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Behind the Scenes: Talent Hounds Part Three
The Talent Hounds’ crew was in Ajax at Who’s Walking Who for an Open Casting Call on December 2nd. They were on the hunt for cuties, tricksters, athletes, and rescue success stories to be featured in the upcoming documentary on The Pet Network. Dog training studio Who’s Walking Who is owned and operated by “Top Dog” Gillian Ridgeway, a very well-respected trainer with many years’ experience.
Quite a number of talented dogs and pet parents braved the cold and drizzling rain to come out and strut their stuff including a couple that had driven all the way from Toronto to bring the gorgeous Airedale Sylvie – an absolute charm dressed for success in an eye-catching red bandanna. Also present were the handsome pups Shelby (a Novia Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever) and Stella (an Australian Cattle Dog) to which the camera crew did their best Marlon Brando impressions to. The cutesy pup Twizzler was quite the scrumptious treat. Her owner, explained that she has two other dogs at home: a senior who might not live much longer and a middle-aged shy and anxious dog. It’s expected that the anxious dog will not be able to handle either the loss of its long-time companion or the sudden appearance of a “replacement-friend” in the form of a rambunctious puppy; so Twizzler was adopted to help smooth that transition now and has been a welcome addition to the family.
One special guy, Arthur, was born without eyes. Margaret, of Helping Homeless Pets, explained that Arthur’s breeder originally took him to a vet to be euthanized at the age of nine weeks after the poor adorable dachshund failed to be sold. The vet refused to kill the otherwise healthy animal, got custody of the puppy and called rescue. Margaret, now the puppy’s foster mom, named the pup after her father, a man that had always had poor eyesight and was blind for the last 30 years of his life – but like Arthur, was “never handicapped.” Of course, there are some adaptations for Arthur, but Margaret never gives him special treatment. Arthur is house-trained has finished puppy preschool and will be doing regular obedience classes in the New Year, freely interacting with the other pups, running, wrestling, playing with them like any other dog.
Three more heartwarming rescue success stories showed up to show off their amazing talents for the cameras: a trio of Labrador Retrievers with mom Karen. While Karen and her dogs auditioned for the camera, Gillian explained how much the dogs had become transformed in the patient lady’s hand. Read Big Al, Little Al and Buddy’s inspiring stories here.
Of course, the professionally trained actors Noah and Yardley, both belonging to Gillian Ridgeway herself, stole the show when it was their turns to audition. Gillian has trained several of her dogs as actors for film, TV and commercials – including Levi who starred in many commercials over the years. To learn more about the documentary airing on The Pet Network early 2013 visit Talenthounds.ca.
On Sunday November 25, the Talent Hounds crew visited Canine Campus in Markham for one of its first live event Casting Calls. The production team was on location scouting out cuties, tricksters and entertainers to appear in the doc. Their hearts were stolen by the rescues and performers present that night for the Chihuahua & Small Dog Meet Up and Holiday Photo Booth Fundraiser (hosted by Canine Campus and Canadian Chihuahua Rescue and Transport).
Canadian Chihuahua Rescue and Transport (CCRT) rescues, fosters and provides necessary vet care for Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes across Canada. CCRT has re-homed close to 700 dogs since its inception. One CCRT member who was present that day for both the auditions and the fundraiser told us how she has personally fostered more than 20 Chihuahuas over the years. This demonstrated the pressing need for both the foster and adopting families of homeless Chihuahuas in Canada. (To learn more about the work of the CCRT, read Christine’s story here).
Talent Hounds social media manager Carrie became particularly smitten with a cute little Chi named Rudi, a CCRT rescue fostered by Canine Campus owner Lucinda Glenny (below). Lucinda, who has over twenty-five years’ experience breeding and training dogs, has a reputation for helping dogs with aggression and anxiety issues. Much to the delight of the entire crew and the CCRT, Rudi, also known as Mr. Personality, found his forever home that very afternoon.
The Talent Hounds team were also delighted by the appearance of some beautiful bigger dogs with big talents including: Sophia the Black Lab, Bella the Boston Terrier, Piper the Georgian Bay Sporting Dog, Sunshine the Purple Poodle, Callie the Standard Poodle and Zoe the Whippet.
Sophia, an Ultamutts star famous for her compendium of over a hundred tricks, came all the way from London, Ontario, to audition with trainer Melissa Millett of In Dogs We Trust. As you can see in this video, Sophia has some extraordinary abilities including reading and doing math. Some say that Sophia is even psychic! Talent Hounds was shocked to learn that this lovely lab had been slated to be put down as a pup and waited “behind bars” for over one year, before being discovered and rescued by Melissa. Melissa and Sophia were recently featured in Rick Mercer Report segment on Woofstock along with Bella (below), whom theTalent Hounds crew also had the privilege of filming at Canine Campus.
On Friday, November 16th, the Talent Hounds crew were on location at the Red Barn Event Centre in Barrie, Ontario shooting their upcoming documentary: an engaging one-hour film that traces the history of dogs and their changing roles and talents. Talent Hounds‘ first official shoot at Red Barn did not disappoint, proving to be a goldmine of fantastic auditions, expert interviews and stories that warmed the heart.
Brenda and her dog Indy drove five hours all the way from the Ottawa region with friends and pooch pals for visiting-trainer Cassandra Hartman’s Canine Musical Freestyle and Intro to Treibball Workshops — and to audition for Talent Hounds Casting Call. When asked what motivated this crew and canine caravan to travel all this way, Brenda immediately quipped: “We came for a very simple reason: to have fun with our dogs. That is what it is all about for us. Having fun with our dogs.” And the Freestyle and Treibball sure looked fun. The talented group impressed the crew with their amazing moves and training.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. Hartman, owner and head trainer of Cassandra’s Canines in Caledonia, Ontario, takes the value of the human/canine bond through fun and fitness very seriously, advocating owner health and well-being as part of the overall training routine with their dogs.
“Take Zumba classes, take yoga,” she advised, “Exercise in a way that makes you think about your body and your lines so that when you train with your dog, you are aware of your body in relationship to theirs.” This great advice gently prompted clients to see that in order to take the best care of their dogs, they need to take care of themselves. However, Cassandra’s final message was simply “Have FUN with your dogs!” prompting Brenda to nudge her canine companion Indy in affirmation: “That’s what I keep saying!”
Over the next few weeks, the Talent Hounds producers will be sniffing out a range of talents, dog breeds and training methods through an open Casting Call whereby proud pet parents and trainers can submit photos or videos of their dogs online or attend one of the live Casting Call auditions (listed in the Events section of Talent Hounds Web site). CLICK LINK for more information on Talent Hounds and the Talent Hounds Casting Call.
Susan Nation of Hop To It Productions and Judith Keenan of BookShorts Inc. are pleased to announce the start of production on the Talent Hounds transmedia project, supported by national broadcaster The Pet Network.
The engaging one-hour Talent Hounds television documentary traces the history and humanization of dogs and their changing roles and talents from wolves to wonder-kids. The website offers entertainment, networking and know-how for the community of proud dog parents. www.talenthounds.ca
Over the next few months, the Talent Hounds Producers will sniff out a range of talents, dog breeds and training methods. They will meet entertainers, fashionistas, cuties, heroes, hunters, sled dogs, herding dogs, working dogs, service dogs, guide dogs, therapy dogs, athletes, performers and dogs from rescues and shelters. And, of course, the people whose lives these talented hounds enrich.
Casting calls for talented dogs to appear in Talent Hounds will start November 9, 2012
Proud dog parents can sign up to showcase their dogs on talenthounds.ca.
Talent Hounds will be part of the strong new 2013 programming line-up from national specialty television channel The Pet Network. The Pet Network is committed to telling stories that foster compassion, care and a deeper understanding between people and their pets, so the Talent Hounds project is a great fit.
Talent Hounds is produced by Hop To It Productions and Judith Keenan of BookShorts Inc. with the assistance of The Canada Media Fund and the Canadian Media Production Association Transmedia Production Acceleration Program.
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