“A Dog’s Purpose”: When a Book Goes Hollywood and Haywire

I’ve always been that person who has to read the book before I see the movie. Why? THE MOVIE IS NEVER AS GOOD AS THE BOOK. Never. I’ve read many books before I knew the movie was going to be made and then of course I go through the “I HAVE to see this movie” phase, then I become highly disappointed afterwards because they didn’t include my favorite part of the book.

Recently there has been a scandal involving a book called “A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron. I read this book about a year ago and as a dog-lover, veterinary technician, and advocate for shelter animals, I soaked up every bit of cuteness this book had to offer. I’m talking Golden Retriever walking her puppies on a leash cute.


I know, ridiculous.

The book follows the spirit of a dog named Bailey who lives many different dogs lives. There are moments of joyfulness, sadness, and I laughed out loud a few times. It was truly an all-around good-feeling book. So when I heard this book was becoming a movie, I was instantly drawn to it. I watched the trailer and sobbed uncontrollably for 20 min after (if you haven’t seen it, click here). The trailer made animal lovers everywhere fall in love. However, like I’ve seen many times before, social media got to the movie first.


TMZ originally posted the video, which if you haven’t seen it click here. The video was filmed in November of 2015 and depicts a German shepherd named Hercules filming a water scene. The water is very rough and that darn shepherd just does not want to go into the water. Therefore, the handler is doing what has been referred to as “pushing” or even “forcing” him into the water. Since this video surfaced about a week or so ago, animal lovers, PETA, and people all over the world have been arguing over what really happened with Hercules in the water.

I will be completely honest with you, I thought that along with hundreds maybe even thousands of people around the world, I would be boycotting this movie. However, there are so many different stories out there right now it’s hard to know what to believe. Since I first saw the video, there have been many interviews and news articles online that have stated reasons why the video seemed so harsh. Here are a few that I’ve heard recently:

  1. The dog loved the water, but when shooting the actual scene the dog didn’t want to get into the water.
  2. The dog was on the opposite side of the pool from where they had been putting him in the water and that frightened him.
  3. There were divers in the water just in case anything was to happen.
  4. The pool was not that deep and it was lined with pads of some-sort on the bottom so that the dog could touch if he put his feet down.
  5. The trainer was trying to encourage the dog to get into the water and as soon as they realized he wasn’t going to get in, the stopped the shoot.

After hearing all these things, can any of us really say we know what happened? No one really knows except the people who were there that day. For all we know, that video could have been completely fabricated by someone who did not want to see the movie succeed. If that’s the case, what a sad world we live in. Unfortunately, because of this video, the movie is taking a huge hit only a week before it’s release. The movie premiere has been canceled, actors are asking questions, PETA is having a field day, and the animal-loving community is in an uproar.

This movie will cause me and many people to come to a difficult decision within the next couple of days. Every human being who has a heart for animals will be questioning whether or not they should support the movie due to the way Hercules was treated in the video. On one side, this movie has been a must-see since the trailer came out in August! It’s been six long months of waiting for this highly anticipated movie to be released. It looks so cute, fun, and fluffy that I just don’t know if I can handle not seeing it. On the other side, my animal rights activist persona says there is no way you can go to that movie and feel good about it afterwards, especially if you have to watch that part Hercules was filming. It was a distasteful way to treat an animal and I hope the person responsible is being held accountable for his actions.

Having said all that, I do believe the movie had all the animals’ best interests at heart. They simply failed to find a trainer that knew when enough was enough. I mean, look at some of the dogs in this film.

Yes, this dog is doing his “job,” but he sure doesn’t look unhappy about it.


Now puppies are always cute, but there’s something about a puppy and a happy kid that makes it all that much sweeter.


No words need to accompany this picture, the softness and gentleness speak volumes.


And I’m a bit jealous of this dog because who doesn’t love Dennis Quaid?


And these guys sure look like a happy bunch.


No human, child, or four-legged furry friend who is dedicated to seeing this movie should be judged. Part of being a good human being is understanding that certain people view the world differently. When it comes to dogs, many of us view them differently as well. For example; I’m a huge fan of Cesar Milan because I believe although his methods may sometimes seem harsh, they work and I’ve never seen him physically harm an animal. However, I know people who view him and his methods as inhumane and don’t believe that dogs should be trained that way. Either way, it’s all in how you view him as a dog trainer. If you choose not to see the movie because of this incident, you have every right to be upset and boycott. Again, it’s all in how you view this entire thing. I personally feel saddened for everyone involved who have put so much time and effort into this movie and book and will now more than likely find a great deal of resistance while releasing it. And to those dog-loving bookworms who have waited months and months for the movie’s release only to be let down by such an event.

I have always believed that dogs are God’s greatest gift to man and we should treat them with love, respect, and a great deal of care. We animal advocates have to be their voice. Whether you see the movie or not, read the book, or don’t…just remember that we all see the world we live in differently and this is just one small problem in a world filled with so much hate, violence, and intolerance that we have bigger fish to fry.

Let me know, are you going to see “A Dog’s Purpose” in theatres or are you boycotting it? What are your thoughts?




4 thoughts on ““A Dog’s Purpose”: When a Book Goes Hollywood and Haywire

  1. So torn. The story is wonderful but I’m not sure I can watch it after seeing that video. Whatever the story behind it, that dog did NOT want to go into that water at that particular time . .. yet he was being forced to. That makes me really uncomfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a very uncomfortable situation. What I really have been thinking though is why did someone save this until a week before the movie was released? They filmed it way back in November of 2015. Why did they wait till now to do it? If that dog had been mistreated, something would have came out right away as it was happening. It’s a bit suspicious, so I wonder…are we missing something?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s