“I’m watching the dog documentary on netflix and sh#t has me in tears or idk i just might be highly emotional sorry” – celsius | @spcynoodlesoup
“Can you hear my sobs go watch Dogs on Netflix” – kaitlyn | @kineticphil
“I watch murder shows without even flinching, 45 seconds into ‘Dogs’ on Netflix and I’m emotional” – Vinny Guadagnino | @vinnyguadagnino
“watching the first episode of the dogs documentary on netflix and sobbing like f@%k. how have we been so blessed to have an animal like a dog in our lives? they’re just the best wee things on this planet” – meltin john | @caitrz_
“20 minutes into the first episode of Netflix’s ‘Dogs’
Status: already done 1 kleenex box” – Jeff M | @bananafactory87
AND so goes the endless stream of praise heaped via Twitter on the six-part documentary on Netflix, simply titled Dogs.
I stumbled upon the documentary over the weekend, choosing it from among the plethora of options available on the world’s top video-streaming service, to provide me with nothing more than just white noise as I went about my weekly housecleaning. But a few minutes into the first episode, titled “The Kid with a Dog,” and the business of mopping down the walls and floors of my studio was quickly forgotten.
The first episode tells the story of Corrine, a young girl with epilepsy, and the bond she forms with Rory, a service dog trained to detect seizures. It is not only about the bond between them, however, but also about utterly selfless sacrifice of Corrine’s mom who has taken to sleeping on the floor beside her daughter’s bed, barely getting a wink’s sleep every night as she remains mindful of the possibility of her daughter seizing at any point in the night.
By the end of the episode, Corrine’s mom is still sleeping on floor but there’s less anxiety on her face, and there’s even a quiet smile as she stares at the paws hanging from her daughter bed, with Rory snuggled against the sleeping Corrine.
Episode Two is “Bravo, Zeus,” a heartbreaking story about a Syrian refugee in Germany, Ayham, who makes dangerous plans with a loyal friend to smuggle his cherished husky, Zeus, out of war-torn Damascus. Episode Three, beautifully shot and incredibly poignant, is “Ice on the Water,” which chronicles how the steadfast presence of aging golden retriever Ice brings comfort to Italian fisherman Alessandro as his livelihood faces an uncertain future on Lake Como.
And on and on, each episode of Dogs goes in exploring and highlighting the bonds that form between humans and the furry four-legged friends they bring into their lives, shaping these lives in ways so profound that it’s impossible for these men and women—and us as well— to imagine how it would have been otherwise.
The same could be said of Glen Zipper, one of the show’s executive producers. In a story written by Andy Meek for BGR.com, Zipper “had a life-changing moment back in 2003, when he was working as a criminal prosecutor and somewhat adrift, not happy with his career. He met a dog—a skinny canine named Anthony, with patches of hair missing that got taken to a local shelter. Anthony never left his mind, from the minute Glen first laid eyes on him.
“He ended up calling the shelter to check in on him, found out he was due to be euthanized, so the then-prosecutor rushed to the shelter, and everything changed. Inspired by the volunteers taking care of dogs, he decided to become one himself. He started volunteering, and his newfound love [for] man’s best friend eventually gave him an idea. In a world as divided as the one we live in today, why not tell a series of stories about one of the few things everyone can agree on—namely, how much we all love our fluffy, four-legged companions.
“Thus was born the idea for Dogs….”
In a statement about the Netflix series, Zipper says, “For the last 14 years—through successes and many more frequent failures—Anthony has always been there for me. With his wagging tail at the door after a long, hard day…And, most important, with his constant, unrelenting, unconditional love.
“Dogs don’t just make us feel loved, dogs make us feel safe. They allow us to venture out into the world, take our lumps and come back to the best friend any of us could ever want or imagine…Our love for them speaks to our unanimity of needs. Love. Friendship. Companionship. Loyalty. We all want these qualities in our lives, and dogs are the only souls on the planet who guarantee us each and every one of them in spades.”
Dogs is streaming on Netflix—and, yes, do keep a box of Kleenex nearby.