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Guide Dogs for the Blind 081218

Aug 10, 2018|

AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS BENNINGER, CEO AND PRESIDENT OF GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND AND DON HARDY, A DOCUMENTARY FILM MAKER ABOUT THE TRAINING FOR GUIDE DOGS AND THE FILM MADE ABOUT A LITTER FROM BIRTH TO WORKING WITH THEIR HUMAN.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is metro scope and Entercom radio Portland public affairs program. Hungary blocks and documentary films are pretty hard this summer and on the show this time we've got a perfect combination a documentary film. About dogs. On the show this time I would like to welcome Chris may linger she's the CEO and president of guide dogs for the blind and Don hardy an Emmy award winning documentary filmmaker welcomed the show guys. Caring about it. So though. There's a collaboration here between the documentary filmmaker and guide dogs for the blind don't tell me what the U about the collaboration is. Well I think of so many films and definitely did Smart and not being real collaboration between. The other filmmakers and media the organization of the people at heart it. I wouldn't be my partner Damon on set out to make pick of the litter we really want to work well yeah. For the blind because it was an organization that we need you and we respect it. And to think they do fantastic work so I think adds we presented it it to Chris and her in on they were. And it immediately intrigued by the idea but maybe a little wary about. People we don't wander through their ultimate Cameron score. A few years on by. They they bought on the allowed a city that we really needed to tell this story and it's just been tremendous partners in putting the film together and now then enrolling in our. So his pick of the litter coming to theaters anytime soon. It around our area. Yeah absolutely. It is the film goes into theaters in New York you know. On August 31 and normally goes into. Corwin in the Bay Area on September 7 in and year. It roll out across the country throughout the month of September and right now it is scheduled to be an over. Forty to eighty around the country. All of the so great. Chris what is it like to how vote out the documentary made. You know arm were really really thrilled with the outcome of the documentary. I will say you know on is supported Don Donna date did an exceptional job. As we were. You're picking about this there wasn't a little bit of trepidation because. In order to really tell our story. And you really have to give filmmakers complete access did anything and everything that we do. Within guide and here you're turning you know the mission over to somebody else that Powell. And so there's all the little trepidation about that but I will say you know Donna David did an exceptional job. Really am staying true to the mission and really telling the guide dog story so we're really excited by the help. Don did you make most of the film here in the Portland carrier wasn't a throughout the the country at the other guide dogs for the blind organizations. I know don't always guide dogs for the blind and Nancy can't do one here in northern California and and are well aware. Where I'm very Aaron the other yen boring Oregon are burial. So we shot I hope they. A large percentage of it here at the main campus but. That is Paramount that timing flying into the Portland airport in shooting. You're boring and then. Some of the training with a one of the dog. Oh no spoilers so we want it which one boat and take it all the way to be paired with a visually where earth than a lot of the training happens great in court. So we we were. In downtown quite a bit. CU followed it could dogs from. From a very young age up until their hired is a correct. You know leeway there were when they were born. And you know 2000 it. And other shareholder. You know the idea that. We do we thought about doing a film about guidance device for many cared for until we sit up here. To really take it from the perspective of just one letter. And end. That was the idea that made them and it was a really interesting Iranian you realize. How much I dug. For the blind does preparing. Animals may then interview the meeting partners they go out there and beauty incredible. Potentially life saving and he is in service to there there are human partner so. Yeah we get documented from beginning to end in time. Took a roller coaster ride in. In elegant and uncertain that we spell as we were making it about doing what the outcome could be. And Oakland you're you know now in the theater movie and a lot of because there I had no idea it would happen are the sort happened. And yeah I would the real. There's a lot of nervous mom. When you say nervous moments in a roller coaster ride what what do you mean by that what was what was some of the most surprising things that happened. Well so many you'll break from the beginning you know the dog. It's sometimes they're moved to different. You know initially bear Cheney I think I'd let you know that there is for their first month of mine in an eagle and you work with these volunteers Coca period that neither the people. They you'll often hear you're walking on the street yet a guide dog and change. Days are volunteers they kick the dog into their homes and give them all of the basics here in some time. It's necessary to move the dog to a different. Puppy raiser in the that creates drama or are subject are our god another moving that somebody else than why are they move. And then certainly add the dog age and mature and the one that naked sometimes our career changed it or not. I got bit. Perfect complement to become a guy got so they'll be career change so there's there's drama there. And it certainly the ones that give to get out of it that it's cool to the final training. If the area greater. And some kind dogs don't performed so well on a given. And all of that now comes through in in the film along with the connection that are really made to their human that. Help them along the way that ultimately capture give them so that they can go out and be partnered with somebody in this hour. How what's the trailer for the film. Pick of the litter and it's it really kind of ex soldier out did exactly what you just said sometimes it's that sometimes it's a success and sometimes it doesn't. Yeah and then somebody. Oh look at that. I don't know why I disagree that they even from our standpoint it thank god. You know we're never certain who is gonna make it through his non and some of those. I think some of the rollercoaster ride aid you know even for was. Are any of these dogs gonna make it through and there was. Short period of time where we cut. I'm not certain yet hopeful and if that didn't read and haven't been here a couple. There was a lot of roller coaster. For awhile. We're talking today with Crispin Inger CEO and president of guide dogs for the blind and Don hardy a documentary filmmaker who's made a film called pick of the litter about guide dogs for the blind. Chris let me ask you what made it's so appealing to have to have a big documentary team common and shovel you basically for a couple of years. What was appealing to is it a couple things first of all. One of the things that. That I like to say is that I think I got for the blind is one of the best kept secrets around. We we don't want to be the best kept secret that. But you know effectively. There's a huge process and getting a dog you know all the way to guide. And most people really has no clear understanding of really what it takes. It tended to get a god. Two. To be able to guide to somebody and keep them safe. You know essentially. For her throughout their guiding life. And we felt that that was a story that was really important to tell also that people appreciate when they actually see. You know a guide dog. Everything that it doesn't take the get a god be guide and hopefully. I'm aren't inspired and will want to support the mission that we have this well. What is the whole process I know it's it's a little lengthy process obviously about two years but what's new what is the process of of starting a dog in in training. It is very lengthy and actually what I like to tell people is that the creation of a guide dog actually start with the DNA level. And so you know we have our own breeding colony. I love that we actually the employee. Aid Syria geneticists. So we actually started DNA level at which King and I what traits. Our week you know trying to read into our dogs to give them that better chance to make it although he threw his guide. We start by draining when the babies are three days old. With socializing with our Cutler's. So we have volunteers to coddle those babies and that's how wondered. Does that agree volunteer jobs. And for the first eight to ten weeks. Of we progressively. You know introduce those little. You know happy to you know a greater greater variety of things. That time period is critically important because dog have no fear and that first ten weeks of life. So the war that we can. Introduce them to and that first ten weeks. Then when they actually see that the real world then that fear reaction doesn't kick yet. There's you know twelve to. Fifteen months that our dogs spend with her puppy raisers. And all of that is to manage through the dry dog program. And then there's three months of training. With our instructors when they come back. To guide dogs for the blind and in order to be a guide dog instructor. It takes three years and the prime minister. In order to essentially be a qualified instructors so. It's not an easy process. And then once went to our dogs are ready each paired with their individual. Than. The person who's blind or visually impaired actually comes to campus live on campus with us for two weeks to train with their dock. It's a lengthy process. But it's so important to get very big part of the news these dogs are taking on a lot of responsibility. They are taking on a lot of responsibility and in fact stay. Literally our task where. I keep being their persons case. Through. Two out there guiding life. And that means actually having to disobey a command. Is the is forgiven me commands that would put their person or harms way could take a very special confident dog. To be able to these entered this this debate commands when they need to do that keep their person they. Guide dogs for the blind works for the particular breed of dog is that right. We do we work where we only work when Labrador Retriever is Golden Retriever and then we also have a cross. That we breed between the two who makes those jokes a special. What's great about those dogs are those toddler up about lab in Golden Retriever is. A number of things one is that they loved to work so accurately they are leaders so baby. Are always. You know wanting to diss something that is going to make their person happy. They are a dog that can focus on on the work. There also would dog that is not intimidating. Two others and that's important because one of the roles that they play is that there are also a bridge to community. For you know our clients who can't see so it's hard to make that connection when you can't see that your dog to help these. And another interesting little fact is to lab in golden can be taught to walk on the street on. Starting don't normally do that and. And those faces league how can you deny one of those faces. What they're so cute couple of pretty darn thing yet dawn tell me why you why did you guys choose guide dogs for the blind to make a documentary film about. Well. He united the organization we've known about for quite some time. And we had done. In our previous career Boehner not men and iron. We were. Journalist for NBC here in the Bay Area and we did a couple of short two or three minute heap its four. The news about guide dogs for the blind and had that kind of we're really enthralled with the organization that services that they. Offer and were big dog people ourselves than you know we it's hard. We really are in our careers yet to make documentary. That when we did we ended up leading television news and went out on our own to make so. It was and I did really well in the bowl until. I believe in January of 2015. Wouldn't we got talking about the idea that got away and the guy Dodd's idea came back. And that's where we or what would those clan here to make something. You about just one letter you know we didn't wanna do it up down in history of the organization kind of thing but it put it could cope with the number one litter puppies. It seemed like a very well mobile. Idea. It would. Inherently have drama and then you have. A litter of puppy that you would get to know. You routing or other favorites. And so if inmate then and then that's when we really we reached out crater and guide dog or would you would you letter fear. And that we're very fortunate that they that yeah. Syria food filming puppies that are just. Hours old right from the very very beginning what was the editing process like for you they're there must be some. Major footage of to have just puppies being in puppies. Yeah absolutely it is a lot about these here. Including. You know when they're when they're small and their their way to their puppy raisers and Iberia Beazer desperately tried to get that it. You go to the Paramount and you know rainstorm and in court remembered standing in the rain leaves. These. So relieved. If they have it and getting the dog on Zoellick they're different and you get the job where. You can take a walk and it can actually go to the bathroom whatever it had to be more regiment it you really have to build that into a guy Doug. And so we have a lot of what you and the other big big piece of footage that the the cutting room floor as when. When we got in Canada hard court training there have been canned meat they view. Ed when they're professional trainers. From guide dog. They train a dog really. So I had to develop a camera system. You'd be able to keep up with the and a lot of times you end up. Behind the god. And they get low angle trying to keep going down the road in lab when they walk typically under failed quite. Quick high in the air. You know what you're capturing and her arraignment. It's not suitable for most sought an. A lot of dog but I'm a Clinton or bush thought that success is there a blooper reel that's coming out with a fill. I'm holding it for ransom collected and it happened by. That's a very did in season. We're again don't work and we see the film it's coming to Portland though relatively soon. Yeah I'm September 7 in a BM Portland I'd leave it that the living room theater. And and that is to be there all week but you know I encourage people to go opening weekend. I believe we'll have them then I got out there and then. We spoke because of the boring campaign being so close. So I imagine people wanna get there there it income got a dog at the theater that would be good when you do that that opening weekend. And then it'll be on it and do you DOD they like iTunes and Amazon. And it places like that to. But we we really do encourage people to it in the theater there's a great VOA in watching that film with an audience. And then I think we'll be diminished a little. It's my wife cheating again they get to still be very enjoyable. But the theater and you end we've been touring with that and showing it at film oh for the past few months. It such that the Arctic home to watch we had people and experience the joy at that human canine connection. Within with a nice group around. Tell me about how it's been received at some of the festival you've been taken in around two. And boy it then. Quite something you know we we done several films now over the past decade and I've never had one that who received so warmly. And this and we. Played no. I don't know fifteen or when he does so we've won numerous audience award for best documentary. It it now going over the rhythm of playing it up to vote than in Italy and in the UK. And it did. I feel like we've really touched on something that people. Everybody loved dog. And to see that this relationship we have within our four legged friend period now. In a film like this. In an all the answers question that many of them have let me see. Guy dug out on the street. And we wonder you know an eagle putt then and I you do to have a lot of a warm loving family to go home you. Are or they just been working dock near each year that a lot. And I and I hope through our film. It and there's some of those questioned and and we had. More respects. For these amazing animal. What was different about making this particular documentary as opposed to other ones you've made what was what was the outstanding difference. Now all have big challenges I think we did our. It was really the unknown. You know media. And murdered documentary crew would have. Said. OK well let's follow but let's not shoot let you follow an entire process for a couple of years. Figure out exactly what how things go and then we'll film the next. Maybe another crew would have said let there were three littered the upbeat. See which one had them in any follow them on you're one of the better outcome the man may have run. We didn't do either. We hitched our wagon to beat by upbeat and side all the way through. And there was many twists and learned along the way. Though that that is unique in that we did. A hundred and when he did the shooting on the which is way above what we would normally it would always. Really prided themselves on being quite an economical with which you dig up but I would this one. Because it doesn't sound we just had to you know keep shooting and being what would happen. So those rove really unique challenges. Chris have you been able to get a sneak preview of the film yet. Oh yes I've I've seen it many times and in fact. I can. Support what Don was saying I've been to a number of the film festivals and it's a wonderful experience being in the audience. And hearing that foods and they. And the clap me and a little bit of the tears. It and I will say to you know it's it's it's really a feel good. I feel good they'll you know use you walk out you really feel good about everything that you see. So it's a fun experience and I would highly highly recommend that people go in the end it was great film and Donna dated did an exceptional. Jobs. What are you hoping Chris that people take away from the film. You know what I'm hoping is one is that people learn a little bit more about guide dogs for the blind. A little bit more about her mission they're inspired by what they see. The I understand that complications. Of the process. That we have. And that they and that says that they want to support our mission. We. All of our funding comes from our communities were completely supported. Our communities we received no government funding at all so. You know hopefully his people seated throughout the country they're inspired it and so once or. Where can people get more information and tell me more about the volunteering can make it volunteer information on your website is at me the best place to go. The best place is is to go to our web site we are web site are listing all locations. We're pick of the litter is playing. And almost on a daily basis were adding to that there's nothing exciting to see. But they're also is volunteer information as well on both of our campuses. This has won him boring one. You here in Denver hell California and there's also information about. Being a puppy raiser. And we have puppy raising group. In the ten western states it's far. He's the tax. Don't people urge the big theory yours well we're always looking for pokey Reese. Source we have a puppy raiser here at the radio station we always have. Cute little lab puppies running around the radio station at all and thanks to Barbie and are trying to determine doing that since it's so great it's. That if you're in a debate is terrible mood is going to barbs office and there's a puppy in their and it's just the most enjoyable thing. Now woke thank you to bar we totally appreciate her work. Well don't tell us one more time where we can see the film learn Portland. In Portland at the living room theater be it opens on September 7. And I believe tickets will go on sale pretty you know I expected have a pretty did turn out there. And yeah and today hope that it everybody can hear that didn't go go check it out because is it to fund itself. Chris now you've been through the process if Don were to come to you again and say he'll make another documentary will want to say. I would say absolutely cute I wouldn't say that any documentary. And I have a filmmaker but I would actually think that the dawn Dana yeah. Anytime anywhere. Of the work which he again. I can't wait to see the films can and it. Well thank you both for being oh so this time. Thank you very. We've been talking today with Chris vinegar CEO and president of guide dogs for the blind and documentary filmmaker Don Harding. Mitchell's go fees and Entercom radio Portland public affairs program. I'm Gary blocks and if you're involved with a non profit for the public affairs organization or if you have an ideal for an upcoming show I'd like to hear from you. There's a microscope PDX dot com and submit your ideas you can also go to the station's website and submit your information there. Thanks for listening to metros go and enjoy the rest of your weekend.