Courtesy: Virgil Films/Halo Purely For Pets/PBS
Thousands of animals end up in shelters across the country every year. The reasons for this are as wide as the breeds of cats and dogs that end up being held at shelters. People lose their jobs, have to move, or they simply run away from their homes. In even worse cases, it’s because they have been taken from abusive owners. Whatever the reason, these animals need loving homes. So many shelter animals end up being euthanized because they don’t get adopted. Virgil Films and Halo: Purely for Pets have partnered together in hopes of decreasing the number of animals euthanized each year and increase the number of shelter animals that find their forever homes instead in the new documentary, Shelter Me.
Shelter Me is a heartwarming program that takes viewers into three different settings showing the value of shelter pets. In hindsight, it’s less documentary and more advertisement for adopting shelter pets. There is nothing wrong with this, either. That is because so many shelters across the country are becoming overloaded with animals and underfunded. That is, in sociological terms, what’s known as a negative correlation. That’s not a good thing. With any luck, this feature will help to turn that negative correlation into a positive one, and shelters will see an increase in both adoptions and funding. It makes its argument through three examples of the value of shelter pets in society, starting with the dispelling of the reputation of Pit Bulls. From there, it transitions into dogs that are made virtual inmates by their reputation to the impact of dogs on inmates themselves. From there, it shows how the friendship between military men and women and service dogs can lead each others’ lives to turn around. By the end of the feature, hopefully this feature will have convinced viewers of all ages and backgrounds to help give shelters and shelter dogs a second chance.
It is fitting that the very first segment of this feature features what is one of the most pressing issues in the world of pet owners. The issue in question is that of the reputation of pit bulls. Pit Bulls have arguably the single worst reputation of any dog breed. That is because far too many people have abused them and made them into fighting animals. As a result, most of the stories centered on Pit Bulls that people see on the news are negative. But as audiences will see in this first segment, Pit Bulls are just as docile and loving as any other breed. It dispels the belief that belief that this breed is just a mindless killer and proves even more the argument that it is indeed the fault of the human and not the dog that a Pit Bull becomes violent. In an odd way, one could argue it is proof of the sociological argument that it is nurture, not nature that makes any living being become what it becomes in life.
The second segment of Shelter Me is a proper transition from the topic of Pit Bulls. This is because just as Pit Bulls have negative reputations, so do those behind bars. Pit Bulls are ignored when they are sent to shelters just as inmates are largely ignored and labeled when they are put behind bars. But as viewers will see in watching this segment, even those behind bars can be just as caring as the dogs for which they care. Even more so, it shows that these dogs and others can help to give those behind bars the fire that they need to start their lives back on the right track. Just as the dogs give the inmates featured here the start at a second chance, the dogs give themselves a second chance, proving their value even more.
The final segment of Shelter Me is just as solid a transition as that between the program’s lead segments. The dogs featured in the feature’s second segment give both themselves and the inmates a second chance at life. In the same vein, service dogs are just as valuable to the nation’s men and women in uniform. Viewers are introduced to two young military veterans in this final segment. Both men were suffering the effects of fighting the war in the Middle East. One was on the verge of taking his own life. The other was on the verge of ending up as an inmate himself. But when both men were partnered with a service/therapy dog, their lives were immediately turned around. Because their lives were turned around for the better, it made them want to help their fellow soldiers.
All three segments of Shelter Me provide very deeply heartwarming stories of the impact of shelter dogs on humans and vice versa. From dispelling the reputation of Pit Bulls to showing the value of these and other dogs in various facets of life, Shelter Me provides audiences with touching story after story of the impact of shelter dogs. The stories alone are enough to leave no eye the least bit dry. Each one is compelling in its own right, showing that just because they’re in shelters, these animals are no less than those at a person’s local humane society. Making the near hour-long feature even better is its transitions between each segments and the manner in which each segment is tied to the one before. This makes the overall viewing experience all the easier and more touching. Who knows? It may even move viewers to share it with others and thus spread the movement to help both shelter pets and shelters. Shelter Me is available now on DVD.
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