I met Rexann Dubiel about two years ago at a sustainable holiday craft fair. Her spunkiness and cheer so appropriate for that time of year instantly drew me to the little booth in the shade. A few others had already been escaping the heat and steadily perused through her things; a spread of photo albums, coloring books and pastel clothing neatly dressed the table.
We got to talking about the humid weather, and aside from my digressed train of thought as to what an interesting name she had, I couldn't help but notice what Rexann had been cradling the entire time. A stuffed doll – to be more specific, a small waving dog with oversized eyes and ears – nicely conformed to her hip as she held it to one side, her other hand gesturing as she spoke to me.
The journalist in me had to ask, "What's that doll about?"
Everything BUT a dog-eat-dog world for Rex the Surf Dog and his owner Rexann, shown here at a North Shore literacy fundraiser.
Come to find out, she too had some journalism background, so she gladly painted a story for me with her words – the complete history of Rex the Surf Dog. As an avid traveler and teacher at Sunset Elementary, she put the two together by turning her adventures abroad into a learning opportunity for her students. That's when Rex the Surf Dog was born. A homage to her late wired hair fox terrier named Honey, the stuffed dog made the perfect traveling companion and even came with a blog she created, so students could keep up with his worldly treks.
He's put on a lot of mileage for a little guy who never has to pay for a plane ticket. How lucky! Since we last met, he's been across the Continental United States, Mongolia, Tokyo, Tuscany, Paris, London, England, Korea, the Galapagos Islands, Devon, Puerto Rico… the list goes on and on. Oh, and one more place: to the top of Mauna Kea.
Happy Fourth! Rex in Rockport, MA just before the reading of the Declaration of Independence.
His heart-emblazoned chest, big smile and bold graphics have also made him somewhat of a celebrity. He and Rexann have been published in "National Geographic" and featured on television and in various newspapers and magazines. Most recently, Rexann received the Classroom SuperHero award, as part of the National Education Association recognizing outstanding teachers nationwide.
He 'ain't no Snoop Dogg, but he sure enjoys hanging with other celebs. World champion surfer Kelly Slater and some big name filmmakers took time to snap a pic with Rex the Surf Dog. And not to mention the many others who live the surfer's lifestyle, such as artists, athletes and surfboard shapers from around the world. He's also big on reading. Last year, Rex hosted a movie showing for surf movie "Fiberglass and Megapixels," which raised $6,000 for a summer literacy program that Rexann created called "Right on Reader."
(Left) Surf tips from world champion surfer Kelly Slater earlier this year in Long Beach, NY. (Right) Getting directions from NYPD officers last summer.
Right on is right! Just a few years ago, the pair had just begun their journey together, and today, they've surpassed everyone's expectations – going above and beyond to see the world and to share a little piece of Hawai‘i with others. You can get your chance to meet Rex the Surf Dog and his owner Rexann at the Hale‘iwa Farmers Market every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. But hurry! They just may be taking off for another adventure!
Photo Credit: Rexann Dubiel
REX THE SURF DOG / www.rexthesurfdog.com / Contact Rexann Dubiel at firstname.lastname@example.org
November 23rd, 2011