From rescuing people from burning buildings, to working alongside police, or offering comfort as a therapy animal, the power of dogs can sometimes seem like superpowers.
Filmmaker Daniel Ferguson is writing and directing a film called Superpower Dogs which celebrates the power and talents of canines.
Ferguson was in Charlottetown this week as a guest speaker at the VetHealth Global Conference hosted by the P.E.I. BioAlliance.
Stories of ‘extraordinary’ dogs
Ferguson has spent the last few years meeting “the world’s most extraordinary dogs” and their handlers.
‘These dogs, they’re the real superheroes. I mean, forget the guys in tights.’ – Daniel Ferguson
Superpower Dogs will explore the stories of these dogs, and “the science behind how they do what they do,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson began his research by working with the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation in California, and the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association. He has since travelled around the world, meeting dogs who help people with their special talents.
Ferguson said after a few months he “started to realize, ‘my gosh, these dogs, they’re the real superheroes.’ I mean, forget the guys in tights.”
‘This dog transforms lives’
Ferguson said he has met many amazing dogs throughout his time filming, but there is one in particular that captured his heart.
He met a golden retriever in California named Ricochet, who has a talent for surfing, and who surfs with people with special needs, including people with autism, with physical disabilities and people with PTSD.
“I have met kids, literally, who come onto the beach terrified of water, of animals. And within 15 minutes, they are seeing a dog surfing, and they want to do it. And their parents are on the beach weeping. It’s extraordinary to see how this dog transforms lives,” said Ferguson.
‘Trying to inspire young people’
The VetHealth Global Conference focuses on global animal health. Ferguson said even though he is a filmmaker, and doesn’t work in science himself, he was glad to be invited, and believes the topic of his film is relevant.
“We’re ultimately trying to inspire young people to pursue careers in science, in the veterinary sciences. So this is the perfect place for us actually.”
Ferguson also said part of his reason for attending the conference is that he is looking for strategic partners.
The film will be in IMAX 3D, and is scheduled to be released in spring of 2019.