The above trailer is just a taste of a delectable PBS primetime documentary premiering April 21, 2010 at 8pm ET/7pm CT (check local listings). Based on the book of the same name, Through a Dogs Eyes provides a beautiful behind-the-scenes look at what goes into creating a service dog, and the heartwarming and sometimes-challenging process of being matched with a service dog.
These dogs are miracles on four legs. They provide friendship, hope, and paws-on assistance to millions of Americans with disabilities. A fascinating New York Times story last week showed the stunning impact service dogs can have on battle-scarred soldiers returning from war. (It’s a must-read if you’re at all interested in how dogs have the power to heal.)
Through a Dog’s Eyes reveals the science behind the training that creates these miracles. The documentary examines the methods of Jennifer Arnold, founder of one of the nations largest service dog organizations, Canine Assistants. You can almost feel the camera watching her in awe. But even more riveting, the film follows the journey of a few recipients, whose lives are about to be forever changed by the human-animal bond. Let’s meet them:
Aiden, 6, 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 Nalas presence helps break down barriers and allows other children to feel more comfortable around Aiden? Viewers will be inspired by Aidens never-ending optimism and his zeal for life.
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, Brysons 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?
Twins, Chase & Connor, 6, 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?
Also featured is Destiny, 11, 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.
Be sure to tune in to be part of these inspiring journeys.