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The Best Dog Movies

Dogs have been starring in film for well over a century, since 1905 when a “Lassie”-looking collie starred in the silent film Rescued By Rover (which became a cinema sensation). Recently the magazine “Dogster” did a review of dogcentric movies, and I have a bone to pick with their summary, likely because it was written by a human and not a dog.

Although I agree with the author that not all dog movies get a paws up, the ones that end with the dog dying are definitely paws down on the dogometer. Don’t even get me started on Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller. Never let your dog watch these films.

Vintage Dramas such as Lassie Come Home, White Fang and Call of the Wild were described as “films for canine purists who love no-nonsense, classic tales of loyalty, the pull of the great outdoors, overcoming great obstacles and personal quests for identity.” I have to say these classics are difficult to discredit but are really tough for dogs to watch. And newer dogramas (dog dramas), like Marley & Me, are also obviously written by people who seem ok with having sad endings for the canine hero.

I can speak for all dogs in that we do best with the films geared toward a younger audience, classics such as Homeward Bound, Turner & Hooch, Benji, Lady and Tramp, etc. And of course the howl out loud, sure to become a classic, The Secret Life of Pets (“a gang of sewer-dwelling animals led by a psychotic rabbit! A sausage factory sequence! This movie has it all — and everyone lives!”).

But the biggest oversight of this, and really any “best dog films” list, is that they these Hollywood produced films simply don’t do what Bow Wow Film Festival do for dogs. None of these films let dogs feel as appreciated, seen, acknowledged and honored that way that Bow Wow films do.

When you get done watching One Hundred and One Dalmatians you want to go get a cute Dalmatian puppy to play with (which resulted in a huge spike of Dalmatians in shelters after the film was released because Dalmatians really aren’t the best family dogs…) whereas after watching Bow Wow you want to go hug your fabulous mutt, give him a huge treat and take him out for a fun filled adventure with you. You also feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t have a dog in their life and convince them that is really all they need to resolve their problems.

Bottom line, take advantage of the fact that Second Chance has kicked off the 6th year of the Bow Wow Film Festival (which is also the “Best of” the first five years of Bow Wow, so you get to see the best of the best!) and truly experience the magnitude of the dog-person bond. You can purchase your $16 ticket for your entire household and watch the films now through August 6th at your convenience (from anywhere you can get wifi). And best of all, your purchase goes directly toward saving homeless pets like me! Just visit to learn more and get tickets.

My name is Angelina. I am a beautiful 2 year young Border Collie mix. I get along well with non-bossy dogs and I absolutely adore playing fetch. My staff here at Second Chance all find me extremely sweet and loving and understand my secret passion of being someone’s lap dog. Come meet me today!

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 27 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online:

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at

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