Berakah (Celhaus Berakah TDInc.)
Berakah, pronounced “ber ah KAH”, is the Hebrew word for “blessing.”
She is a registered therapy dog with Alliance of Therapy Dogs and just received her AKC Therapy Dog Excellent title which requires 200 verified therapy dog visits. She’s working on the next title, Therapy Dog Excellent, which requires 200 visits.
On May 5, 2021, I took Berakah to the Alzheimer’s Unit for our therapy dog visit. I’ve been warning everyone that she is failing and will soon retire from doing visits. After all, she is 12 ½, which is old for a GSD.
Due to the pandemic, we can’t go inside, so the residents talk to me through the picture window, mostly telling Joy, the staff member I’ve worked with for several years, what to ask and then she relays what I say to the group. They asked how many visits a therapy dog must do before it retires. I told them there is no limit, but that I had hoped that Berakah would get her 200-visit-award before she retired. They asked how many visits she had done, and I said this visit was #199. They got all excited, and asked where I planned to do visit #200. I said probably the school on Monday (Reading Dog), as that was her next scheduled visit, as long as she felt well. They really got excited then and told me THEY wanted to be visit #200, and would I please bring her the next day. What else could I say than “Sure!”
So on May 6th, I headed to Sheridan Manor so they could enjoy Berakah’s landmark #200 visit. Of course, she has done many more than 200, but for a couple of years, when I didn’t claim my breeding as a business, I didn’t keep a mileage log, so I don’t have proof for visits done by any of my dogs during that time. It was only when I heard that AKC had begun a title award program for therapy dogs that I decided I wanted to try for any rewards. They presented Berakah with a beautiful card.
Here she is just before her 11th birthday at a nursing home, a photo that the Activities Director took as we waited to go into one resident’s room as one of Berakah’s biggest fans followed us to have a few more seconds to pet her.
When I asked several of the kids why they preferred to cuddle with Berakah rather than read to her, they said they didn’t like the books the school provided. When I asked if they would read books if I wrote some about her, they enthusiastically agreed, so as of March 2020, I have written a series of books covering Berakah’s life from birth until now. Those books have generated a lot of interest outside of the Reading Dog circle and are available for purchase.
Doing a presentation about therapy dogs at the Sheridan County Museum
Receiving a nosework award
At a nosework seminar and nosework trial
Berakah and Spirit searching vehicles
See favorite photos of Berakah
See Berakah at 11 years 3 months
OFA Elbows: GS-EL25235F24-VPI
OFA Thyroid: GS-TH477/24F-VPI
OFA Degenerative Myelopathy: GS-DM467/17F-PI-CAR
TLI Test normal at 24 months (free of EPI – Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency)
Berakah received PennHip rating of 80th Percentile
CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) DNA Repository: GS-DNA-358/S
She began trialing in Nose Work in May 2014. She has her PT1, PT2, PT3, PT4 & PT5 titles (Pre-Test), which must be passed before competing for real titles. She also earned her UN1 title. To get the UN1, she had to get her Novice Exterior, Novice Interior, Novice Container and Novice Vehicle titles. She did all of this in May & June 2014, qualifying every time she competed. I’m very proud of my girl and how she has done in this brand-new competitive sport. UKC took over nosework competition from United Nosework. Since then she has earned Elite Exteriors, Elite Interiors, Master Containers and Master Vehicles titles, along with her overall Advanced & Master titles. On May 20, 2018 she was the second dog to receive the Marta’s Alert to IMHA” – Outstanding Professional Alert Award For her totally focused search and clear, sustained alerts independent of me (my dogs are trained to freeze and stare at the hide until I release them). Her cousin, Lively, won it the day before, becoming the first dog to receive the award. See Berakah at a nosework seminar in May 2019 (she appears in all 3 pages of photos of advanced dogs) and at our October 2019 nosework trial (again see all 3 pages).
Berakah began trialing in NADAC Agility May 2011. She LOVED competition and had her Novice Chances, Hoopers, Jumpers, Regular & Tunnelers titles. She needs only 1 more Q for her Outstanding Novice Regular title but a leg injury forced her retirement. She has her great-grandmother Glory’s sense of humor and often exercises it during a course, which gives us spectacular runs which may or may not qualify depending on what she does–but we always have fun.
Be sure to see Berakah’s page of agility competition and training photos! And nose work photos, too!!!
I’m now doing PennHip x-rays when my dogs are 1 year old as the preliminary certification of hips on my breeding prospects. The PennHip method, developed by veterinarians at the University of Pennsylvania vet school, tests joint laxity as an indicator and gives a reading for each hip. Those readings are then compared to the readings on all the dogs of that breed that PennHip has evaluated (updated every six months), and a percentile rating is assigned. Berakah’s rating means her hips are better than 80% of the GSD’s that have been evaluated by PennHip. If you’re unfamiliar with PennHip, you can learn more on their website, www.pennhip.org.
At 2 years of age, OFA did not like Berakah’s hips so she didn’t get her OFA number. No one understands why she could score so high on PennHip and then flunk OFA, but it reinforces my decision to use both evaluation systems in my effort to produce dogs with the best hips possible.
Berakah came down with pannus, a multi-recessive eye condition which is triggered by ultraviolet light (of which we have a lot in our sunny high altitudes), so I spayed her.
Temperament Test Results (She was Miss Red)