Touching Film About Service Dog to Be Screened at LBI Foundation

Feb 28, 2018

The Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences is going to the dogs at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 10. That’s because the Lighthouse International Film Society will be screening the heartwarming, award-winning documentary “Adele and Everything After” at the Foundation that evening.

“Adele and Everything After,” directed by Melissa Dowler, tells the story of Marty Harris, a now 46-year-old Boston artist who, from childhood, suffered from an untreatable irregular heartbeat that caused her to faint and fall without warning. Needless to say, that could make a person wary of stepping outside, worried about cooking over a hot flame or terrified of relaxing in a warm tub. But in 2006, Marty’s life changed when a Pennsylvania-based organization called Canine Partners for Life hooked her up with Adele, a black Labrador retriever.

CPL has been around since 1989 and has placed over 650 service and companion dogs in 45 states. One of its specialties has been training and placing seizure alert dogs, highly trained canines that can sense an epileptic seizure before it actually occurs and warn their owners to take appropriate actions to avoid injury. But could a dog also sense an imminent fainting spell due to an irregular heartbeat?

Adele could, making her one of the world’s first cardiac alert dogs and immeasurably improving Marty’s life. Alas, after nine years – and the years of training that preceded her placement with Marty – dog years started catching up with Adele. It was time for retirement. But how would Marty and, just as importantly, Adele deal with that? After all, as director Dowler told The Boston Globe in a January interview, “This is a love story. It’s a story about an unconditional love between two beings and the power that Adele loving Marty and really seeing her and really accepting her unlocked her independence and her freedom.”

A wizened editor once said that three types of photographic subjects sell newspapers: children, beautiful women and animals. The same principal applies to films. Just think of all of the movies starring dogs that have become hits, “Old Yeller” and the “Beethoven” series being prime examples. So it isn’t surprising that “Adele and Everything After” won many an award on the 2017 film festival circuit, including a Special Jury Prize for Inspiring Film at California’s Awareness Film Festival, Best Documentary at the Harrisburg-Hershey Film Festival and the Long Beach Indie Film Festival, the Festival Price at NORTHWESTFEST and the Audience Award at Knoxville’s Scruffy City Film and Music Festival.

Tickets for the screening of “Adele and Everything After” are $5 and will be sold at the door, which will open at 6:45 p.m. It is a family-friendly film, so children younger than 12 years of age will be admitted free, as will Lighthouse International Film Society members. The fact that Canine Partners will give a live demonstration is an added bonus.

Call the Foundation at 609-494-1241 for further information. —R.M.

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