Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Millions of dogs could be saved from death if people would spay and neuter their pets. The owners of the rescue group advocate for spay and neuter laws. Don't buy a dog, save a dog.
Positive Role Models
Two men have devoted their lives to saving animals, putting their own well-being, privacy, and financial security at risk to do the work. The two men struggle to pay the bills to keep the rescue running, taking personal loans to pay their staff. Slowly over the years, they've given up any private or personal space in their home to the dogs, who live in every room in the house.
Violence & Scariness
Animal shelters kill animals that haven't been adopted after a certain amount of time. Rescuers try to keep animals from being euthanized. Puppy mill dogs are treated inhumanely, some kept in cages too small to allow movement. Four million dogs a year are euthanized in the U.S. After Hurricane Katrina, rescuers helping stranded humans refused to take their dogs along. Some owners refused to leave their animals and drowned. The animals were later found, stranded, alone, and hungry. Ron and Danny take a suffering, terminally ill, beloved dog to the vet to be euthanized.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Danny and Ron make clear throughout that donations will be welcome, and a donation website is shown at film's end.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Dogs are given medications to help with medical conditions.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Life in the Doghouse is a 2018 documentary about two men who dedicate their lives to rescuing dogs, having saved the lives of more than 11,000 animals from euthanasia. Their private home is given over to 70 resident dogs, some of whom live with them permanently. Horse trainers by profession, the two are lifelong animal lovers and advocates who don't blame shelters that are forced to euthanize animals, but instead believe communities are responsible for the crisis in animal overpopulation. They emphasize that a policy/law mandating spaying and neutering all animals (except for those owned by licensed breeders) would dramatically decrease the number of dogs that end up in shelters. Some cruelty to animals is described, and animals with diseases and disabilities are shown. One animal with a terminal condition is taken to a vet for a humane death. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
There's a sweetness beyond mere compassion and decency to both Danny and Ron that makes viewers fall in love with the two professional rescuers in this documentary. Danny assures one cute new puppy that they'll find someone to adopt him and that he'll do just fine: "You'll get some human, and you'll train 'em," Danny jokes. The fact that they take dogs no one else wants -- because of illness, personality traits, temper -- and turn them into lovable, adoptable dogs gives an audience the sense that we're all lucky that the earth is graced with such big-hearted people. Life in the Doghouse is a love song to these seemingly unselfish guys, and it would be hard to fault director Ron Davis for portraying them in such an uncritical light.
Kids may appreciate that the dogs themselves get plenty of screen time, too, so we get to know Lily, a charmer with the dreaded heartworm. Ron and Danny not only save her from euthanasia at a shelter, but then also invest the time, money, and effort required to remake an otherwise lovely dog with a life-threatening illness into a healthy and attractive prospect who, it turns out, finds a happy home by film's end. And there are plenty of others -- Yoda, Amelia, Sammy, Cotton, Blanche, Maggie, Moose -- to whom the guys make the promise that they'll never go back to a shelter. Danny and Ron make clear throughout that donations will be welcome, and a donation website is shown at film's end.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.