” Shelter Me ” is a documentary that steps deeper into how strong society can become with the help and trust of shelter dogs.
While most people can agree that puppies are loveable and cute, this is not always the reaction to dogs found in pet shelters. Too many people are under the misconception that dogs in shelters are bad dogs or there is something wrong with them. The short but sweet 56 minute documentary titled “Shelter Me” provides a glimpse into the diverse ways shelter dogs are rescued, adopted and even trained to be service dogs.
Although most of the documentary takes place in Los Angeles, the stories told and this blog piece aim to build awareness and possibly increase adoption of shelter pets. And it is so easy to access via Netflix that is it a must watch for anyone that needs a bit of convincing of the profound positive impacts shelter dogs make on the lives of those that adopt them and vice versa. This documentary really has the best double entendre title – it could even be called “Sheltering Each Other”.
“Shelter Me” is broken into three shorter sections which each address important, sometimes novel programs and possibilities. The sections involve shelter dogs, the general public, prison inmates and war veterans. It surely has a wide-ranging audience.
Beginning with Homeless which includes stories of the adoption of two dogs found on the streets of LA.
The Second Chances segment of the documentary is dedicated to sharing information about a program called the Prison Puppy Program that takes place at California Institute for Women. Incarcerated women from this institute in the Puppy Program have become dog trainers and train shelter dogs to become service dogs for people with disabilities. This progressive program is commendable. The women find the work rewarding and give back to the community while the shelter dogs are given a second chance at having a loving home.
In the final part Coming Home, shelter dogs are recruited and trained to become companions to American war veterans that may have psychological or other emotional struggles. The section emphasizes the canine-human bond galvanized by the rescue aspect felt by both dog and person. When programs such as suicide prevention hotlines were not enough, the veterans repeatedly say that their dog “saved my life”, literally.
For more information about Vancouver shelters visit:
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Vancouver branch
If you are interested in a special event happening October 4th where you could become the owner of a shelter dog from California, check out “Thank Dog I Am Out”
For information about unique programs involving shelter dogs visit:
Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) based in Burnaby that often train shelter dogs to be hearing assistance dogs
Citadel Therapy Canine Society based in Vancouver that trains shelter dogs to be service dogs for veterans, police officers and children
Documentary Review by: Daniela Oliverio-Lauderdale