By Diana Waldhuber
So after listening to the hype for the past few weeks, I decided to tune in to watch DogTown on the National Geographic Channel, and I got to let you know, I’m glad I did.
DogTown, filmed on location at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, wasn’t schmaltzy or trite or "Hollywood" reality TV.
From the get-go you knew the staff at the sanctuary not only loved the dogs they had in their care, but they believed in them. I mean, these dogs were so much more than some faceless creatures designated to a box.
How many people think pitt bulls are dangerous? I know I did before this. Although pitt bulls may become violent due to training, the dogs they had for adoption in their shelter were most definitely not the creatures of fear we’ve been led to believe they are. These dogs were sweet, playful and yearning for love. Theresa, in particular, was a sweetheart.
Seriously, there was not a bad bone in this dog’s body. She, however, loved to play with her rubber balls. They later told us Theresa had a history of skin cancer (which apparently is common in the breed). And when she went off her food and started vomiting, well, it wasn’t only the people at the shelter worrying about her, but me, too.
What the hell was wrong with her?
I admit it. I’m pathetic. I’m like a delicate pile of soap suds: one puff of wind and I’m gone, wiped out. I did not want to hear anything bad about this adorable dog. I was sitting on the edge of my seat.
The other dog story of the night that unnerved me had to do with Little Girl, an extremely shy dog who wasn’t deemed adoptable because of her lack of social interaction. A dog that shy, one who had been clearly abused in the past (I mean, please, hand me the tissues, stat!), can "turn" and protect herself if she feels cornered.
The thing is, Little Girl was the sweetest little thing you’d ever seen. Basically you wanted to hug her close and read her bedtime stories. Also, I wanted to hunt down the real animals in this tale, as in the ones who’d done this to such a beautiful creature.
Her handler was amazing. He actually did read her stories. He won her over. He turned this scared creature into a dog who had confidence in herself. It was amazingly beautiful.
And Theresa? No cancer! Though she did manage to eat some of her ball. Fortunately, she was okay.
The third dog, Gunnar, was a rescue dog in the capable hands of Emmylou Harris.
Gunnar was a street dog rescue, believed to be an abused animal who didn’t trust people. They didn’t deem him as adoptable. Dogtown sent their animal behaviorist who got him to trust her on a basic level. Then they sent in a trusted, alpha, grounded dog, that Gunnar would look up to and want to emulate.
Gunnar’s story didn’t end in the show, though, so I am looking forward to hearing more about him.
In any case, I’m tuning in next Friday. So should you!