What Did We Just See? – A commentary on “a Dog’s Purpose”.

Posted: January 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

I took my time jumping into the latest controversy regarding the adaptation of “A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron, into a feature length movie. I, and many others enjoyed the book, and looked forward to seeing something positive and uplifting on the big screen. Especially something about dogs.

What happened, with the apparent release of some behind-the-scenes footage during filming, was nothing short of a firestorm. Who officially put the heart wrenching video out into the world, is still somewhat up in the air.
The author of the book, Mr. W. Bruce Cameron, it should be noted posted the following on the Facebook page the following:

A Dog’s Purpose
18 January at 22:56

I was as disturbed as you were by the video I saw earlier today. Though obviously edited and hysterically headlined, the images speak for themselves.
I have asked the studio for an explanation and have been assured they are reviewing every single frame of footage shot that day and interviewing the people who were there. (I wasn’t.)
I want all the facts at my disposal before I pronounce judgment or issue an opinion.
I will give you an update as soon as I have one. — Bruce

So…Just WHAT did we see? What is the backstory? It’s important that we take it slowly, and patiently. There are so many ways that this story could be nothing more than propaganda for certain viewpoints regarding the use of animals by our society. On the other hand, we might have have been watching nothing more than plain and simple, Abuse of a Living Being. Either way, this situation says something about us as a society.
Firstly, we need to understand that everything we see from media, is questionable at best, and pure garbage at it’s worst. That’s a sad statement, but that part of our society has done it to themselves. Question everything you hear, even if you agree with it, and gather evidence before you react.
Secondly, we need to understand that being motivated by profit, money, and fame, will always cost someone, or some dog, in ways that we may not see at first. This production was obviously in a hurry to finish this film, on time, and under-budget, as all businesses are wont to do. Rather than properly prepare this dog for what he was being told to do, we hear the voices of the trainers in the background yelling, “Throw him in, Thro him in!!” That IS the trainers fault. But they no doubt, were under pressure from the powers that be to get the shots that they needed, and get them done now.
We are not a patient society, or culture. Everything is driven by production, profit, and performance. Those things alone make us undeserving of the services of this dog, or any other living creature for our entertainment. This was ABUSE OF A LIVING CREATURE, no question about it. There was no good reason to put this dog into a life-threatening situation for the making of a movie for profit. The Trainers working with this dog, failed in every way that is important for the dog. The hierarchy of the director and his production team failed in being unaware (apparently) of what the second unit was doing to accomplish their tasks. By many reports, the accompanying conversation amongst the crew during the filming belies an attitude that everything was alright as long as the dog survived the ordeal. Foundational failure on every level.
The other side of the failure involves the motivations of the release of the clip. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, however they may or may not be involved, should be considered as hostile participants. Their stated purposes are certainly grand, and appear above contempt. Were they trying to help out with a bad situation for this individual dog in distress? Or are they more motivated by the desire to see ALL animals never again controlled by their human “Overlords”? These groups tend to operate in the dark recesses of purposeful, politically driven, peccadillo’s. They have a goal that they are pursuing aggressively. They have already destroyed such things as large Animal circuses with their meddling, and they would love to put and end to any activity that we choose to pursue with our dogs. Schutzhund, agility, obedience, dog shows, and else animal-centric. This clip was either custom made for, and by them, or was serendipity of the most fortunate kind.
Be careful of what or who you support. You might be cutting off your nose to spite your own face.

Yes, it is a simple case of Animal Abuse on film. There should be punishment rendered. Sadly, the film should be removed from theatres, not allowed ONE CENT of profit. The “trainers” involved, should be censured by Professional Organizations and the Movie Industry, whoever that should involve. I will not support the movie by seeing it, nor will I give any critique of it here on this blog, even though it was requested. Not going to happen.
The complicating factors in what happened are more convoluted. Who released the footage, and why? How much of this type of behavior takes place on movie and television projects that we don’t hear about? Is there a darker objective at work here?
We need to keep our eyes wide open gang. We are so divided as a society, with sides being drawn over everything. Opinion and ideology have usurped truth and propriety every day. Unfortunately, in this case, an innocent dog paid the price.
I have decided to not link to the film clip. It needs no more exposure. As a stand alone item, it is indefensible, and highly disturbing. As a clarion call to action, it deserves our attention within the confines of future prevention. That is all…

Thanks to Angie Ballman-Winters for spurring me to finally engage this subject. See her website here: http://www.angie4dogs.com/

In the meantime…Read the books and see the story behind what could have been a wonderful film…http://adogspurpose.com/

  1. KD Mathews says:

    Well written and expressed. The media is usually garbage, and in this case, the trainers are also.