Man’s Best Friend? A Closer Look at ‘A Dog’s Purpose’

Man's Best Friend? A Closer Look at 'A Dog's Purpose'

Marlena Carrillo, Staff Writer

Amidst recent controversy, the film “A Dog’s Purpose” was been released last weekend.

The film drops almost two weeks after disturbing footage revealed a terrified German Shepherd named Hercules being forced into a pool during shooting of the movie.

The video caused an uproar throughout the media, prompting protests from animal rights activists including the organization PETA, and ultimately causing a loss in profit for the film, which still managed to reach second place at the box office behind the thriller “Split”.

“A Dog’s Purpose”, a heartwarming story about a dog who finds his own “purpose” after being reincarnated into multiple families and owners, is supposed to teach its audiences about loving animals and to recognize the devotion of their furry companions. But seeing the behind-the-scenes abuse begs the question: how far do we have to go to appreciate man’s best friend?

From “Marley and Me” to “Old Yeller” and “Lassie”, movie viewers have eaten up tear-jerking dog films since films began. But do we really need a five-star performance and a bowl of popcorn in order to love our animals?

“A Dog’s Purpose” isn’t the first time this has happened, either. The previously exposed neglect of SeaWorld’s popular killer whales, and even the recent closing of the Ringling Brothers circus are also prominent examples of animal abuse in the entertainment world. These films and performances, which are meant to expand people’s familiarity with and love of animals, end up hurting them in the process, for the sole purpose of making a profit. True animal lovers would see the wrong in this, as adorable as an on-screen puppy adventure or an elephant jumping through hoops may be.

Movies like “A Dog’s Purpose” tug at our heartstrings and remind us of just how important our pets really are. But if it takes forcing an innocent canine into traumatizing situations to do it, who are the real animals here?

In short: if we want to emphasize the importance of appreciating man’s best friend, we shouldn’t have to torture him in order to do it.