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DVD Review: My Dog, An Unconditional Love Story

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Okay, I admit it — Docurama Films has me hooked. I’m not sure when it started — was it when I saw Dirt, or was The Yes Men Fix the World my undoing? No matter, once I saw My Dog, An Unconditional Love Story I became a devoted follower of the documentary form, especially as presented by Docurama.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always enjoyed — and usually learned something from — documentaries. I’ve seldom suffered the disappointment that big budget feature films often deliver when they fail to live up to their hype when I view a documentary to which I’ve been looking forward.

Living in places where documentaries are seldom shown in theaters is part of the reason I’ve never really given a lot of thought to documentaries. When a “big” documentary (e.g., something by Michael Moore) is released, I anxiously await its arrival on DVD, but if a film isn’t publicized, I don’t know it’s out there (that was until Netflix, our source of a fantastic selection of documentaries delivered right to my PC or TV). It’s a vicious circle; the reviews and publicity don’t appear in the local media because the theaters don’t show documentaries because the documentaries aren’t publicized so no one’s interested. The same holds true for independent films and art films, though you may be aware that I’ve sworn off of them.

My Dog, An Unconditional Love Story (“unconditional” not “unconventional” — get it right!) is a moving account of the contribution dogs make to our lives. Designers, actors, business figures, singers, musicians, poets, authors, and athletes all share stories of their dogs’ places in their lives. One thing they all have in common is that they absolutely dote on their pooches.

Some of the dogs are rescues, some are purebred, and they all are loved. It’s interesting to watch “tough” guys like Richard Belzer and Christopher Meloni speak so emotionally about their canine companions, or to hear poetry from Billy Collins and Edward Albee about theirs. Didi Conn shares stories about her autistic son and his relationship with their dogs. Lynn Redgrave details her decision to get a dog after she became ill with breast cancer.

Some of the dogs are amazingly well trained (or well behaved); Greg Louganis’ dog is a mini Olympian in its own right and Lynn Redgrave’s would go to the theater and wait in her dressing room while she performed, never once barking. Others are more like my dog; Cindy Adams’ dogs are spoiled, Lasse Hallström’s dog is uncooperative, and Isaac Mizrahi’s dogs rule the roost.

So many of those interviewed, like Edie Falco, feel that what the dogs give us is so much more than what we provide them. Veterinarian Amy Attas explains simply and directly what’s wrong with puppy mills.

My Dog, An Unconditional Love Story is “a tribute to all the dogs that have made our lives richer and happier… MY DOG captures the remarkable bond between our dogs and ourselves.” Indeed, it does. Not only will you get an appreciation of the “profound connection” stars like Glenn Close and Richard Gere have with their dogs, you will also get a glimpse into the respect these people have for their canine family members. If you have a dog, it will remind you why; if you don’t, it might tempt you to check out the shelter (I hope it does!).

Extra features on the DVD include 17 minutes of deleted scenes and interviews, filmmaker bios, and trailers.

Bottom Line: Would I buy My Dog, An Unconditional Love Story? Yes, yes, yes! There aren’t all that many films that I watch with a big, dumb smile plastered on my face throughout the entire presentation. (“20% of every dollar earned by the film will be donated to nonprofit animal welfare charities.” There’s another plus.)

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About Miss Bob Etier

  • Very nice. Dogs, I love them.

    As much as I love dogs, I want to know why we don’t have any cat stories in Blogcritics? Cats are wonderful too and I don’t remember seeing any loving remembrances of them. And there are more cat owners in the U.S. than dog owners.
    Sounds like something to get to work on.

    But don’t get me wrong. I do love dogs.

  • You’re right, Lynn, there should be more cat stories. I love my dog, but let’s face it–cats are more interesting. Sure, we hear about hero dogs all the time, but what about heroic cats? I knew one, and I’ll bet lots of others did/do, too. I’d love to hear their stories.

  • John Lake

    This is kinda silly, but I wrote a very nice cat story (well, kittens – can’t go wrong with kittens!) for Associated Content.
    Its a nice outlet, but so busy that I find it hard to get noticed.
    Anyway, if you know about cats, love cats, like cats..
    A True Tale About Some Kittens!

  • Linda Newbury

    I can’t wait to see this docurama! In my opinion, dogs are only as special as their masters allow them to be. After owning (or sharing space with) 17 dogs throughout my life, I definitely have my favorites. One such character was Sheba, (a Dobie), who rescued me and my baby from a fire. She was a real hero and I (and my son) owe our lives to her. She was truly an angel.