Channel 4’s new documentary series has been described as ‘a dating show for pets’, as it follows the employees of Wood Green, The Animals Charity. The show tells the stories of different people and families that are looking for their new best friends.
Differing from some documentaries that follow animal adoption, The Dog House makes an effort to show how crucial it is to think hard about taking a dog home. The show achieves this by showing explicitly what happens when a dog is taken to a rehoming centre. For example, one dog in the second episode is brought to Wood Green because she was reared in a puppy farm. It had left her with health complications that meant her first adoptive family could no longer look after her.
Other dogs throughout the series are taken to the charity and there are upsetting scenes of the staff trying to comfort them when their owners leave. It is hard to watch but so important when approximately 50,000 dogs are abandoned each year. The Dog House points out how hard that can be for the dogs by showing the extreme distress the animals go through when they are left.
The documentary also displays the human side of the adoption process. One episode showcases a family with two little girls who were quite afraid of dogs. Their parents hoped that by getting a dog the pair would be able to feel more confident around them. The first dog they met did not work out: Georgia, the older and more phobic of the children, could not cope with it. This stresses how important it is that a family, or any potential owners, are in the right mindset to bring a dog home.
One of the greatest feel-good moments of the series so far was Paul and Effie. After a prolonged illness Paul had to have one of his legs amputated. Struggling with no longer being able to work, Paul was alone at home most days, so the pair decided to get a dog.
They met Zeus, soon renamed Dug, and there was an immediate connection. With much laughter and smiles the dog was just as besotted with the people as they were with him. By using flash forwards the viewer can see Dug in his new home and how happy it has made all three of them.
This is not a sad show. It has its bittersweet moments but overall the documentary is happy in nature. The dogs are shown to be well cared for and loved even if they haven’t found their forever home yet.
The staff members are amazing and clearly love their jobs. They have a wonderful compassion for both the animals and the people that they meet.
Image Credit: Adrian Cable via Geograph