Recently, it’s been difficult to find anything that brings people together. So many conversations and posts on social media seem to solicit confrontation and arguments, contributing to our tendencies to polarize rather than unify.
But if there’s one thing that connects people in this world, it’s a love for dogs.
OK, maybe not everyone loves dogs. The great cat people vs. dog people debate can definitely get heated. Still, the unconditional love of a pet is one of the most heartwarming experiences, at least for most. Filmmaker Amy Berg and writer/producer Glen Zipper explored the idea of having a loving, furry friend in your life in their six-part Netflix docuseries Dogs.
Each episode focuses on a different story that demonstrates the incredible love between dogs and humans, spanning the world from the U.S. to Syria, Japan, Italy and Costa Rica. The six episodes could have felt disjointed, as they ranged from a young girl’s reliance on her service dog to an Italian man’s stress over his family business. But Zipper and Bergs’ arrangement of the stories made for a fantastic streaming experience. The amount of care in each story is just as passionate as the owners’ care for their dogs.
Given the title, it was easy to expect that Dogs would resemble every Facebook or YouTube animal video posted. Zipper and Berg dig much deeper than surface-level cuteness, even though all of the animals featured in the series still easily melt the heart. Instead, they use the pets as a way to analyze the human experience, depicting the highs and lows of life. They even use them as a way to explore cultural differences throughout the world as they jump to a different part of the globe in each episode.
Episode two is one of the series’ standouts. “Bravo, Zeus” follows Ayham, a Syrian refugee who fled Damascus for Germany as a result of the country’s violent turmoil. He had to leave his Siberian husky Zeus behind with a friend. Given the dangers in his home country, especially for animals, he plans to smuggle Zeus out of the country with the help of his old roommates. Watching him coordinate to save this family member is emotional, and seeing him FaceTime Zeus is easily tear-jerking.
While a lot of Netflix content tends to evoke suspense, disappointment and anger — or all three — this uplifting tale shows how dogs can bring out the best in people. Their unconditional love makes us better humans, which is a message that stands proudly against the darker backdrop of Stranger Things and Making a Murderer.
It is incredibly comforting watching the two-way companionship between the owners and their animals for six hours. Dogs definitely help humans, but the extent to which some owners care for their pets is uplifting without a doubt.
Anyone who follows current events or even checks Twitter has probably felt some negativity as a result of the constant news of violence and hate. It is easy to lose faith in the good of people, but dogs are much more resilient. Dogs is an expert escape from harsher realities, allowing viewers to dive into a world of floppy ears and wagging tails.