Local dog competes for doggie rehab nonprofit

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DILLSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Canine Spa isn’t just a spa for dogs, it is also training an aspiring champion.

“It’s so good for therapy dogs, and dogs that are rehabilitating, that they have easy access, in and out, and then we have fun dogs that come here, where they just come in the wintertime to exercise,” owner Gary Reihart said.

Owner of the spa’s daycare, Kevin Landis, took a particular liking to a dog three years ago, Gabe. “I’ve worked with a lot of dogs over the years, and Gabe is probably the smartest dog I’ve ever worked with,” he said.

The doggie daycare owner is also a dog trainer. “I’ve been doing dock diving for quite a few years and I can tell when I meet a dog if they have the potential to be a good competitor,” Landis said.

Landis started training Gabe, starting with the basics. “When he started here, he did not know how to swim.”

The doggo does more than just swimming now. “Gabe competed in extreme vertical, and at world’s, he got his personal best. He went in with his personal best being a 7’2,” and he ended up getting a 7’8,” so we were totally ecstatic about that,” Gabe’s owner, Tina Strausbaugh said.

The 4-year-old boxer bullmastiff rescue competed at the Dock Dogs World Championship, a canine aquatics competition at the end of October in Iowa.

“There was a technical problem with the sound system, which kind of spooked him in speed retrieve, but we still placed in the top six in the world,” Landis said.

Strausbaugh said his competitiveness is infectious. “The love of the sport and his determination to just do it, he just loves to compete,” she said.

Gabe’s competition days are far from over and Strausbaugh says she wants to give back; every time Gabe competes, his prize money helps others.

“It’s a 501(c)(3) foundation. It’s called Team Gabe Doggie Rehab Foundation and we help people that can’t afford to have their dogs come here and do water therapy,” Strausbaugh said.

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