27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Love Leads The Way,
This review is from: Love Leads The Way (VHS Tape)
It was in the late 1970's when I read about Mr. Morris and "Buddy," the first Seeing Eye dog in the United States. I think it was from a Reader's Digest condensed book, as I was a subscriber at the time.
Anyway, I had a beautiful German shepherd then that ended up being my companion for the best 12 years of my life. Highly intelligent and almost intuitively attentive, she was my faithful buddy, so I easily warmed to Mr. Morris's story about his "Buddy," and the hardships he endured at not only being blind, but having to contend with a society that, at that time (in 1928), had no concept of the value a dog could be for a sightless person.
I was in Alaska when this movie came out, and my mother and daughter quickly brought it to my attention, as the "Buddy" in the film looked remarkably like my shepherd.
I probably fell in love with the film for that reason, as much as I did for the story.
This is a sweet little Disney film that any family member can enjoy, and sure to bring a tear to the eye of anyone with a soft heart. It was released around 1984 and has a very talented cast: Timothy Bottoms, Patricia Neal, Arthur Hill, Eva Marie Saint, Glynnis O'Conner, Susan Dey, Ernest Borgnine, Ralph Bellamy, and a beautiful German Sheppard named Pilot as Buddy.
As I remember, the movie followed the book fairly well.
Mr. Morris (played by Timothy Bottoms) was a very self reliant person. A salesman by profession, he lost his sight in a sparring accident at the local gym.
Hearing about an article in a magazine about dogs that could be taught to assist the blind, he immediately wrote to Switzerland, where the program was being developed, so that he could be a part of it.
He was not a dog person initially; but he possessed a fervent desire, and the means, to pursue any avenue that would help him regain a sense of independence that depending on humans could not provide.
Buddy was a tool for him, not a sentient being.
But as time and trials shared together passed, he grew to love his faithful companion.
It was a long and difficult task to convince the public and pass legislation that would allow Seeing Eye dogs to do the job that they were trained to do, anywhere in public.
Buddy became a pioneering ambassador for all Seeing Eye dogs that would follow. Were it not for her and the persistence of Mr. Morris, and those that supported them, we may not have an incredible Seeing Eye program in the United States to this day.
Special dogs, such as these, are now allowed into our hospitals where they provide non-judgmental comfort to our convalescing population
Today, it is not uncommon to see dogs, as well as other species, in the role of assistance for handicapped people in this country. They provide an essential need with the kind of steadfast constancy that no human can match. For the duration of their all too short lives, they selflessly serve their master with faithful obedience asking only the reward of a kind tone of voice and a gentle touch from a hand.
All Americans, who now enjoy the right to have their four legged helpers with them in public places and on conveyances, owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Morris and Buddy, and the founders of the Seeing Eye.
I highly recommend this movie to any dog lover, all children, and anyone with a historical interest as to how the Seeing Eye came to these shores.
Whenever I hear the tune, "Someone to Watch Over Me," I think of this film, and all of my faithful buddy's who shared their lives with me through the years.
I would love to see a DVD release of this movie so I could watch it more often.