If you’re not watching “Dogs” on Netflix, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. This short docuseries takes a look into the lives of 6 different individuals and families, from around the world, and the meaning of their relationship with their furry best friends.
The series opens with Corinne, a young girl suffering from epilepsy, who is given hope when the possibility of adopting a service dog becomes a reality. Corinne’s illness is not only isolating and limiting for her but also her family. The disease takes a toll on her mother who sleeps in her room each night, waking to check Corrine’s breathing. The possibility of a seizure sniffing Goldendoodle, could change the lives and relationships the family has with one-another for the better.
Next up, Zeus. A stunning Husky with bright blue eyes. I watched this episode twice. It is by far the most intimate dive into the relationship between dog and owner. The untraditional bond that Zeus has with his owner, Ayham, is at the very least inspiring. Ayham fled Syria 3 years prior and was forced to leave Zeus behind. Now living in Germany and working toward a degree in computer science, Ayham focuses on retrieving his dog from bomb-ridden Damascus.
The stakes are high as this story follows the absolutely incredible bond between Zeus and Ayham, but also Ayham’s friends and family who stay behind to care for and protect Zeus. Their only goal; to help Zeus and Ayham reunite. This episode is extraordinarily heart-wrenching and awe-inspiring as it humanizes Syrian refugees, the unbelievable hardships they face, and their strength to persist.
The remaining episodes take viewers on a journey through Italy where Ice, a golden retriever named after his love of snow, is second in command on his owner’s fishing boat. They explore the science behind a shrinking fish population in Lake Como, the body of water their once successful family restaurant overlooks and how Ice’s aging has slowed him down over the past few years. The lack of fish threatens the livelihood of the family’s business, and the episode is laced with an air of uncertainty about the family business and Ice’s health.
Viewers then explore the elitist relationships some Japanese have with their dogs. Because of the ever-shrinking rate of marriage among the population, less and less women are having children. Taking their place, tea-cup sized and ornately groomed dogs. This grooming, elitist subculture is reminiscent of the mockumentary “Best in Show” in which owners obsess over the important and inflated appearances of their dogs. Women are filmed hosting birthday dog parties with their miniature sized Pomeranian’s propped up in their laps. They walk us through their doggie designer closets and the reasoning behind their choice of dogs over children. The episode also takes a deeper look into the animated grooming culture that has become famous in the country. This relationship, a stark contrast to that of the dogs who are home to “Territorio De Zaguates,” a scarcely resourced rescue and free-range compound in Costa Rica where the dogs are crawling with mange, fleas, ticks and owners can barely afford to feed the 1,000 plus animals roaming the territory.
No matter what viewers relationship with dogs might be, the series is sure to give insight to the ever-changing relationship humans have with their four-legged pets. This show is not only beautifully filmed, but also provides a glimpse into how pet owners worldwide have more in common than they think.