Wagging with the Stars | Behind the Scenes of Apple of My Eye

Apple of My Eye

On the left, actress Avery Arendes walks with her companion pony, and on the right, actor Jack Griffo walks with a guide dog.

Lights…camera…tail wags…ACTION! Last spring we lent our campus, our dogs, and a few “extras” to host a film crew and help make a movie. We’re pleased to announce its debut! “Apple of My Eye,” a warm and inspiring family film, is now available on DVD and digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Get your copy today on Amazon at http://sonypictures.us/GNeZ8u.

Partially filmed on our campus, the movie follows the journey of a 14-year-old girl who struggles after a traumatic horse riding incident causes her to lose her eyesight. Charles, the fictional head trainer of Southeastern Guide Dogs, trains Apple, a miniature horse, to be her companion.

Here’s a bit of behind-the-scenes trivia:

  • The role of Charles, played by Burt Reynolds, was inspired by our own head trainer, Rick Holden.
  • The role of Kai the receptionist, played by actress AJ Michalka, was inspired by our own Suzy Wilburn, Director of Admissions and Graduate Services.
  • Producer Dori A. Rath, originally from Bradenton, visited our campus as a child.
  • The producers of the film have already and will continue to donate a percentage of the proceeds to support our mission.
  • Actor Charlie Barnett, who plays an eye doctor in the film, is from Sarasota. Charlie donated his appearance compensation to Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Other stars of the film include Amy Smart, Liam McIntyre, Nick Bateman, Jack Griffo, Lindssay Lamb, and Avery Arendes.

During filming this past spring, the movie prompted many questions about miniature horses. This film is a fictional story and the horse is given as a companion, not a guide. The girl practices commands with the horse and even puts a harness on it, but the horse in the movie is not an official guide animal. (Did you know? The Department of Justice has provisions that allow people to use trained miniature horses as bona fide guide animals!)

Posted on January 10, 2017 | Category: Blog