New dog film honors bond between dogs and veterans

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New dog film honors bond between dogs and veterans
Lucas (Jonah Hauer King), Bella (Shelby) and Terri (Ashley Judd) in Columbia Pictures' A Dog's Way Home. Photo courtesy of James Dittiger.

This heartwarming new dog film reminds us of the problems surrounding BSL, and the unwavering power of the human-canine bond.

A Dog’s Way Home, which hit theatres in January, is a heartwarming film that manages to address several important themes. It centers on the human-animal bond, breed-specific legislation, and the special relationship between canines and retired war veterans. The film tells the story of Bella, a sweet rescue pit bull and her adopter, Lucas, who works at a Veterans’ Affairs hospital. Lucas’ mother and former veteran Terri is a frequent patient at the hospital, and soon Bella starts tagging along. Before long, she’s providing companionship to the other veterans – until a breed ban forces her family to give her up.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) collaborated with Sony Pictures and has been active promoting the film due to its alignment with multiple organizational initiatives. VA hospitals feature prominently in the movie and the HSUS has a new program, Operation Hero-Animal Bond, that was created in partnership with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. It aims to improve the lives of veterans and shelter animals through adoption and promoting the value of the human-animal bond. The HSUS also has long-standing anti-breed-specific policies, and, according to Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, the hope is that the release of A Dog’s Way Home will generate a bigger discussion about ending such bans.