The subject of protection dogs are the basis for a reality show pilot Top Dogg To The Rescue that was previewed at the Porter Sanford Center June 26th. However, this isn't your ordinary reality show preview due to the production value in its presentation. At first you think you’re watching a documentary, and to its credit, it was a documentary of sorts.
The pilot plot is taken from a true-life story about a single woman named Sharon played by Sharon Conley [“The Hunger Games” “The Blind Side”]. and her young daughter Sydney, played by Jasmin Alyse. A tale of love gone wrong is all too familiar these days unfortunately. Sharon finds a man she thinks is a good companion but in short time he proves to have psychotic tendencies and starts showing aggressive behavior against her and Sydney. She is torn because she is more protective toward Sydney and can’t seem to find a solution for her problem because the man could become even more threatening than he already has been. Someone suggested getting a dog to protect them. Not knowing about protection dogs, Sharon’s even more fearful the dog could be an aggressive problem toward Sydney. Enter Top Dogg Blake Rashad to the rescue.
What goes a long way toward helping the mother, daughter and the viewing audience is the fact that Blake takes the time to explain what a protection dog is and how he is trained in comparison to a watchdog. There is footage of this training which is inserted at various points in Sharon’s storyline. The footage also includes the interaction with the trainers Dez and Kobi. The pilot also introduces his radio talk show staff co-host Chasse James, attorney Claudine, Jay and Kathleen. With this understanding of how protection dogs work better than a watch dog when it comes to family, there’s the “a-ha” moment when Sharon and Sydney accept a German Shepherd as the dog who subsequently becomes a member of the family.
Blake Rashad, David Martin Conley and Tzarr are three names not totally unfamiliar to the public. For the uninitiated, Blake Rashad – aka Top Dogg – is in real life an ex-military/police dog trainer who also owns a successful protection dog training facility. He is also known as a K9 Psychiatrist and helps other through his internet radio talk show aptly known as “You Talk I Bark.” His iconic symbol of the show is a Giant Schnauzer named Tzarr. A really beautiful and obedient canine, he is the ultimate representation of Blake. This is not my first time with Tzarr because he is a seasoned actor in his own right and has done other movies. Seeing Tzarr interact with the public and taking his commands very seriously, I can see how Tzarr is successfully trained.
David Martin Conley is the movie’s Director, and is otherwise known as a writer and director of “Raising Izzie” on the UPTV Network. This seasoned veteran’s talent was valuable in the effort to get this pilot made. The marriage of these three main people makes the possibility for the television show to become a reality.
Briefly, I reiterate that this is based upon true story, so the mother and daughter names were changed due to the serious nature of the subject. However, Blake does stress that a protection dog differs from a watch dog because of the way they’re trained. During the Q&A session afterward, he explained that protection dogs are more ingrained into a family’s lifestyle, often becoming a member of the family. One audience member asked how protection dogs work with autistic children. He welcomed the question, pointing out they are and can be trained to be more sensitive to their language because of the way autism affects a child or person. Another audience member said she felt more at ease after viewing the pilot since she was really terrified of dogs.
Unlike other dog-themed reality shows I’ve seen, this pilot offers the ability to reach the family on a more cerebral level. If you don’t know much about protection dogs, this series offers not only to be educational but entertaining at the same time.
For more information on Top Dogg or the “You Talk I Bark” radio talk show, go to www.topdoggk9academy.com or call 855-777-9311.
The High Museum presents an interactive installation entitled Mi Casa, Your Casa. It features 36 three-dimensional open frames in the shape of a house. Come be a part of this exhibit which features all the comforts of home. July 18 through November 2, 2014