Lights, Camera, Action….

At Denver Dog Works we primarily train working dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, and obedience.  This week I received a phone call and an invitation IF I could produce one or two dogs who could handle a photo shoot/commercial production.  I immediately thought of a wonderful Blue Merle Australian Shepherd that I’ve had the pleasure to train off and on for two and a half years.  His name is Buck and he is owned by a client I’ve come to call my friend, Julie Guarino.  When I notified Julie and asked if Buck could join us she was more than happy to help us out.

As soon as I hung up with Julie, I attempted to contact one of my favorite little Westie owners Noel Nail.  You see Arthur, I thought would be perfect, sitting on the lap of the star.  Turned out he nearly stole the heart of our star.

I received this invitation on Monday afternoon, the shoot was today (Thursday)!  That didn’t give any of us much time to prepare.  The scripts and scenarios weren’t received until the eve before the shoot.  We had nothing to worry about, Arthur and Buck are spectacular dogs who will do anything for their “Moms”.

The star of the shoot was Ms. Betty White. She flew into Denver just for this event.  Ms. White is a spokesperson for The Morris Animal Foundation and they are sponsoring a walk to benefit canine cancer research.  Orvis was also on set promoting the event but also promoting a contest where a dog can win a chance to be the cover dog.  Ms. White was assisting with this campaign as well.

Ms. White arrived and entered the room she immediately focused in on Buck and stopped listening to everyone else and just gave one hundred percent of her energy and attention to Buck.  It was refreshing.

Buck and Arthur were joined by two beautiful Irish Setters who represent the Morris Animal Foundation.  The shoot began and the hustle and bustle began.  Arthur and Buck, as well as, the Setters remained calm and professional. Ms White insisted that every scenario included one of the dogs.

One scenario asked Ms. White to do a mock interview sitting alone in a chair while speaking about Morris Animal Foundation.  She said, “This is about animals, it seems silly not to have one in the shot.”  She promptly went over to Noel and asked if she could hold Arthur on her lap but before Noel could say “of course!”  she scooped him up and went to sit down.  Arthur was still wearing his service dog vest and collar.  So Noel removed his vest and carried Arthur over to Ms. White and sat him in her lap.  I then was instructed to remove his collar.  Ms. White ensured that Noel be as close as possible, without being the shot, so that Arthur could continue to do his job as a service dog.  During the shot on camera Ms. White likes to ad-lib a bit, “This is my new friend Arthur and he’s a service dog!” What an honor!  I had never felt so appreciated and proud of my career then in that very moment.   During a photo shoot each scene is filmed two, three, sometimes five times.  Not because of mistakes but because of different camera angles and voice inflections.  At one point, the director moved in between Ms. White, Arthur, and Noel making it so Arthur couldn’t see Noel at all. Ms. White quickly but politely interrupted him and said, “Could you please move over here so Arthur can see his Mommy.”  I smiled from ear to ear.

Ms. White was very professional.  She was a joy to watch while she worked.  She is amazing because while she’s working the entire time her concern and focus was on the four dogs in the room.  Not once was she concerned with herself.  She refused drinks being offered to her graciously.  It was all about the dogs.

Buck was picked to be the Orvis representative.  He got to lay on the couch while Ms. White stroked his head and shoulders and kissed his nose.  She told Buck that he could be on the cover of the Orvis catalog, all they had to do was send in his picture.  Buck did his part with Ms. White like a gentleman.  Then half the room left.  Buck got to stick around with Julie and I and the crew doing his “goofy” commands.  You see we had to portray Buck not sitting still while he was being photographed by Ms. White.  Buck is well trained in obedience and works as a Therapy dog.  He did everything Julie and I asked of him!  It was great!

The representative from Orvis, James Hathaway, was very pleased with Buck.  He mentioned Buck would get the huge dog bed he brought in but everyone got busy and I’m still not sure where that dog bed ended up.  That’s alright Buck learned how TO get up on the couch this week!

Denver Dog Works, Julie Guarino, Buck, Noel Nail, Arthur and I had a wonderful time and we’d like to thank Michael Robert of De Ja vu Media Inc. for having faith in us and what we could do!


Michele Forto is the lead trainer for Denver Dog Works and the co-host for Dog Works Radio Show.

3 Responses to Lights, Camera, Action….

  1. Hey Michele,

    Did you know that that commercial came to you because Michael Robert attends my church. He called me and asked for ideas for the commercial. I told him to call you!
    Your welcome!

    Darlene Winslet

  2. […] Lights, Camera, Action…. ( […]

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