On Nov. 16, Netflix is going to set tails a’wagging with the streaming premiere of Dogs, a six-part cinema vérité series exploring bonds between humans and canines around the world. So, sit, stay and learn what it’s all about.
The Netflix Original Documentary Series — a real switch from such recent true-crime fare as Making a Murderer and The Keepers — travels to Syria, Japan, Costa Rica, Italy and the U.S. to profile the love between dogs and people.
It’s gonna be a heart-tugger, so get out those hankies (and grab a warm puppy, if you have one).
Who’s Behind Dogs?
If you’re wondering if the folks producing this series really love dogs, meet executive producer Glen Zipper, a former criminal prosecutor whose life was forever changed by his encounter with a shelter puppy named Anthony. After adopting Anthony days before he was to be euthanized, Zipper was inspired to become a shelter volunteer.
Eventually, that led him to leave his job as a lawyer, pack up Anthony and drive cross-country to L.A. to tell stories. In an essay provided by Netflix, he writes:
For the last 14 years — through successes and many more frequent failures — Anthony has always been there for me. With his wagging tail at the door after a long, hard day; with his smiling face always managing to pierce the gloomiest of moods; and most importantly, with his constant, unrelenting, unconditional love.
Dogs don’t just make us feel loved; dogs make us feel safe. They allow us to venture out into the world, take our lumps and come back to the best friend any of us could ever want or imagine.
In the world we live in today, no matter how divided we are, we should take care to realize how dogs can bring us together. Our love for them speaks to our unanimity of needs: love, friendship, companionship, loyalty. We all want these qualities in our lives, and dogs are the only souls on this planet who guarantee us each and every one of them in spades.
Our series Dogs is created in this spirit — to honor our dogs, and to help us realize that a love for dogs is something we all have in common. Understanding this, it is also our hope that sharing these stories might help us find more ways to love each other.
How Should Christians Think About Dogs?
I’ve always believed that dogs offer a mirror of our relationship with God. As God made us to love and serve Him, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Him, so we have made dogs to love and serve us, and their hearts are restless unless they’re getting a belly rub.
As Christians, we should always put our fellow humans first, especially children. But caring for dogs, and being cared for by them, can open up windows in hardened human hearts and teach us much about the nature of love. One has to think every wagging tail is pleasing to God.
Here’s more on the episodes:
1: The Kid With a Dog
Directed by Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp, One of Us)
Corrine, an 11-year-old girl with traumatic seizures, is paired with Rory, a dog trained to detect an oncoming seizure.
2: Bravo, Zeus
Directed by Amy Berg (Deliver Us From Evil)
Ayham fled war-torn Syria for Germany, but had to leave his husky, Zeus, behind. He and his friends risk everything to bring Zeus out of Syria to safety.
3: Ice on the Water
Directed by Richard Hankin (The Jinx)
Italian fisherman Alessandro relies on his partner, Labrador retriever Ice, to be his companion and help in the family business.
4: Scissors Down
Directed by Roger Ross Williams (Life Animated)
Renowned California dog groomers fly to Japan to compete in a high-level grooming competition.
5: Territorio de Zeguates
Directed by T.J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay (Undefeated, LA 92)
Dedicated people sustain a sanctuary deep in the Costa Rican rainforest that saves street dogs.
And, last but not least …
6: Second Chances
Directed by Berg
The New York City charity Hearts and Bones travels to the south to return dogs to the Big Apple for adoption.
Will you be watching? Here’s a peek:
Images: Courtesy Netflix
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Manager at Family Theater Productions.