We Don’t Deserve Dogs would’ve made its world premiere at SXSW in Austin, Texas, this March. Sadly, the event didn’t go ahead due to coronavirus concerns, but we are excited to bring you a look at the film that is sure to be a hit with audiences everywhere. From the moment We Don’t Deserve Dogs begins, it is clear this is going to be a special film. The title is a common sentiment used in today’s world when a dog is caught on camera doing something innocent, sweet, or even heroic. What happens when we take a deeper look into this world? And what exactly dogs all across the globe bring to the lives of their owners or companions? We are met with the heart-touching documentary, one that shows just how strong the bond between people and dogs can be. How every culture regards dogs a little differently than the next, but ultimately, no matter how different you may think one culture is from another, we can all unite in the sentiment We Don’t Deserve Dogs.
Filmmakers Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker travel the globe to countries including North America, Africa, Scotland, and more. All the while, revealing the touching stories of dogs like Chino, who are technically homeless dogs, but has touched the lives of many humans who feed and care for them nonetheless. In stark contrast, we meet dogs like Ming, the Yorkie whose owner, Viviana, takes her everywhere, dresses her daily, and experiences life differently. The way the two filmmakers choose to present each shot adds an air of intimacy that serves to heighten the emotion, and they do that by being a two-person crew. Salleh is the director and cinematographer, while Tucker is the producer and sound recordist, they even do all post-production work themselves. As a viewer, we can see and feel the emotion in each story quite easily, but Salleh and Tucker take it a step further by also making the film feel like a true labor of love, which is an incredible feat on its own.
In several cases, the dogs are a form of solace and comfort for their owners. Such is the case for Filda, a former child soldier from Uganda who faced insurmountable horrors in her early life. When she returned home, she still faces stigma from her neighbors, but a group of survivors like Filda came together, and each given a dog to help them cope with the stigma. “Because dogs don’t point fingers,” explains Filda. Contrasting their relationship are also dogs who work alongside their owners, herding livestock every day. The film expertly digs into the wide variety of ways cultures across the country regard dogs, including Napal, where they have Kukur-Tihar, a day dedicated to celebrating dogs by showering them with treats, a tika, and a garland of flowers as well as prayers.
We Don’t Deserve Dogs is a testament to the way some people rely on dogs for so much more than just companionship, and the way dogs will love us and comfort us unconditionally. It’ll make you smile, cry, and rejoice in the pet(s) you may have at home (or inspire you to go out and adopt one). There is no word yet on whether this documentary will be available on streaming platforms soon, but we certainly hope so. We are lucky that we get to experience the love of a dog, and every dog lover deserves the chance to watch this documentary.
If you want to know more about We Don’t Deserve Dogs, check out our exclusive interview with filmmakers Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker here! Additionally, you can follow Matthew and Rose through Urtext Films social media on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for updates on when and where to catch We Don’t Deserve Dogs. You can also find Matthew and Rose’s previous documentary Barbecue on Netflix now.