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Killingworth Deaf Dog Featured in Netflix Movie

Submitted by Connie Bombaci

(December 10, 2022) — On November 24, 2022, Netflix released its Christmas movie, The Noel Diary, starring Justin Hartley and Barett Doss. Rubbing paws with these notable personalities was Killingworth’s very own deaf dog, Elsie. Elsie made her movie debut on Thanksgiving by sitting patiently atop the town’s fire truck.

Bill Berloni, the renowned animal trainer, commissioned Elsie to be in the Netflix movie after auditioning her for the movie producers via video. She remained obedient and patient throughout the four-hour shoot on a hot June night as she sat atop the town’s fire truck. Berloni carefully guarded the pup’s welfare and ensured that she was well cared for and given proper breaks. During a set adjustment, Justin Hartley, unaware of her deafness, proclaimed to Barrett Doss, “Oh, my goodness! That dog understands sign language!”

Elsie is a member of the Bombaci Family and trained by Connie Bombaci. Elsie is the fourth deaf dog whom Connie has rescued and worked with to ensure good communication through American Sign Language and good manners in public. Bombaci believes that deaf dogs can do it all and make great family members when humans learn the right strategies necessary to live with any challenged individual. Community members have had many opportunities to interact with this special pup at book signings, events, presentations, and school appearances.

Netflix, continuing its trend of adapting best-sellers into movies, acquired the rights to Richard Paul Evans’s New York Times bestselling novel, The Noel Diary. The romantic holiday movie follows the best-selling author Jake Turner (Hartley) as he returns home during Christmas. After her passing, he is forced to manage his “estranged” mother’s estate. Unknowingly, while cleaning out his mother’s home, where he spent his childhood, he discovers a diary that holds secrets to his past. The journal also unlocks answers for Rachel (Doss), who is looking for her birth mother. The two start on a journey of uncovering their pasts and discovering love.

Next time you visit the Killingworth area, be on the lookout for Elsie. She might like to give you a paw shake.

Film Segment:

Film Photo provided by Netflix

Family photo provided by Connie Bombaci

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