When I decided to begin offering a service that gave the general public an option to have a short documentary done of their pets, told through their human(s), I knew my immediate clients would most likely come from friends and family. So far, that assumption has been true.
When the opportunity presented itself to do a PETUMENTARY about Jean and her dog Wendy, I was honored because I’ve known Jean the longest of all those I’ve helped immortalize through one of these short films, and for all Jean has done in my home state of Ohio in regards to laws called breed specific legislation that negatively impact families with dogs like my Preston. But, I was also a little apprehensive and a bit unsure how I’d be able to pull it off in the way their story deserves to be told.
You see – Wendy passed away in February of 2021, and Jean expressed to me before she made the purchase that she doesn’t have but a couple videos of Wendy. Being a filmmaker, I generally prefer video to use as b-roll footage, because you can use the audio from those personal videos and loop them in to help drive home the bond between human and pet. But, I accepted that challenge.
I met Jean very early on in my advocacy of dogs – about a year and a half after I began my first documentary film, “Guilty Til Proven Innocent“, which Jean was interviewed multiple times for. The first time I sat down with Jean was on June 5, 2010 in Toledo, Ohio – the northwest region of the state, for the city’s annual parade. This would be the first parade “pit bull” dogs would be allowed to walk in since the late 1980s when former county dog warden, Tom Skeldon, took the position as the head of the Lucas County Dog Warden’s Office.
I used parts of that interview with Jean over 12 years ago for her PETUMENTARY because in her lap was a six month old Wendy before she was officially adopted. Reliving Jean just gush about her on camera melted my heart, seeing the start of something special between them begin.
Each one of these PETUMENTARIES is tailor-made for the unique bonds between the human and animal. They are meant to showcase those special relationships that force us to get out out of bed. Some even inspire us to do things that we never thought were in us. Here is Jean and Wendy’s remarkable story, which helped change the world for households who have a dog like Wendy.
Client: Jean Keating
Pet(s) Names/Species: Wendy (dog)
Date of Completion: November 17, 2022
Produced by: River Fire Films, LLC
Directed & Edited by: Jeff Theman
Artist: Alex MakeMusic
Track: “Ambient Piano”
Track: “Europe Travel”
Artist: Alex MakeMusic
Track: “Passion Piano”
Track: “Cinematic Ambient Piano”
13 Toledo WTVG
Fox 36 Toledo
The Toledo Blade
The Ohio Channel
The Columbus Dispatch
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