My thoughts on the TMZ clip from the movie "A Dog's Purpose" that shows a German Shepherd being forced in raging water for a movie scene against his will.
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csLiYr5OGbg
By now the studio, producers, and writers all have weighed in and found ways to justify and minimize what we saw in this disturbing video. A series of deflections to justify what happened.
This is What Happened
The reality is the dog was in distress in this scene and to say otherwise is a blatant lie. The dog was also forced in the water hanging on with his two front paws to the side of the pool, scared for his life, and to say otherwise is a blatant lie. That he was happy to perform the stunt at another time or from the other side of the pool doesn't make this better, it makes it worse. Because the handler is trying to force the dog to do something it doesn't want to do instead of calming it down so it can perform what it supposedly learned. How is this a dog's purpose? To say the timing of the leaked video is suspicious is a deflection. "The dog wasn't harmed", is a deflection. To say he was not in danger is a deflection.
This is Not Acceptable
A dog was put under distress for no valid reason. And that is the problem. The part of the video I am talking about is also a continuous shot. It doesn't matter what happened before or after. In this scene, the dog was in distress and that cannot be justified. This is a matter of principle. What happened in this scene should never have happened. How is this a dog's purpose? The psychological damage such an incident can cause to a dog is far more severe than any physical injuries. So to say the dog wasn't harmed, because there were no physical injuries is ridiculous.
Giving studios money for treating animals this way is a problem. I won't. I hope you don't either. The dog was clearly not trained well enough to shoot this scene. They were lazy. The trainer didn't spend the time training Hercules to be ready. The studio wanted to save money. They took shortcuts. The animal is terrified and scared out of its mind. For what? Our entertainment? How is that a dog's purpose? I don't find that acceptable. Just because he wasn't in any physical danger and survived it doesn't mean this was okay.
The dog didn't know that. He clearly was hanging on for his life from its perspective. How is that a dog's purpose? The only way animals get treated well on movie sets is by making things like this public and making them pay a price. Living in California, I live and work around the movie industry. They only understand one language. Losing money for what they did.
This Was Animal Abuse, But I Don't Agree With P.E.T.A.
Let me be clear, I don't agree with PETA that dogs should not work in movies. I think it is fine if they are trained for the job and treated well. This just crossed a line for me and the line was when the handler tried to shove the distressed dog into the water with force. This shouldn't have happened and I don't find the deflections put out as excuses acceptable. There was supposedly an animal rights supervisor on set. That person failed. This should have been stopped before the dog was shoved in the water.
What you also see in response to the public outrage now is the typical strategy of a public relations firm. Claiming concern and understanding and then finding a justification why it was fine in the first place so they don't lose money.
Make no mistake. Not losing money is their only concern. A dog's purpose, this is not!
We must do better! Build Your Dog Up!