Emily Blevins , News Editor

For those of you who are avid users of most social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, you may be aware of the current controversy regarding the new upcoming movie, “A Dog’s Purpose.” After watching previews and trailers for the film, it is pretty easy to gather the just of the plot, along with its potential to be a crowd-pleaser. Personally, when I first saw a preview for this movie, I instantly had the desire to see it as soon as it hit the theaters. Essentially, the movie is trying to show the viewers just how impactful a dog’s company can be in the lives of any and everyone. To do this, the film begins with a dog named Bailey and is the pet to a family, and more specifically a young boy within the family named Ethan. The boy grows up with the dog constantly by his side and, as you can imagine, when the dog passes, it is a very sorrowful event in his owner’s life. The movie doesn’t end with this rather depressing scene, however. The dog is actually reincarnated, but as a new dog with new people to make a positive impact on. This happens several times all throughout the movie to put a greater emphasis on the true purpose of dogs.  Towards the end of the movie, when reincarnating once again, this final dog is reunited with his original owner, Ethan. Obviously this sounds like a pretty good, heartfelt movie for people who have a passion for dogs. However, within the past month, a video was recently released of some “behind the scenes” footage of the film, in which it seems as though a dog is abused.

Many people, including myself, that were definitely planning to see the film found this video very shocking. I was honestly taken back when I first saw the short combination of bits and pieces from some of the behind the scenes. The video that was becoming more and more popular by the day, getting extremely negative feedback when it was first released into the public, was showing the “training” of the German Sheppard that plays a big role in the movie.  The dog was said to be in the training process of learning to swim in a large amount of churning water for one of the scenes in the movie in which the dog has to rescue someone who is caught in the rapids. The video itself showed a dog being forced into the water, and it was obvious that the dog unwillingly had to go in it. The very ending clip of the video displayed the dog fighting against the water, and then getting pulled under the current. The very thought of this happening to any animal really breaks my heart.

The controversy from this is basically rooted in whether the footage is completely “honest” or not. There are several sources saying that the video was taken over a year ago and was doctored to make it seem as though the dog was being harmed when in reality it was not. Many people are unsure of whether the movie is worth seeing and spending money on now, and it seems as though even more people have definitely changed their minds about the entire situation and are spreading the word to not support the film no matter what. Regardless of what the multiple different sources say, I think that I am going to play it safe and unfortunately not see the film, rather than risk supporting something that possibly abused animals just to get a good shot for a scene in a movie. PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals nonprofit organization, has been and is investigating the situation and is currently encouraging everyone to refrain from going and seeing the film. My heart breaks for animals that have been through any kind of abuse, and if this movie really did abuse the animals that were a part of its making, the people who encouraged and helped this should be ashamed of themselves. Animals are not actors; they are just animals.