Ten years ago at Christmas, Gracie Dix and her brother, Nate, were gifted with a Maltipoo. His name? Snowball. (Get it? The holidays.) Two years ago, the Hollow Way family got Sandy, a Goldendoodle.

So inspired by the dogs, Gracie, a sophomore at the June Shelton School, now paints portraits of her pets and is a dog training assistant. She volunteers at the Dog Ranch Rescue, a partnership at Nathan Carlisle, where Mr. Dix works, to help find homes for dogs.

“I learned that working with a lot of dogs at once is similar to working with a team,” she says. “If all the dogs don’t get along, it’s harder for the leader to get the dogs to do what they’re supposed to.”

Gracie won the Bronze Presidential Service Award at Shelton last year. Coming up: Dog Ranch Rescue’s second Villagefest Gala — Pawsitively Unforgettable Oct. 27.

Snowball’s likes: sleeping in Gracie’s bed

Snowball’s challenges: chewing and “he toots a lot.”

Sandy’s likes: tug of war, strawberries, birds and Snowball’s ear

Sandy’s challenge: removing the stuffing from toys

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