‘Dogs’ Makes Its Bones

(Above: Charlie Greenberg’s beloved Weimaraners, Xena and Zoe)

Beautifully scripted and filmed by multiple directors and crews, Dogs is much more than another documentary series about the breeding, domestication and endearing quirks of humanity’s best friend.

Now available on Netflix, the six-part docudrama’s emotionally gripping stories are often weighted toward the owners. The dogs are companions and business partners. They are also, in the case of one young girl (episode one) who depends on her service labradoodle to alert her parents to her seizures, life-savers.

Dogs the docuseries is a freewheeling travelogue, following people and their beloved canine partners through New York City, Costa Rica, San Giovanni, Damascus and Tokyo.

Dogs on Netflix
Source: YouTube screenshot

The cast is made up mostly of mutts. (This is not a survey of pure breeds, so don’t look for Springer cocker spaniels, dalmatians, mastiffs or weimaraners. The exclusion of the last breed, in my view, is a serious oversight). The only pure-breed is zeus, a Siberian husky living in Syria, awaiting a reunion with his person who resides in Berlin (episode two).

On the lighter side, the fourth episode in Tokyo examines the art of “salon-free” grooming, which is elitist canine coiffing. A groomer is liable to take a dog out of its comfort zone with a cartoonish makeover. In Japan, this is known as “Asian-fusion-grooming.”

But the most compelling stories are those of the tireless dog rescuers. In the fifth episode, a Costa Rican ranch owner devotes his large property to the retrieval, housing and caring of hundreds of abandoned puppies and threatened feral dogs. Minor Spoiler Alert: He is forced to turn away a prospective canine boarder when the ranch’s capacity exceeds 1,200 dogs.

In episode six, a woman drives a large van from New York City to Texas and back to bring home 31 lucky dogs for fostering – and hopefully adoption. Along the way, she meets with volunteers in Virginia for some very necessary dog walking and petting.

Dogs also shares statistics, both remarkable and grim. For example, New York City processes the largest number of pet dogs, while Texas is tops for euthanasia.

To learn more, visit Netflix.

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About Charlie Greenberg

Charlie Greenberg is a NY-based theater and instrumental composer.

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