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.
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:
“Alas, the breed is short-lived - the only draw back “
They didn’t use to be.
In the late 90s, two particular, very popular bloodlines became *the* ‘in sires’ and DCM became endemic.
One ‘dog of death’ is syill being bred via ‘pupsicles’ despite the fact that he was homozygous for DCM and died of it.
The other two dogs are still siring pups, post mortem.
My last Dobermann Arthur, lived to be 14 and was never sick a day in his life.
His best buddy Merlin died 2 years before him and she was at least 4 when I got her and she lived another 8 or 9 years, too.
Hypothyroidism is now a given in the breed and you really should read Dr Jean Dodds book about the epidemic.
If you haven’t already, please have your dog tested for hypothyroidism and DCM.
Sadly, it’s up to those of us who love the breed *without* the titles who will have to fight to return them to their normal expected life spans.
It’s sad that dogs - especially larger breeds - don’t live long. Mostly because of exactly this issue.
Since our dogs tend to live maybe beyond just 10 years, show people (in particular) are in a rush to breed what they have (especially females). Regardless of what may be known about their genetic background, and without knowledge that the dog will have the condition in question himself. So our dogs are bred at the age of 2 or even less, and when those dogs become 6, they develop a bad condition. Now it’s KNOWN that those dogs are bad, but it’s already in the gene pool Even if they had the ethics to stop breeding the dogs who are sick, they’ve already started, so the genetic downturn continues.
At least horses and others live so much longer (even if they can be bred very early) that we can find out these problems faster. But really, any animal with a questionable genetic inheritance should not be bred.
Wonderful story! :)
A famous judge of Dobermanns was once asked if he’d use a particular stud, given the chance, knowing full well the dog was throwing DCM positive pups like mad and he said *yes*.
They only have to live long enough to get a title, hit the specialties, get ‘famous’ and start breeding.
The DCM test results are online for everyone to see and 99% of the positive dogs, if you trace their pedigree, have one or both of the studs I mentioned.
The owners of the stored ‘pupsicles’ know this and still send it out for $1000 a straw..and up.
For 37 years I’ve watched this great breed slide to hell.
It breaks my heart that I can not even slow down the descent.
[ironically, now they’re importing Euro Dobes to “fix” the health issues and are even considering breeding back in the old, once nearly extinct German Pinscher which was one of the foundation breeds]
Sure took ‘em long enough.
[and you *know* my opinion of the ‘modern’ GSD]
I was trying to be optimistic. :D
I’m sure many of these biggies in the game couldn’t care less about their dogs having the disease. They won’t tell anyone, either.
Sometimes I do think, in the German Shepherd Club, there are a few people who are trying to make a difference, publicly. But I think they are few and are overwhelmed by the majority status quo. Here’s an example.
The “GS Review” is often mostly just a gigantic set of advertizements for everything, including grandiose memorial ads for not-famous dogs. Not too long ago, someone on the staff - maybe the editor, maybe someone else - made the public suggestion, in writing, that maybe some of these memorials could include the cause of death. It may even have been stated that only those stating such would be printed, I don’t recall exactly.
In any case, here we are maybe 5 years later, and still I hardly ever see a reason for death. Lots of these dogs are awfully young (I mean 5 or so), which really makes you wonder what the heck went wrong.
The Review more boldly prints oddball non-AKC taboo subjects now (degenerative myelopathy, Schutzhund work, herding info), but I really don’t see serious action.
I suspect it’s again because the majority are not interested, only in using their studs regardless how sick they are.
You should look at a copy of The Doberman Digest.
There’s maybe 2-5 useful articles and 200 huge glossy pages of folks pimping their dogs.
I used to read it for the information.
Now it’s only good for artistic reference material.
I’ve bought old copies off of eBay.
Imagine my horror when the winter edition of 2000 was almost completely devoted to the bloodlines with the “killer genes”.
I just wanted to cry.
I dearly hope the minority somehow fix the GSD issues.
The breed is just too nice to continue on its present course.
On http://dobequest.org *some* people list their dog’s cause of death but not nearly enough.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.