After my husband and I graduated from college, two of our friends from school lived right nearby. We saw Heather and Jonathan practically every weekend during those couple of years. We saw them often even after they had their first child, a son named Cory.
From the time he was a toddler, Cory could draw better than most adults. His artwork was nothing short of incredible. And his favorite subject to draw was his favorite subject to discuss – animals. Cory knew more about reptiles by the age of four than most of us will know in a lifetime.
I kid you not.
Fast forward a decade. Today we live on opposite sides of the country from our old friends, and no longer get to see Cory on a regular basis. However, with a little luck the world will soon be able to follow his story.
You see, Cory has Asperger syndrome, a rare autism spectrum disorder that affects just 1% of children in the U.S. ages 3-17. It is the fastest-growing developmental disability, according to the Autism Society.
He still has a remarkable passion for animals and a mindboggling amount of knowledge about his favorite subject, as is common of many children with Asperger’s. During one of his many trips to PetSmart to visit the dogs there, a simple friendly conversation ended up turning into a feature story about Cory in their employee magazine.
The National Dog Show in Philadelphia then invited Cory to the event as a special guest. Documentary filmmaker, Tim O’Donnell, followed Heather and Cory to Philadelphia for the show. At the National Dog Show, Cory had the good fortune of meeting renowned commentator David Frei. Impressed by Cory’s wealth of knowledge, Frei invited his young new friend to be his personal guest at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City. Tim documented that experience as well, and the result is a touching story of perspective and courage called, For the Love of Dogs.
The film is becoming an essential educational piece for people who are unfamiliar with Asperger’s Syndrome. Whether you have been touched by someone on the autism spectrum or not, I promise you that this uplifting film can provide both clarity and hope.
For the Love of Dogs has been accepted into the Phoenix Film Festival in early April. It has also been accepted into the Boston International Film Festival and will be shown on April 19th at the Loews Cineplex/AMC. Heather and Tim have also been invited to speak at the 2014 Global Ethics Summit sponsored by The Ethisphere Institute and Thompson Reuters, in New York City on March 20th.
You can see the trailer here: http://www.loveofdogsmovie.com/.
For more information and to learn about sponsorship opportunities for the film, go to: http://www.loveofdogsmovie.com/. You can also follow along on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/fortheloveofdogsmovie.
The more people who know about this heartwarming film, the better chances they have of raising the funds needed to keep the project going and get it in front of a broader audience. You can help by posting a link to this page on Facebook, by spreading the word on Twitter, or by making a donation on behalf of the film at http://www.loveofdogsmovie.com/.
Please, for the love of dogs, consider taking a moment to help Cory, to help the entire Autism community.