Thursday, April 22, 2010

Through a Dog's Eyes - PBS Documentary

"Can a 60 or 80 pound dog really change someone's life? Yes!"

So said Jennifer Arnold, the founder of Canine Assistants, in the PBS documentary Through a Dog's Eyes, and we whole-heartedly agree.

Through a Dog's Eyes aired last night, and it was such a heart-warming documentary about service dogs and the special bond they have with their partners. It told the story of Canine Assistants, a service dog organization in Georgia. The film focused on Canine Assistants' training camp, which is where people meet and choose their service dog and then go through two weeks of training.

We will never get tired of seeing bonds form between the partners and their dogs! It was wonderful to see the relationships and deep bonds forming as each person worked with their dog at the training camp.

We also got to see people's live change because of their service dog. The dog of a young girl who has epilepsy alerted her and her parents that she was going to have a seizure in the middle of the night. A young boy with cerebral palsy may be able to walk without a walker, with the assistance of his service dog.

"They have hope," said Jennifer Arnold, "and the hope comes from these dogs."

What did you think of Through a Dog's Eyes? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.


  1. We really enjoyed the PBS documentary! It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between their program and ours!

  2. I've had people offer suggestions when it comes to training dogs, like why not use a spiked collar to stop the leash pulling or just knee the dog in the chest to stop jumping. Other than expressing my opinion that those techniques are just wrong - causing pain will probably stop the behavior, but would you do that to your child - I hadn't come up with a definitive reason why you just can't do that with service dogs. Soooo, I really liked the explanation that they offered on the show: training techniques based on dominance simply won't work when the future human partner cannot ever physically dominate the dog due to disabilities.

  3. We loved the show. Gracie (our 8 year old with PDD-NOS) had us Tivo is and watches it almost everyday. We seem to keep finding hurdles at each turn in getting our SSD Application in. Maybe it's because Grace is seems to typical.

    I just loved Jennifer's statement about how at first she thought is was all about the tricks she could teach the dogs to do for people but she realized it starts with the person to dog relationship..... and they want to do things because of the relationship.

  4. Although Canine Assistants is not a member of Assistance Dogs international, and they use different training and matching methods than we do, they still place great importance on the relationship between partner and dog. When we match people to their new service dog, we consider both the person's and the dog's preferences. When the person and dog choose each other, the bond between them will grow much stronger.