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’My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story’ Screening At Guild Hall Benefits ARF And Viewers

Originally Posted: August 02, 2010

Dog lover and supporter Beth Ostrosky-Stern offers up a kiss for luck to this sweet Jack Russell Terrier. (Eileen Casey)

East Hampton - Guild Hall hosted the Hamptons premiere film screening of "My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story" for the benefit of the Animal Rescue Fund (ARF) of the Hamptons, and four-footed attendees were on hand to greet guests.

Ricky, an eight-year-old Shih Tzu was rescued from a Puppy Mill, and unfortunately lost a leg.

The documentary film by Daryl Roth and Mark St. Germain explores the unique relationship between people and their beloved pets through candid interviews with notable dog lovers. The film includes Cindy Adams, Edward Albee, Richard Belzer, Glenn Close, Billy Collins, Richard Gere, Christopher Meloni, Isaac Mizrahi, Lynn Redgrave, and Edie Falco, among others.

The screening began at 6 p.m., but not before attendees were greeted on the red carpet by ARF volunteers and the real stars of the evening - the four-footed guests who indulgently posed for photographs, cooing, petting, hugging and even bestowed a few sloppy kisses as well, although pawtographs were out of the question given the rainy weather. Included in the stellar line-up were such bold faced names as Ricky, Ethan, Missouri, Gosman, Hyacinth, Wasabi, and Harvey.

Debbie Downs who has been with ARF for 24 years.

Unlike other one name celebrities, these one name stars are in desperate need of a last name. Available for adoption through ARF these loving canines need a permanent home address and a family name. The ages and breeds of the dogs is remarkable in that there are just so many that the dedicated staff of ARF care for. A few have been rescued from puppy mills, some have survived surgeries, one is missing a leg, another an eye, some act as therapy dogs, and most importantly all are more than happy to greet anyone with unconditional love and companionship. Amid the light drizzle of rain a few attendees were spotted drying a tear or two for indisputably man's (and woman's) best friend.

The film's producer Daryl Roth was at the screening, and commented "I was always so impressed with the work that ARF does that I called up friends and acquaintances when this film was being put together and the response to participate was fantastic."

Edie Falco introduced the film at Guild Hall.

Well known actress Edie Falco, who also appears in the film, was on hand to introduce the film and simply stated "I adopted my dog 12 years ago - I was a bit reluctant due to my work schedule but I bring him everywhere and can't imagine what I did before I had him."

There is a phrase that "All dogs go to heaven" - well perhaps there is a heaven for directors Roth and St. Germain (who also attended the screening), for bringing a wonderful, thoughtful, touching and loving film to the screen. The concept of heaven is explored in the film when a few of the stars address the heartache of having lost a favorite pet, and whether they'll meet again - beautifully relayed by a piece 'written' by Edward Albee's Irish Wolfhound, which Albee reads in the film.

Both Cindy Adams and Issac Mizrahi in particular bring some delightful humor to the film where Adams states "If my two dogs could make the maintenance payments, I'd leave my apartment to them," and Mizrahi seriously explaining how one of his beloved dogs "Definitely knows couture and never damages the chiffon."

Polly Bruckmann, President of ARF with Jamie Berger, the tireless ARF Director of Marketing and Communications.

Each of the stars who appear in the film donated any proceeds from the sale of the DVD to a charity of their choice. Such charities were listed at the end of the film and included numerous animal rescue agencies - the sheer number of which is overwhelming.

A few stars in the film, Lynn Redgrave and Greg Louganis, address the benefits they received while adopting a dog during illnesses, and the therapeautic wonders their loving pets brought to them. Didi Conn and David Shire appear with their son Danny, and candidly and lovingly reveal the relationship between their dogs and their autistic son.

Spotted among the dog loving attendees were Beth Ostrosky-Stern, well known for the work and support she gives to the North Shore Animal League, as well as artists April Gornik and Dorothy Frankel, Sara Davison, ARF Executive Director, and Ruth Appelhof, Executive Director of Guild Hall, and many, many dog lovers and owners whose spirits were undoubtedly lifted on a rather dreary, rainy Monday evening.

Without revealing too much more of the joyous conclusions the stars have reached about their beloved pets, including Richard Belzer's conviction that his dog understands both English and French, and Lasse Hallstrom whose young puppy seems to prefer requests in Swedish, this film reveals exactly what its title states - "My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story" will make you laugh, cry, nod your head in silent agreement, as well as shake your head with total understanding - and then run home to give your best friend a few extra hugs and perhaps an additional biscuit or two.

The screening was followed by a lovely cocktail reception at the always welcoming c/o Maidstone where guests discussed the film and reflected on their own beloved pets, and where a few could be heard muttering - I Love My Cat!

The film is a 50 minute documentary and has been recognized with the 2010 Sedona International Film Festival: Official Selection; and the 2009 Heartland Film Festival: Official Selection.

For more information go to www.arfhamptons.org, or call Jamie Berger at 631-537-0400, ext. 215, email jamie@arfhamptons.org.

All proceeds will benefit the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Inc. (ARF). The ARF Adoption Center is located in Wainscott, and open every day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for adoptions. Since its founding in 1974, ARF has found loving homes for over 17,500 cats, kittens, dogs and puppies.

Missouri is a seven-year-old King Charles Cocker Spaniel who just received a new hip.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.


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