Millions of Americans with disabilities rely on hope to get them through each day; hope for a breakthrough; hope for gaining or reclaiming independence; and hope for a friend. Each year, hundreds of them find hope at a handful of organizations across the country that train assistance dogs for people with disabilities.
The new primetime PBS documentary, “Through a Dog’s Eyes,” follows the life-changing journey of recipients as they go through the heartwarming and sometimes difficult process of receiving and being matched with a service dog. Jennifer Arnold, founder of one of the nation’s largest service dog organizations, Canine Assistants, shows her unique teaching methods and lets viewers have an intimate look at the canine-recipient matching process. Based on the book of the same name by Jennifer Arnold,
“Through a Dog’s Eyes,” premiering April 21, 2010 at 8 PM ET/7 PM CT (check local listings), will have you seeing dogs in a whole new light. The documentary is narrated by Neil Patrick Harris and funded by Milk-Bone® brand.
“Through a Dog’s Eyes” will explore the science behind Jennifer Arnold’s teaching methods and follow the stories of recipients as their lives begin to change with the help of some very special dogs. Produced by tpt National Productions, in association with Partisan Pictures, “Through a Dog’s Eyes” offers inspiring, hopeful stories that show how dogs can affect everyone’s life.
“This film will change the way people think about their own dogs,” said Naomi S. Boak, Executive Producer, who also produced the critically acclaimed and Prime time Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary “The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer’s.” “Through a Dog’s Eyes” shows the importance of the human-canine bond and how, when fostered, that bond can grow into a beautiful, life-changing relationship.”
“Through a Dog’s Eyes” is an optimistic, buoyant documentary that follows the journey that a handful of recipients go through as they meet their new best friend—a Canine Assistants dog.
• Bryson Casey, 30, served in Iraq as a captain with the National Guard. Upon his return home to Kansas City, Mo., Bryson suffered a debilitating injury in a car accident, and is now a quadriplegic. Will Wagner, Bryson’s Canine Assistants dog, be up to the task of providing him with companionship, as well as helping to navigate the simple tasks of daily life?
• Aiden, 6, lives in Denver, Colo. Aiden was born with cerebral palsy and spends most of his time in a wheelchair. Aiden hopes that his dog Nala will help him at school with routine tasks such as picking up pencils, as well as offer silent support in social situations. Will Nala’s presence helps break down barriers and allows other children to feel more comfortable around Aiden? Viewers will be inspired by Aiden’s never-ending optimism and his zeal for life.
• Destiny, 11, lives in La Vergne, Tenn. Destiny and her dog, Salsa, immediately fell in love with each other during Canine Assistants’ training camp in November. Suffering from a rare form of epilepsy, Destiny has constant low-level seizures around the clock. Will Salsa have the ability to alert Destiny of impending seizures, providing comfort not just to Destiny, but to her family? Her parents are hoping to offer their daughter a measure of freedom she has never before experienced.
• Twins, Chase and Connor, 6, live in Largo, Fla. The twins both have a form of cerebral palsy known as spastic diplegia, which affects the muscles of the lower body. Both boys hope their Canine Assistants dogs will help with everyday tasks and be companions. But will Chase realize his dream of one day walking with the support of his dog Oakley?
“Through a Dog’s Eyes” also follows the drama as recipients are matched with their canine companions and as they learn how to work with their new partners. It’s an inspiring family journey. Arnold describes her teaching methods and discusses the life-changing impact these dogs have on recipients. In addition, the world’s foremost dog expert, Dr. Ádám Miklósi, head of the Department of Ethology at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, and founder of the Family Dog Research Project, takes a role in “Through a Dog’s Eyes” by analyzing the organization’s training methods and discussing how science supports the training philosophy.
“Milk-Bone® is proud to sponsor ‘Through a Dog’s Eyes,'” said Christie Fleming, Vice President of Marketing, Del Monte Foods. “As a long-time supporter of Canine Assistants, we hope this documentary will create greater understanding of assistance dogs and the ways they can change the lives of people with disabilities.”
Jennifer Arnold’s teaching methods will be the subject of a memoir, slated to be released in early September. The book, also titled “Through a Dog’s Eyes,” is being published by Spiegel & Grau, a division of Random House.
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