The premise of the book and film is no secret. It tells the story of a dog who is born and then reincarnated a number of times as he finds his “purpose” for existence. For those of you who have not read the book, I will tell you now that it’s not all fluff and the stuff of Disney films of years past. I had a hard time getting past the first incarnation of the dog – who is named Toby – due to the way his part of the story ended. There are some serious issues addressed in the book related to animal shelters and dog breeding and crimes against animals and abuse and neglect. The book is written entirely from the perspective of the dog and I think it is true to the nature of how dogs think, behave and how they view us.
There has been a lot of outrage regarding the movie and the clip and some have called for people to boycott the film. If you are of the opinion that the one clip should be used to define not only the film, but the message behind the book and the film, you are entitled to that opinion. I’ve read the producer’s position on what happened and I’m honestly okay with his response. This was an isolated incident in a film which was produced by an animal lover who is probably more mortified and angered by what happened than any of us. Steps are being taken to investigate the incident. I choose to believe that the positive that will come from this is that AHA will be put under more scrutiny in the future and the use of living animals in films for certain scenes will be considered more carefully when the use of CGI will do just fine. This is not the first film in which animals have endured some trauma or died while AHA was on the set. Perhaps it will be the last.
I am not being dismissive of what happened when "A Dog’s Purpose" was filmed. I simply ask you to channel your outrage and look at the bigger picture of very important issues in our society which lead to very real neglect, abuse, suffering and yes, death. If you refuse to see the film, that is your choice. But please educate yourself on issues in our society related to companion animals and use some of that passion you feel for some real good. Speak out for what you believe in and make a difference for animals in your community and in our country. There are a lot of people who were outraged by what they saw who are working to save the lives of animals or improve those lives each and every day. Most of them receive no compensation for their efforts other than knowing they are making a difference. It's easy to boycott a film because you are upset. It's harder to put actions behind your values and do something which positively affects the lives of animals. Or saves those lives.
If nothing else, please just read the book.