New Doc Explores “Dog’s Best Friend”

Cindy, Brilliant Border Collie

Cindy, a brilliant border collie, came to us from my wife’s family farm.

Displaced by changing circumstance, her herding instincts, drive to please, boundless energy and loving personality made her a perfect companion. 

But of course the day arrived much too soon when she had to leave us. Her passing opened a hole in my heart that has never been filled. A hole so wide and deep that I’m afraid to try filling with another dog for fear of having it open even wider.

My most recent documentary film project “Dog’s Best Friend” is an unabashed attempt to live vicariously through others who have given their hearts to a dog. Those who welcome the responsibility of caring for the animal companion whose life has been intertwined with ours for millennia. 

Feeding, grooming, walking, training, snuggling and yes, picking up pooh all exchanged for pure fun, unconditional love, conversation, inspiration and a warm body to hold,.

If you’ve ever loved a dog, you’ll love “Dog’s Best Friend”

New documentary series from Dwight Storring

In this 5-part series viewers explore life-changing stories of five families through the eyes of their dogs. They meet an aging Great Dane, an athletic German Shorthaired Pointer, a wire-haired rescue dog, two French Bulldogs and a Bullmastiff as they navigate their changing family lives. These dogs have formed extraordinary bonds with their human companions. 

The series produced for Bell Media, launched on its Fibe TV1 community channel for Bell  subscribers in November 2020. 

A public premiere is scheduled for January 2021 – details to come. In the meantime, checkout these episode summaries.

The series was made with the generous support of Rode Microphones.

If you’ve ever loved a dog you will love “Dog’s Best Friend”:

Episode 1 – Teagan

Great Dane Teagan comforted her family, Carolyn and Kevin, as they struggled to start a family. After 6 years with no success, a newborn suddenly arrives in their lives and changes everything. Watch as Hunter becomes the centre of family life, and Teagan enters her senior years.

Episode 2 – Ramsey

Ramsey, an athletic 3-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, likes nothing better than diving, swimming, pulling or agility training. Fortunately his humans, Lindsy and Michael, are happy to run, swim and train right along side him. Ramsey fulfils Lindsy’s childhood dream of becoming an animal trainer, while offering Michael unquestioning companionship.

Episode 3 – Weechee

Weechee, a wiry-haired rescue dog, works alongside Josh in his psychotherapy practice, but Weechee’s most important work is at home where he’s best friend to Josh Jr. and Mike – adopted sons of Josh and husband Nick. Both boys are on the autism spectrum. Weechee supports them as they establish a new life. 

Episode 4 – Roxy (and Maple)

Just a few weeks after French Bulldog Roxy arrived in her new home, 11-year-old Abby was diagnosed with a life-threatening form of leukaemia. Through months of treatment and recovery, Roxy shares her love and companionship with the whole family. With Abby in a promising remission, Roxy is joined by another Frenchie, Maple. Together, they bring new hope and joy. 

Episode 5 – Buttercup

Bullmastiff Buttercup first arrived at Country Meadows at 8-weeks-old in the arms of retirement home manager Sal. Since then she has bonded with residents, bringing a sense of home and spreading her doggie joy as she makes her rounds of residents’ rooms and common areas. 

Thank you to
Rode Microphones for supporting this project.

Puttin’ on the dog … the Elder Dog that is

My mother loved animals and she loved looking after them.

When I was growing up we had cats, turtles, dogs and backyard-chickens. After my sibs and I left home, weekend visits included a tour of her menagerie: canaries, budgies, rabbits, and fish, but it was her dog that always gave her the most joy and companionship.

One of the hardest moments for her was when she had to give up her beloved Katie, a loving, well-mannered miniature poodle she had trained from puppyhood. A stroke and other health problem made it impossible for mom to care for Katie.

But my mom was lucky. Her brother willingly took Katie into his home where she was well cared for, but this came with a price. Her brother lived hours away and mom rarely got to see her longtime companion and I now believe suffered because of it. 

While researching my most recent documentary project – “Dog’s Best Friend”, a 5-part series for BellMedia’s FIBE TV1 community channel – it became clear that pet ownership improves your physical and mental health. 41% of Canadian household include at least one dog; 37% include at least one cat.

Research shows living with a dog (or cat) lowers your stress, reduces your risk of depression and increases your physical and social activity. 

Dogs rule.

I also came across Elder Dog Canada an organization that’s all about helping older people   – like my mom and older dogs like Katie – maintain their relationship as long as possible.. 

Elder Dog Canada was founded by Dr. Adra Cole. Its values and programming draw heavily on Dr. Cole’s work with research partner Dr. Maura McIntyre.

Excerpts from its website explain:

“Our mission at ElderDog is to honour and preserve the human-animal bond through care, companionship, commemoration, and education.”

“Their research projects – including: Living and Dying with Dignity; Putting Care on the Map: Portraits of Care and Caregiving across Canada; and The Care Café: Understanding Caregiving and Alzheimer Disease across Canada – formed, in part, a foundation for Ardra’s thinking about the crucial importance of honouring the animal-human bond in the lives of aging people.”

I also discovered there are chapters – or “pawds” as the organization calls them – across the country; all run by volunteers. And the pawds closest to me in Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Milton were holding a fall fashion show and fundraiser complete with doggie models at the Aberfoyle Community Centre.

I’m not one for dressing up dogs unless it’s for protection from the weather, but a whole event devoted to fashions for dogs, with the funds raised going to Elder Dog … how could I resist.

I packed up my gear and headed to Aberfoyle, a 30 minute drive from my house. The video above is what resulted. Please enjoy and consider supporting Elder Dog Canada.

Elder Dog website: http://www.elderdog.ca

Find your local Elder Dog Pawd: http://www.elderdog.ca/Pawds/FindaPawdClosetoYou.aspx

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Funded by BellMedia Fibe TV1: https://tv1.bellaliant.ca/fibetv1/

Sponsored by Rode Microphones: http://en.rode.com