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Parents' Guide to

Life in the Doghouse

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Docu about saving at-risk dogs is emotionally intense.

Movie NR 2019 84 minutes
Life in the Doghouse Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 6+

It's all about dogs!

Loved watching this movie, thoughtfully filmed about the life of two men devoted to saving dogs. Sad in parts but still a hopeful film, kids and adults alike would enjoy watching together. It's a thought-provoking film -- kids will have questions about dogs, life, rescuing, and kindness to animals and people!

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 5+

A mostly optimistic look at animal rescue

My mom had been telling me to watch this for nearly a year, so I made this my first movie of 2020. It's a good documentary, but it was occasionally a bit boring. Danny and Ron are great role models who care deeply about the well-being of their dogs. Their dogs are usually saved from ominous situations, such as living in puppy mills or nearly being euthanized. The documentary paints a bleak picture about the state of dogs in the United States, especially in a shocking scene where euthanized dogs in black trash bags are loaded onto a truck and dumped into a hole in the ground. As this happens, harrowing statistics are displayed. These statistics are used to support Danny and Ron's belief that a law should be passed requiring all pets, except for those owned by licensed breeders, to be spayed or neutered. However, the remainder of the documentary is quite optimistic, focusing on their successful efforts in helping at-risk dogs. Dog lovers of all ages will enjoy this documentary, but some young children will be distressed at parts.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (2 ):

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.

Movie Details

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