I finally got to see the documentary Shelter Dogs on HBO. I saw an ad about it a month or so ago and have been wanting to see it. It is a really good look behind the scenes at a dog shelter. It chronicles the activities of a shelter in upstate New York founded by Sue Sternberg. She is an opponent of no-kill shelters but also an opponent of the standard city pound policies of killing after a certain date. Instead, Sue and her staff focus on whether or not a dog has agressive tendencies to determine if a dog should be euthanized. This is a particularly moving subject to me as I faced the tough decision to “put down” a loved companion – Barney as he became increasingly aggressive to visitors and overly protective of me.

The scenes of euthanasia were almost too much to watch as the memory of Barney going limp in my arms as the shot was administered came back in a flood.

There was never a dog more dedicated to his human than Barney. I got him from a no-kill shelter and we had a good many years before his agression towards others became unmanageable.

I could take food from his mouth as our bond was that complete, but other people not only could not come close to his food, they couldn’t come near me or toward the end could not even enter the house. It really wasn’t his fault because I have no idea what conditions landed him in the shelter in the first place, but perhaps if they would have tested for agressiveness, I would not have to deal with the final solution. In the end though – I wouldn’t trade a day of our time together.

The remaining showtimes on HBO this month are:
Tue 2/24 12:45 PM HBO SIGNATURE – EAST
Tue 2/24 03:45 PM HBO SIGNATURE – WEST


PLEASE NOTE: This film contains strong content and scenes of euthanasia, and therefore may not be suitable for children. This is real world stuff and should be understood before you take a dog into your home. This is a real hard film to watch at times as the staff faces tough decisions about the life and death of cherished “family members.” Again, this hits close to home as Sam is getting up in years and… well – let’s just say you should have a box of kleenex handy.

Sue said it best, “It is the right of every dog to have a human that thinks the world of it.”

RATING 10 out of 10