Recently my husband and I watched Life in the Dog House. I wasn’t expecting it to touch me as much as it did.
I tend to be skeptical about movies I haven’t heard much about, figuring that they weren’t “popular” for a reason. This movie, however, was totally worth watching and even elicited quite a bit of emotion from a dog lover who thought she’d seen it all.
Life in the Dog House tells the inspiring stories of Danny Robertshaw and Ron Danta and the work they do at Danny and Ron’s rescue. I’ve often asked people involved in dog rescue how they are able to keep going, with all the abuse, neglect, heartbreak and endless need of homeless animals. Danny and Ron clearly reveal the toll it all takes on them, yet they do not come off as arrogant or superior because of it. They just want to help as many dogs as they can. To that end, they’ve turned their home into a shelter, living with more than 70 rescue dogs at a time, eliminating all private space and private time.
You might think that house would be chaotic and stinky. It can get noisy, and there are constant staff and volunteers in and out of every room. But Danny and Ron have a strict schedule of feeding and cleaning. And there’s lots of cleaning. The floors and bedding are washed every day and the sprawling house looks orderly and, they say, doesn’t smell. They’ve turned every room into a space for dogs–the dining room, living room, sun room, spare bedrooms, and lots of outdoor areas for them to run. They have an organized system for feeding, medicating, and cleaning. I was impressed to note they feed super premium dog food, not just something less healthy but more affordable.
Danny and Ron were stars in the horse world, and still make their income training horses.They always bring adoptable dogs to the horse shows, and that is where they find homes for most of their dogs. They often go to a shelter intending to take 5 or 6 dogs scheduled for euthanasia, and end up with 15 or as many as they can fit in the van, because they are so moved by their sad eyes and hopeful looks.
There are some moments in the movie that are difficult to watch. Once they brought an old friend in to the vet to say goodbye, and I had to look away as they showed the injection and the dog going to sleep, because it was too sad. The horrors of puppy mills are clearly shown, and this too was gut-wrenching. And this scene, shot from a drone– the back of a kill shelter where two employees swung bag after bag after bag of black garbage bag-shrouded bodies of euthanized dogs into the back of a truck, drove to a nearby grave and dumped them all into a massive hole. A lot of dust in my eyes at that point. Danny and Ron don’t blame the kill shelters though. And they don’t preach or shame or hit their audience over the head
screaming their message. They bring the real problem right back to the community and individuals-the problem is pet overpopulation, and the solution is to get cats and dogs
spayed or neutered.
The dogs were cute, the dogs were needy, the dogs were sweet, but what really got me is the dedication of these two men, who to date have rescued more than 11,000 dogs!
Watch the video trailer here.