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Netflix’s ‘Dogs’ is so much more than another funny pet video

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Don’t get me wrong: I love a good funny pet compilation. (That’s practically the only thing YouTube’s “play next” algorithm suggests for me anymore.) But, in the best ways imaginable, Netflix’s Dogs is so much more than just another cute clip.

Executive produced by Amy Berg and Glen Zipper, this six-part anthology series documents the lives of numerous furry subjects, as well as those of the people who surround and care for them. 

“What really intrigued us was the opportunity to tell the story of the bond between human beings and dogs,” Zipper said of the project. “When you’re telling the story through that lens, it offers an opportunity to introduce us to so many different types of journeys, so many different types of characters and challenges, all with stakes that ultimately need to be paid off in one way or the other.” 

Dogs accomplishes that mission with flying colors. From competition pooches to service doggos, the featured pups guide us through six stories that are furry on the outside, but undeniably human at heart.

Here are a few of the many ways Dogs champions bigger concepts than the adorable pet snapshot—broken up by a bunch of adorable pet snapshots that feature Mashable’s own best friends.

Tyrion, Nola, & Dexter (top left), Noelle (top right), Dudley (bottom left), and Eddie (bottom right)

Tyrion, Nola, & Dexter (top left), Noelle (top right), Dudley (bottom left), and Eddie (bottom right)

Image: scott perlin / Chloe bryan / ciaran cole / Corey beasley

Dogs paints an empathetic portrait of children with disabilities. 

Centering on service dogs, Episode 1 doesn’t exactly break new documentary ground; to most, the concept of animal aid is familiar. However, the story’s details manage to shed new, relatable light on these pups’ essential and emotional work.

Revealing the nitty gritty of these dogs’ complicated training as well as spotlighting the daily challenges faced by their owners, “The Kid with a Dog” chronicles the meeting of Corrine, a young girl with epilepsy, and Rory, her new alert service dog.

Dogs poetically depicts how Rory will help the whole family with Corrine’s seizures and, almost as importantly, teaches viewers to see Corrine not as “the kid with seizures” but instead as “the kid with a dog.”

A golden retriever offers a clear and concise explainer on the global threat of overfishing.

No, really. 

In Episode 3, Ice and his owner, Alessandro, guide viewers through the potentially devastating impacts the declining fish population of Lake Como, Italy could pose for their livelihood. The result is as educational as it is resonant, foregoing facts and figures to instead focus on the personal side, emotionally imploring viewers to think practically.

Roofus (top), Liddy (bottom left), Luna (bottom middle), and Merlin (bottom right)

Roofus (top), Liddy (bottom left), Luna (bottom middle), and Merlin (bottom right)

Image: brian wong / alisa stern / veronica gutierrez / john d’amico

“Bravo, Zeus” is a surprisingly poignant reflection on the Syrian refugee crisis.

Long-standing conflict in Syria has forced millions to flee their homes. Consequently, thousands of pets have been abandoned in the process.

Episode 2 documents the struggle of Ayham and Zeus, a master and his beloved husky, as they attempt to reconnect across international borders. Putting specific faces to this ongoing humanitarian crisis, Dogs enlightens viewers on the realities of living in a war zone—as well as highlights the obstacles even those who have escaped continue to face.

“Scissors Down” provides a loving homage to the passion of hobbyists.

Undoubtedly the most of fun of the chapters, Episode 4 takes viewers inside the world of competitive dog grooming. 

Regularly putting style and substance on the same plane, this high-stakes narrative features amazing costuming, precise preparation, and an unexpected meditation on cultural difference. It is a notable achievement in juggling multiple themes without sacrificing entertainment value.

Nola (left), Georgia (top right), and Minnie & Daisy (bottom right)

Nola (left), Georgia (top right), and Minnie & Daisy (bottom right)

Image: Alison foreman / jake krol / katarina silverman

Dogs may be the solution to America’s bipartisan nightmare.

“No matter how divided we are, particularly across the political spectrum, love for dogs is something that brings everybody together,” Zippers says of the series.

“You have two people on opposite ends of the political spectrum, a red state person and a blue state person. And then, a dog walks up and both of those people together will get down on their knees and coo over that dog.” 

It’s a simple yet powerful image. And while a pet-centric documentary certainly cannot “fix” the long-standing political stratification of the United States, it could help those who see it reach across the proverbial aisle. 

Wigan (left) and Dax (right)

Wigan (left) and Dax (right)

Image: joseph green / jess joho

Dogs is a warm collaboration from some of the genre’s greatest talents.

While Dogs‘ cuddly cast fittingly steals the spotlight, its crew is just as worthy of note. 

Executive producer Amy Berg is just one of many creators behind Dogs previously nominated for an Academy Award. This past recognition exemplifies the level of quality you can expect from the series. 

Stunning filmography paired with exact narrative pacing allows for each story to unfold in a way that is at once perfectly inviting and effortlessly natural. 

These furry faces make a compelling argument for viewers to adopt companions of their own.

Luckily for the parents of precocious children, Dogs doesn’t outright tell you to head for the local animal shelter. However, if you are part of a petless home, it may make your couch feel extra lonely.

Explaining the motivation behind her involvement in Dogs, Berg shared a simple hope. 

“It brings people together if you have a dog. I’d like to encourage people to save an animal and enhance the quality of their life.”

Throughout all six episodes, this message resonates. Dogs consistently details how we can help man’s best friend, but it shines when displaying how man’s best friend can help us. As scene-after-scene leaves you beaming with joy, you’ll almost definitely start itching to “just go visit.”

Fredddy (left), Mei & Fozzie Bear (top right), Mya (center right), and Mimi (bottom right)

Fredddy (left), Mei & Fozzie Bear (top right), Mya (center right), and Mimi (bottom right)

Image: Tara flanigan / adam rosenberg / the dejesus family / alexis nedd

These first six installments are the beginning of something so, so good.

Without going into specifics, Berg and Zipper alluded to dozens of puppy-centric stories they were unable to tell in a Season 1, but remain eager to explore in a possible Season 2. 

They’re also looking forward to finding more as they go.   

“Now that the world is going to be introduced to this series and these stories and these journeys, we have every expectation that people are going to start telling us their stories—and they’re going to be coming to us,” Zipper told Mashable.

Assuming the canine adventures begin rolling in as Zipper hopes, those of us looking forward to more Dogs should not be disappointed. 

Oh! And, yes, Mashable can confirm: Cats is on the way.

Dogs is streaming on Netflix now.

Stella (top left), Monty (top center), Max (top right), and Mingo, Margot, & Gloria (bottom)

Stella (top left), Monty (top center), Max (top right), and Mingo, Margot, & Gloria (bottom)

Image: dorothy pitti / barret wertz 

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