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Bryson Casey with his dog Wagner during a training session at Canine Assistants. Photo courtesy of David Scott.
Bryson Casey with his dog Wagner during a training session at Canine Assistants. Photo courtesy of David Scott.

When I was a child, I loved all of the movies and television shows featuring animals – “Benji,” “The Shaggy DA,” “That Darn Cat,” and “Scooby Doo Where Are You!” – just to name a few. I was also fortunate to have several pets growing up, including dogs, cats and a few rabbits along the way. They were my playmates and confidantes, and I desperately wanted them to behave the way their media counterparts did. With every make-believe English class that I conducted for them in the basement of our house, I imagined how great it would be if they could truly understand what I was saying and speak themselves.

Although those childhood dreams never came true, as an adult, I’ve learned that even though they may not “speak” in the same way that we do, the emotional connections that animals have with humans are truly amazing.

On Wednesday, October 12, GPB presents a night of television programs that explore the role of dogs in society and their relationships with humans, including a special featuring Georgia’s nationally renown Canine Assistants organization.

I’ll be watching, and it will be required viewing for my three cats as they are still attempting to adjust to their new roommate, a German Shepard mix named Summer.

Here’s the lineup:

Nature: Dogs That Changed The World “Dogs by Design” 8 PM
In this special, Nature follows the evolutionary journey of dogs from the emergence of the wolf in the wild thousands of years ago to the explosion of the basic working dog types into the roughly 400 breeds known today. The program also explores concerns about today’s competitive breeding and its effect on dogs’ health and well-being.

NOVA “Dogs Decoded” 9 PM
Dogs have been domesticated for longer than any other animal on the planet, and now, new research is revealing what dog lovers have suspected all along: Dogs have an uncanny ability to read and respond to human emotions. In fact, new research is showing that humans, in turn, respond to dogs with the same hormone responsible for bonding mothers to their babies.

Through A Dog’s Eyes, 10 PM
Through a Dog’s Eyes follows the life-changing journey of recipients as they go through the process of being matched with a service dog at Canine Assistants, one of the nation’s largest service dog organizations. Located in Milton, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta, Canine Assistants was founded by Jennifer Arnold. During the program, Arnold shares her unique teaching methods and gives viewers an intimate look at the canine-recipient matching process. Based on her book “Through A Dog’s Eyes,” the program explores the science behind Arnold’s teaching methods and followed the stories of recipients.

In this clip from Through a Dogs Eyes, Dr. Adam Miklosi provides tips for communicating with your dog.

Watch the full episode. See more Through a Dogs Eyes.

I hope you enjoy the programming tonight. Stay tuned next week for more Tails of the City, where you’ll be hearing from other pet lovers on the GPB staff.