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Confessions: Animal Hoarding
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that some of these stories about negligent pet "hoarders" are accompanied by disturbing images of long-dead animals or stomach-turning shots of animal waste that could upset young children (or sensitive viewers of any age). The show doesn't do much to address the long and painful process of
reversing severe hoarding behavior through intensive therapy, either. Some of the featured pet owners use words like "ass," while others might discuss past experiences with problems like drug and alcohol abuse.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Reclusive animal hoarders come out of the closet in CONFESSIONS: ANIMAL HOARDING, a docuseries about toxic, uninhabitable homes with too many pets. Each episode profiles two different pet owners, following them through the often-painful process of cleaning up their lives and, occasionally, giving up their animals. But instead of focusing on the owners' recovery, the series tends to lean on footage of the hoarders co-habitating with their pets in unhealthy environments.
Is it any good?
Much like the similarly themed Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive, Confessions: Animal Hoarding uses shock value -- and morbid fascination -- to suck you in. It's a lot like a car crash you can't look away from, but it ups the ante by mixing in cute animals and their confounding owners, who typically fail to see the error of their ways. Owners like Don, for example, whose wife can no longer live in their home because some 30 cats treat the place like a giant litter box, pushing the house's blistering ammonia levels well into the toxic range.
While both Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive extend a hand to their struggling subjects by offering the services of professional organizers, Confessions doesn't make the same kind of effort. In at least one episode, it was up to concerned family members to find a therapist who could help them stage an intervention for their dog-loving relative, Bonnie, whose home had literally become a dumping ground. And the aforementioned Don skipped therapy altogether in favor of turning himself in to animal control. With that type of approach, it's tough to say whether the experience will truly change anyone.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about mental illness and the types of traumatic events that could trigger someone to start hoarding animals. What's the difference between being a pet lover and a pet hoarder? At what point does having a lot of pets become a hazard?
Is this show documenting the hoarders' behavior or sensationalizing it -- and what's the difference? Does the show take any steps to ensure lasting change in the hoarders'
Why would a pet hoarder agree to expose their behavior on camera? Is it helpful or harmful for them to appear on a show like this one?