Lucky Doberman was rescued by a 40-year fan of the breed

DOBE MAN A

September 26, 1990|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Evening Sun Staff

ALLEN HOLMES is a ''Dobe'' person. He has owne Doberman pinschers for at least 40 years and is an active advocate of proper training and use of the dog as well as the education for its care.

In 1969, Holmes was one of the founders and is now president of the Metropolitan Baltimore Doberman Pinscher Club. He is a trainer and vice president of the Oriole Training Club. He was one of the original Pets on Wheels volunteers when it began eight years ago and now serves as chairman of its board and is the pet observer for potential volunteers who will take their pets to visit nursing home residents.

Holmes says he has ''never found a breed he likes as well as the Doberman. They are fun to live with, loving, affectionate and smart. They are so intelligent, they're never boring.''

He and his wife, Bettie, live in Columbia and have been married for 42 years. Age 63, he is retired as management analyst with the State Department of Budget and Fiscal planning. Bettie works at Homewood Hospital Center. The couple have two grown children, four grandchildren and two dogs. They are also caring for a Doberman named Ruxton, which Holmes recently rescued.

When Ruxton appeared in a Ruxton neighborhood last month and ran away from and barked at everyone who tried to rescue her, Holmes agreed to help. He caught Ruxton with a humane trap.

Holmes came and stood by her cage, and Ruxton barked. He sat with her by the cage, and she barked. He offered her food. She barked, but she took it and in the end Holmes' confident and persistence manner won her over. He reached in the cage, slipped a leash around her neck and took her home and gave her a bath.

''I can do anything with her because she trusts me,'' he says. ''She's about 2, has had some obedience training. But she had very rough callouses on her elbows and body, which meant she probably had to lie on a very hard surface most of the time. Way too thin at 45 pounds when she arrived, she gained 10 pounds with us,'' he adds.

Ruxton is loving but scared of strangers, so she barks. Holmes says she is not aggressive and does not bite, but she is scared. ''The only owner we will let her go to is one that is very special and offers a permanent home. We have some candidates,'' he says.

Ruxton gets along well with the couple's two dogs, which include 5-year-old Mirage, who is obedience trained and working on her Utility Dog degree.

And, there is ''our little mite, Missy, who is a designer dog,'' says Holmes, describing a designer dog as a combination of styles. He picked up Missy on a street in Charles Village 11 years ago. ''She's typical terrier temperament, independent, hard-headed but very sweet.

''Interestingly,'' says Holmes, ''the Doberman was to be like a terrier. The original breeder, Louis Doberman, a German postman who wanted a dog to protect him on his rounds, wanted a dog with a terrier temperament but five times larger.

''The Doberman is independent and thinks for himself,'' he says. ''When he is loved and trained properly, he is more responsive than independent.''

Holmes laments the abuse and overbreeding of dogs that is occurring in some sections of Baltimore. ''We saw such bad things happening to dogs when we lived in the inner city. We formed a group of concerned people to address the abuse and over-breedings, but our problem was not being able to reach the people most responsible,'' he says. ''There is a hard core of those who will never stop abusing animals. It's like prostitution and drugs, it seems to be here to stay.

''However, in the past 10 years dogs have gained more value because they are used for much-needed help. They are pet therapists, guides for the blind, hearing assistants and can pick up and wait on the physically disabled person plus being visitors to the elderly,'' he says.

Every Wednesday evening from mid-September to mid-June, Holmes trains for the Oriole Training Club at Maryvale School on Falls Road.

On the fourth Monday of every month, he says, visitors and new members are welcome to the Doberman Pinscher Club's meeting at 8 p.m. in the Church Lane Elementary School in Randallstown. The club is holding a specialty match on Nov. 16 from 5 p.m. to around 9 at the Howard County Fairgrounds. For details of the clubs or meetings, call Allen Holmes at 381-1412.

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