Thursday, August 23, 2012

Television Debut

Last night the phone rang close to 9pm as I was upstairs with my face under the sink. By the time I got down the stairs my son was greeting me at the bottom rambling so fast I could barely make out the sentence. Something about "Television, Haddie, Tomorrow, Call her back".

Our 4-H Leader quickly picked up my return call to chat about a fantastic opportunity for my son and Haddie. If we were available the next morning (today), they could be on the local television magazine style of show which airs weekdays in our State. We'd have to trek into the big city, have Haddie groomed and ready to go by 9am.

Our local county fair opened today, and my son and Haddie will be participating with his 4-H group this Saturday and Sunday. The television show was featuring a segment about 4-H in general, and the Fair, and wanted kids from different groups to be interviewed with their animal in the studio.
Our Leader was currently at the Fair getting everything prepped and ready, along with other clubs and leaders doing the same thing, when word was passed around about this last minute opportunity. She thought of my son and Haddie and gave us a call. Between the Rooster crowing in the background, and dogs participating in a chorus of barks, the Leader and I exchanged all the necessary information before I hung up the phone.

Turning to my son who was literally bouncing from one couch to the next, I asked jokingly, "Do you want to be on television with Haddie?!"  Of course his answer was obvious.
Our late summer bedtime routine quickly got squashed as we went zooming through the house to make sure his 4-H Tshirt was washed and ironed, that clothes were picked out for my girl (who was going to sit in the audience with dad), Haddie was dumped in the shower for a fresh scrub (which I was planning to do on Friday morning, rather than late Wednesday bedtime hours), and our CCI Fanny Pack of treats and essentials were ready to go.

By 7:30am this morning we were hitting the road to fight commuter traffic to the city, looking good, and ready for some camera time. Once parked we saw a group of 4-H kiddos walking across the busy street carrying their Live Animal Crates to the television station. We knew we were at the right location even though the building was very scarcely marked.

I think the thing that surprised me the most was that the building was highly guarded by security. You could not get into the building without security, you can not walk through the building without an escort, and you can not leave the building without an escort. It kinda felt like we were in a highly secured Government building than a television station.

Wandering the halls this way and that, we landed in the Green Room (which was painted tan). There we sat, my son, Haddie, and I, for almost two hours before my son and pup hit the stage. In the meantime, my husband and daughter joined the audience for the taping of the entire show. I opted to stay in the Green Room and Backstage to support my son and Haddie that way. It proved to be the perfect fit and combo, because our family got to experience both sides of the industry.

While in the Green Room the 4-H kids chatted about their animals, and the Fair. It was very interesting. In the mix was a Pygmy Goat, a cat, a Sheltie, two Guinea Pigs, and a French Lop Bunny. Haddie was in sensory overload. Oh my goodness!! Fair will be so interesting this weekend.
Haddie held her manners, and it helped that we purposefully sat in one corner of the room to not freak out the other animals, and to not stir up any unnecessary puppy playfulness around the Bunny hopping on the floor, and Guinea Pigs on towels just a few steps away from Haddie. Notice her expressions in these upcoming photos (wink).
We succeeded in setting Haddie up for success as she was awesome!!! I, on the other hand, was going crazy inside hoping to just get through the Green Room experience to backstage with out a lunge from Haddie in the wrong direction or too close for comfort status. I felt like everyone's prized animals were in my care not to get trampled, or roughed up by my sweet puppy that could turn (you never know!). It turned to be the longest two hours - Ha!
Haddie finally settled after forty minutes of up and down and circles and wanting. so. badly. to. see. those. critters. on. the. floor. right. over. there! She finally fell asleep. And then it was time for an escort outside to the bathroom, and then back again to the Green Room for more curiosity. This time, however, Haddie remembered all the scents and settled much more quickly back to a nap.
Show Time!! We walked a short distance to the backstage area. The kids were given one run-through of walking out and stopping on their imaginary line. Other than that, there was no rehearsal for what question would be asked of them because it was time to air! 
My son was asked about the Service Dog program and he spoke into the microphone with confidence (he was so calm!) while the Host admired Haddie. My two looked fabulous together and I was so happy! I was watching/videotaping the backstage monitor, while our family's television was taping the show back home. Haddie perked her ears all cute like Labs do into the audience and camera (I think she spotted my girl and hubby), and maintained her heel and sit for the most part. 
Haddie did break her sit command once, but it actually fit in perfectly because the Host was reading the back of Haddie's Vest and it looked like Haddie was showing it off as she stood and slightly turned into my son to give a more side view of her beautiful vest. It was awesome - I like to think that Haddie knew exactly what she was doing. Then, she sat back down and held it until it was time to greet the audience (when the segment was over).

Back to the Green Room where we waited to finish the taping of the show. We were all so thrilled and excited that all the animals performed so well together - standing in a line side by side - all pros. It really shows how well the animals are socialized, respected, cared for, and handled by their owners. It was fantastic!

Such an exciting day - especially since it "all worked" so wonderfully for my son and Haddie. A memory they will have forever. First television experience together. Can't get much better than that!


  1. Wow! That's fantastic! Great job you guys! Haddie is too cute

  2. That's so awesome! :)
    So I was wondering, do you think you and your family will raise again once Haddie goes back for AT?

  3. Bethany - yes, we will raise again when Haddie returns to AT. I am not sure if we will do it immediately, but we will start all over again sometime in 2013.

  4. How awesome!!! And what great CCI ambassadors all of you are! :-)

  5. Oh that is so great! How awesome. What a fantastic opportunity and of course your son and Haddie ROCKED it!