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Genuine drama in endearing ‘Dogs’ docuseries

By: - Writing Editor
/ 12:20 AM February 07, 2019

Scene from “Dogs”

Bonds between canines and their human companions are featured in the six-part Netflix docuseries “Dogs,” a warm and intimate collection of stories from all over the globe.

There’s genuine drama in these diverse tales of people and their cherished pets, offering an enriching look at how these animals in different places are treated.

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The first episode, “The Kid With a Dog,” is about a girl who struggles with epilepsy. Since her parents can’t always be by her side during seizures, they contact a facility that specializes in service dog training. Rory becomes the girl’s companion at school and her bedroom, as the dog can detect her medical emergencies.

The hourlong episode focuses on the challenges that most of the family members have to go through—and not everyone can be extra-close to Rory, as it can distract the dog from its main “mission.” Your heart can’t help but go out to one young sister, who is saddened by such strict rules.

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In “Bravo, Zeus,” a Syrian refugee living in Germany arranges for his Siberian husky, Zeus, to be sent to him. It isn’t that easy, of course—left with a friend’s family, the dog lives near a war zone, narrowly avoiding hails of bullets, according to that temporary guardian.

Zeus’ story is tensely presented, and emphasizes the all-too-real heartache felt by humans who get too attached to animals that aren’t their own. The anticipated reunion is no less emotion-triggering.

“Ice on the Water” is considerably less dramatic. The episode celebrates a 10-year-old Labrador retriever named Ice, a loyal companion to an Italian fisherman and his family.

Almost equally about the family’s preparation for the tourist season—when their restaurant is busiest—and the increasingly depleting fish in the lake, it nonetheless highlights the contributions of the cuddly mutt, to the family and the villagers’ lives.

The next episode, “Scissors Down,” is about Japanese groomers flying to the US to join a dog-styling contest.

The stylists meet some of their American competitors, who are just as tremendously talented and driven.

“Territorio de Zaguates,” meanwhile, centers on a Costa Rican dog sanctuary that gets increasingly difficult to maintain. Sheltering over a thousand dogs—strays and abandoned pooches of various breeds—the vast farm is manned by a handful of diligent workers.

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One man, however, falls ill during one of his work routines. It deviates into his medical condition, but the feature mostly zooms in on the problematic conditions that the canines live in prior to being taken in by the sanctuary, whose resources are fast depleting.

One dog out of many, Max, is given attention, as he becomes close to one of the workers.

Finally, there’s “Second Chances,” which follows a dog adoption advocate doing the difficult job of transporting several rescued dogs, named after celebrities, from Texas to New York.

One mutt, named Justin Timberlake, is prepared for his adopters, who are eager to welcome him to their new home. The painstaking process of getting these dogs prepared for their transfer is moving, highlighting the time and effort that selfless volunteers give to ensure their safety.

“Dogs” is a wholesome and endearing series, and it deserves to show more eclectic stories about the human-beast dynamic in future seasons.

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