said the children were enthusiastic about petting and playing with her.
Its really neat to see how people react to her, she said. They just run right up.
Rebekah works with Talladega-based dog trainer Julie Moon. Jo credits Moon for encouraging Rebekah to compete in American Kennel Club events.
When we began training, our end result we hoped for was for Ellie to be a therapy dog, but it has turned into much more than that, Jo said.
Ellie recently earned the title of RAE, or rally advanced excellent, which means Rebekah is competing in the professional ranks. Moon said Rebekahs level of achievement is unusual for a teenager.
RAE is quite a title for an adult, much less a 16-year-old, Moon said. Normally teenagers arent the best trainers, but Rebekah is really determined and works well with Ellie.
Moon said dog training requires a consistent commitment of 15-30 minutes a day.
It doesnt sound like much time, but if it were easy, everyone would have a trained dog, Moon said. There are so many more things to do with your time now, but Rebekah really made a commitment to it. Whatever she puts her mind to, she achieves.
Rebekah said being the youngest competitor in many of her events is fun.
A lot of people at the competitions are very encouraging, she said. They love that Im doing it, because not many young people are interested in dog training, and they dont want the sport to die out.
Rebekah and Ellie have attended competitions in Atlanta, Birmingham, Montgomery and Nashville, and Rebekah is considering moving to the national level with the Doberman Nationals in September.
Dog training is just the beginning of her hobbies, however. Rebekah is involved in multiple school organizations as well as tennis and piano.
As to how she finds the time for dog training, Rebekah said Ellie gives her no choice.
She gets mad if I dont pay her enough attention, Rebekah said. Her favorite way to get back at me is to hide my shoes.
Rebekah, who hopes to make dog training a lifelong hobby, said she and Ellie have no intention of stopping their visits or competitions any time soon.
I just really enjoy it, she said. Weve had a lot of experiences we wouldnt have had without Ellie.
Hopefully Salamander is budgeting for it right now...
They’ll want steak dinners for all their guests, toilet water in every glass, and professional belly rubbers on hand.
There are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners.
But a cat is a cat is a cat, no matter what, good or bad.
Hopefully he’s not expecting you to foot the bill for his partying. ;-)
Toilet water!! The drink of choice for my mutts!!!
“There are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners.”
No, THAT is nuts. I’m tired of this liberal-like namby-pamby “it’s all the human’s fault”, evidenced on many dog-attack threads here. Sorry, they are autonomous animals - just like the cats you hate - who have minds of their own. Sometimes, those minds are poor. Sometimes, they are born bad (hence why we try to pick a good pup out of a litter, rather than just any pup will do). Sometimes, they acquire a disease or condition that renders them bad.
Sometimes it’s the owner, but it is NOT always the human’s fault. Not every animal who acts poorly in the shelter was “abused” by some human. Sometimes they’re abandoned exactly because they have that poor character.
And if it is the owner’s fault - to what extent do you consider “abuse”? I could say people who treat their dogs like “humans” and kootchie-koo them and spoil them (rotten) are pushing the dog to rotteness, and thus it’s abuse. Or is it just when the dog is blatantly kicked around?
Dogs are not automatons, robots who are always exactly so. They are living beings with very different personalities, as different as their exteriors have come to be.
“never once themselves, nor any of their freinds or family been to the hospital due to any incident with their dogs, but they and one friend and one relative have been to the emergency room on a number of occasions, as a result fo angry and vicious scratches from their cats”
The anecdote issue.
That’s nice. And the conclusion absurd.
Take it up with the CDC. Never mind - how many times do you see cat attacks in the news?
The rare situations you cynically envision ... it would be a shame if that sort of feeling deprived people of the love, joy and companionship provided by dogs.
I would not have a Pit Bull, but you are way over the top on other dogs.
LOL! Hey, I like ferrets, too.
I’m not trying to be cynical but ensure people know dogs must be treated with respect and remember that many incidents DO happen. Too many on here are simply lovey-dovey without considering how many dogs DO have behavior problems (and it really doesn’t matter why). That’s not good for people, either.
My toddler son has automatically learned to love dogs - my German Shepherd has been watching him since he was born - but I also must teach him respect for them (including her) so he doesn’t run afoul of a lesser dog. Early on I fear I let him do too much with her, and he thinks he can do almost anything with any dog, which I have to correct, because it just isn’t the case much of the time. As he’s getting older he’s learning a bit more how to approach them.
I love dogs, and most are fine with strangers even, especially treated with respect (I take my dog for a bath every week and get to pet many dogs at the groomer’s). But I have no illusions that they’ll always be trustworthy. And I tire of the cat-hatred that goes on, too.
If that is not a , “Why for you want to make me look funny?” look, I don’t know what is, lol.
What a sweet, sweet girl to let you ; ) I would be watching your back for a few days though... : }
Seriously; as always; thanks for the awesome big dog pics.
Blessings to you and yours, both two and 4 legged varieties :)
Only if I can have Odhinn for an assistant.
(I promise he wouldn’t eat *too* many chihuahuas. :-) )
“You’ve embarrassed me enough. Can I have my bacon now, please?”
LOL. Just freaking LOL!
We had two Dobermans who were with Pets on Wheels and they were naturals at the nursing home. Alas, the breed is short-lived - the only draw back
Fido, the lovable comfort dog:
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