Love Letters For Freedom Service Dogs

Shon reading his Love Letter to Rommy
Shon reading his Love Letter to Rommy

It was about a year ago that we first met Shon, and his amazing dog, Rommy. We were shooting a feature segment for NFL Network about Deckers Dogs - a foundation set up by Jets (and former Broncos) wide receiver Eric Decker and his wife Jessica to help fund the rescue, care, and training of service dogs for our military veterans returning home with disabilities.

This is all facilitated by a non-profit organization called Freedom Service Dogs of America.

I was so impressed by the work of Freedom Service Dogs. Not only do they find and custom train the dogs to meet the individual physical and emotional needs of their clients, but the dogs themselves are from shelters. They find that there are plenty of dogs out there eager to get a second chance, and a whole new career. Everybody wins.

Over the last year we stayed in touch, and had the honor of being chosen to produce a short fundraising film for them. They wanted something five to ten minutes long that could premier at Diamonds in the Ruff, their annual fundraising gala. We also wanted to reflect the fact that in addition to veterans, they also train dogs for people with disabilities of all kinds - including autism, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

So we decided to expand on Shon’s story a bit, and also feature Kalie - a woman born with spina bifida who benefits from the physical help and company of her awesome dog, Slider.

We’d seen another very moving video where a veteran read a letter to his service dog, and decided to expand on that by asking all of Freedom’s clients to write love letters to their dogs and send them in. The response was tremendous, and became the opening to our video. Then we bounced between Shon and Kalie’s stories as they read letters to their own dogs.

The resulting film - called Love Letters - premiered October 8th at the Infinity Park Event Center where Freedom Service dogs hosted this year’s Diamond in the Ruff fundraising event. It was great to see it on the big screen in front of such a large audience. By all counts, both the film and the fundraiser were a tremendous success.

Want to learn more about the incredible work of Freedom Service Dogs, and find out how you can help? Check out their WEBSITE for more information,  including donating and volunteering.

 

Update: Love Letters won a 2017 Telly Award!

Written by Thomas Miller, Copyright © 2016 Big PIctures Media, Inc