Just before I went to New York to start filming the new season of It's Me or the Dog, I had the great pleasure of being invited to Little Rock, Arkansas to meet the legendary Rin Tin Tin. What an honor! Rin and I have both recently come on board as National Ambassadors for the American Humane Association, so I'll be seeing more of him at various upcoming events, including a special tribute gala to the amazing service dogs who helped so many in the days after 9/11 (search and rescue, therapy dogs, etc). Read more about this special event here.
Like most people, I knew that Rin Tin Tin rose to fame thanks to his prolific work in Hollywood during the first half of the 20th century, but I wasn't fully aware of the amazing story about how he came to the US as a rescued, shellshocked pup from France during World War I. I also didn't know that the current and previous Rin Tin Tins (there have been 12 so far) have a history as service dogs tending to children in need.
But the main reason for my trip to Little Rock was not to meet this Rin Tin Tin, but rather the future heir to the famous name. The current Rin (pictured here) is a beautiful dog and a great ambassador for the German Shepherd breed. The quality and integrity of this line of dogs is a testament to what reputable breeding should be. As most of you know, I'm a passionate advocate for rescuing animals from shelters, and am firmly against puppy mills, backyard breeders and anyone who breeds dogs with no regard for health, temperament and the animals' well-being. But the family who is responsible for the Rin Tin Tin line are great examples of how to do it right, and they've produced very happy, healthy, well-adjusted dogs that all end up in loving forever homes. You can see archived video of the most recent litter here.
So I've been asked to work with and be responsible for the training of the future Rin Tin Tin, who is now a 9-week old puppy destined for further fame. I spent some quality time reconnecting with the lovely puppy and his owner, setting up overall training protocols so that he can be as successful as possible. I'll post more about that process, my time working with this lovely little chap and the line's fascinating personal history later.
For now, though, congratulations to Chivon Winter, the winner of the recent contest who correctly guessed the identity of my new little friend and was chosen at random from the many correct entries!
Stay tuned for more info about my work with Rin Tin Tin!