August 29, 2018
I have been on many live TV shows with dogs. I know what happens – we have our usual players and an outline of a script with some ideas on questions to ask about the dog. The dog is the unknown factor of course and each time I go I pray they will behave. So far, they always do and often in beautiful ways.
Reality TV is not much different. We had an outlined script (meet the host, meet the home, meet the dogs, let home meet dogs, home picks out a dog and dog picks out a home). Best of all, we had 5 adorable unknown factors – 3 canines and 2 children – all ready to be their unique selves and do it on camera. And they were.
Working with the host, Phil Yoder, I was encouraged to do exactly what I do every week with meet and greet’s and to simply be myself. I already knew what I needed to know about the family from our pre-adoption research. Filming was set in their home which made it even more just like our adoption center experience. Everyone was relaxed and ready, even the dogs. The producers and camera crew could not have done more to make sure all of us, family and rescue and dogs, were comfortable and could act normally.
But the difference in reality TV and live TV is – you get do overs! So much of what you see in reality TV is real life, exactly as it happened but not necessarily exactly when it happened. For instance, when one of the kids said a great thing but the camera was not turned the right way, then we did a do over. The director, who seemed to have eyes in the back of his head and ears that could hear for blocks, would yell “say that again” or “do that again” and the cameras would close in, getting just the right shot. It’s fun to have do-overs.
Three doodles made the trek to New Jersey to see which would be the lucky one. They were three different, unique personalities. This could have been a nervous time for the dogs but because everyone was so relaxed and having such a good time, it wasn’t. It was relaxed. It was fun. We had a lot of laughter. And the dogs realized the humans were happy and they were happy. It’s how dogs are.
We introduced the canines one dog at a time, slow introductions to allow everyone a chance to look each other over.
Finnley was a favorite at first because of his no shedding coat and big, beautiful eyes. He had been in a home and we knew house training would go quickly which was a plus but he was also the most nervous and not so good on a leash.
Sally was the smallest and the beautiful color of Hershey’s dark chocolate. The kids and the parents were drawn to her at first simply because of her size but she showed them that dynamite can come in small packages.
Then we came to Chewy. The biggest and the shaggiest. The one with the greatest chance of shedding. The outside dog one with no experience in a home and no experience at all in a big city. Not the oldest. Not the youngest. Not the prettiest. Not already trained. But the spirit in Chewy, the gentle giant, was exactly what the kids were looking for. He sat patiently to be loved on. He gave kisses. He walked on a leash. He did not pull. And he put his big ole’ paws right between those two beautiful children and said “I am home.”
I know so many of our wonderful supporters love the adoption photos we post. They are the best. This is even better. If you’ve ever wanted to be on hand when the adoption magic happened, now you can. Tune in this coming Saturday at 8am EST to the CW channel in your area and watch Ready, Set, Pet!
After the cameras and the crew left, I got to spend one-on-one time with this wonderful family, and we did a first time adoption counseling session. We went over walking, crating, feeding, vetting, and training. Caring, compassionate, committed and eager to learn the nuances of good dog ownership, George and Farid have joined our Facebook group and are in every way a normal, adopting family with CPR. They came to us in a very unique way and that’s okay. I’ll take a referral of a good home in whatever way I can get it.
– Donna Ezzell, Director