Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sunny's Ears

My family got on this kick watching Feature Films for Families and every holiday my siblings and I would each get a new video.  One Christmas I got the movie Sunny's Ears which I thought was perfect for me.

The movie is about Sunny, a teenage girl that is deaf as a result of meningitis.  She still talks, but can no longer hear and has to read lips.  Her family, specifically her father, has a hard time dealing with the fact that he has to sign now to communicate with his daughter.  One day Sunny is saved from being hit by a car.  Her rescuer?  A stray dog.  Sunny is determined to keep the dog, but her dad (a postman) is not too keen on this idea.  When she see's a flyer about dog training she persuades her parents that the dog can be trained to help her hear.  Ears (what she ends up naming the dog) proves to be as helpful as Sunny had hoped.  Not only is Sunny able to be more independent, but she has a new friend that doesn't care whether she can hear or not.

This movie has really stuck with me.  While talking to my mom tonight about it, she shared her surprise  that I remembered as much of it as I did, since I hadn't seen it in over 10 years.  Sunny's Ears introduced me to the idea of a "hearing ear dog", or really just the fact that animals can be used for more than assisting visually impaired people.  I had always wanted a dog, and I found Sunny's plan to train a service dog a great reason to get a pet.  It didn't work on my parents.  (Oh well!)  But, I believe that it helped lead me to my position at the Audubon Zoo, and even to my dream job of Animal Assisted Physical Therapy.  If Ears can be a hearing ear dog, why can't a guinea pig be a physical therapy animal?

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