Gleanna founded Rhodes Collar in large part because of her story –
Helen, my grandmother opened the door to scoot the dog out. I was afraid he would run across the road and get hit by a car. “If he doesn’t come back, he can’t be my dog, Gleannie,” she explained. Polio had left her with only one functional leg.
Braces and crutches prevented her from safely handling a dog on a leash. Every aspect of her life was in order to accommodate her condition. This orderliness established rules that all of her dogs easily understood and never hesitated to follow.
Riff Raff appeared in my life when I was 10. In a flash this dog became my world. He walked me across the college campus to school each morning and home in the afternoon. We taught each other tricks and performed them for the students.
Mitsu, my silver-grey pinto Akita arrived on Valentine’s Day in my eighteenth year. Appropriately, she taught me about my heart and how to follow it. At that time, I was searching for the right structure in my life and so was Mitsu. She needed formal training. True to the Zen koan, Alison Smith, my teacher, appeared. She was orderly, like my grandmother and that was the foundation of her method with dogs.
“Form follows function, Gleannie,” my mum often said. Training dogs, teaching families, and working as a Veterinary Technician, engaged my heart and opened doors.
It was at the veterinary hospital that I was first asked to work on commercials with dogs and cats. I remember being in the way back of a station wagon headed for the Caldor’s photo studio with eight Golden retriever puppies crawling all over me. I could not believe it was real. Photo studio to commercial studio to movie set, working with dogs (and cats), I still ask myself, “Is this real?”
On the go with dogs, on the trails, at the beach, in the village, being with, living with, and learning from, dogs is where I am myself. Whatever is right or wrong in the world, in my life, there is never a moment without comfort and love when I am with dogs.