My dog Oreo and I had our first TV news appearance on Memorial Day, thanks to a new partnership between the BDN and WGME. We drove to Readfield, Maine, to meet up with a videographer and news director Kathleen Reynolds and create a segment on hiking with dogs. It went swimmingly, and I must admit, I was quite shocked.
You see, Oreo isn’t particularly good with strangers. He’s not yet 2 years old, and I adopted him from an animal shelter when he was 7 months old. He came from a “bad situation,” according to his former foster family. So his behavior around new people is something we’re constantly working on through training and public exposure. I told WGME this, but they wanted to give it a try. And it worked! Before I blabber on about the experience, here’s the segment, provided online by WGME (see below for more blabbering):
From my point of view, here’s how it went down.
When I showed up at the trailhead parking area, I left Oreo in Fred the Forester and approached the WGME crew to ask if I could lay down a few guidelines. Basically, I told them to ignore Oreo until he stopped barking. They agreed. So I let Oreo out of the car and after a few barks and sniffs, he calmed right down. In fact, they offered him treats, and he accepted! (Usually he doesn’t eat if he’s nervous.)
From that point on, he was a complete ham — rolling around, splashing in the water, running up to the camera.
I was extremely relieved, because if he had continued to act nervous, I would have scratched the whole thing and presented “plan B,” a segment on tick prevention. It’s not fair to push a dog too far, and I have a fairly good eye for his body language by now.
But no, he was perfectly fine. I think it had something to do with being in the woods. On a trail, Oreo is in his element. For him, it’s ultimate playtime. And since I film my hikes all the time, he’s used to having a camera in his face.
So, in the future, I plan to collaborate with WGME for other outdoorsy stories. We’ll meet at outdoor locations throughout the state, and I’ll often have Oreo as sidekick. (He may have been the reason I got the gig in the first place, after all.) And I’ll make sure to post the segments to my blog, just like this.