Get out the Dog-Gone Vote For Rhine!

I know its election season but here’s a vote that will get your tail wagging!

Our own amazing Dr. Ellen Kaitz and her service/hearing dog Rhine have been nominated for the American Kennel Associations national Hero Dog Honor. Dr. Kaitz is one of our amazing Rehabilitative Medicine physicians here at Nationwide Children’s. Due to a spinal cord injury she requires a wheelchair for mobility and in recent years lost her hearing; but nothing slows down Dr. Kaitz! She is an amazing role model to her young patients who are often learning to cope with these same issues. Rhine is Dr. Kaitz’s constant companion and not only helps her owner but all the patients in their care. Rhine is extremely talented as he is one of the rare dogs who is trained as both a hearing and service dog.

I asked Dr. Kaitz to tell me a little bit about Rhine and their special relationship – Here’s what she shared…

“Rhine is officially known as my hearing dog, but she’s so much more than that! As a quadriplegic, I rely on her to pick up the things I drop close doors and cabinets, pick up things I drop, undress me, pick up things I drop, get my shoes, and, did I mention pick up the (many!) things I drop? Rhine was named for the region in Germany because of its beauty. During my weekly five hour medication infusions, Rhine is a warm and snuggly comfort. Being Deaf, I rely on Rhine to alert me to knocking on doors, alarms, timers, and people calling my name. She has been known to stop in the middle of a sound alert to pick up something I dropped, and without missing a beat, continues to lead me to the source of the sound. She gives me confidence to live alone and to function in public. She is also the best social icebreaker at any gathering. As if that weren’t enough, Rhine goes to work with me, where she wears yet another hat. I am a pediatric rehabilitation doctor, and I care for children with physical disabilities. Rhine functions as an invaluable diagnostic tool by playing with children while I assess their mobility and strength. She is a reward after painful procedures, and a comfort in the frightening hospital environment. Rhine has allowed me to live independently, confidently, and safely, and helps me show children with disabilities like mine what their true potential is. Rhine is truly my Hero.”

Please help Rhine by clicking on this link and submitting your vote (and tell your friends to vote too)

Voting ends on June 30th and you can cast a ballot every 24 hours. Rhine was in 4th place last time we checked so we need a big push to the finish!

Donna Teach
Donna Teach is Chief Marketing & Communication Officer at Nationwide Children's. Her job is to help the hospital feel "connected" – Connected to each other, connected to our patients and their families, referring physicians, the community and the world.

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