Any dog owner has done this… settled down on the couch, bowl of popcorn in hand. You start to watch a movie with your favorite animal, and then it happens – an animal left behind, a lost pet, the final moments between owner and dog.
And then it comes… the waterworks. Tears, snot, everything. It happens every time. Why? Because we are animal lovers!
Sharing our daily lives with our four legged friends let’s us experience this special bond. And it isn’t just something that is unique, but something that is universal to all animals lovers. A dog in peril on a movie screen will help dissolve anyone into a puddle of tears.
These are a few of my favorite dog movies for your weeping pleasure. There are a few spoilers, so beware, but I did try to make it spoiler free.
Homeward Bound (1993)
Homeward Bound is a story of family and perseverance, and the amazing bond between animals and their people. Shadow, Chance and Sassy are three pets that are left behind when their owners move half way across America. The animals decide to team up and set off on an adventure of their own to be reunited with their family.
There are lots of really sweet and bitter sweet moments in this film. When Peter leaves Shadow behind on his aunt’s ranch, I couldn’t help but tear up as they drove away, Shadow looking at the leaving car, tempted to chase it, but constantly reminding himself of Peter’s last command of “stay”. Talk about true dog loyalty. As he later tell’s Chance “Dogs are supposed to be faithful, loyal and true.”
This whole film is about loyalty, and family. A real feel good movie, although definitely full of cry-worthy moments.
Hachiko: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
Hachiko is based on a real Japanese Akita of the same name that is known to be the most faithful dog in the world. During his owner’s life, Hachiko greeted him at the end of each day at Shibuya Station after his shift at the University of Tokyo. The pair continued their daily routine until one day, the professor did not return. Hachiko continued to return to the station for the next nine years, nine months and fifteen days – waiting for his owner’s return.
This movie is based on this premise but more Americanized and modern. But regardless, I pretty much cried through the whole movie. It’s hard to hold back the tears as you think witness the undying loyalty between man and beast, the ultimate friendship and the final moments when they get to be together forever.
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
Another classic movie, this animated film begins with a young red fox named Tod, and a hound dog named Cooper who start off as best of friends, despite being different types of canines. Despite the warning that they won’t be friends in the future, Tod still has hope. Then Cooper becomes a hunting dog and Tod becomes his prey. Another story of friendship, between the most unlikely of pairs.
Marley & Me (2008)
The life as a first time dog owner isn’t easy, and that isn’t any exception for Marley’s new dad. Although Marley may have made life difficult for his owners, beyond ridiculously difficult, you still can’t forget the amazing relationship between dogs and their people.
What makes this movie extra touching is the fact that we see Marley from puppyhood to adulthood. We see him grow and change, and we have a stronger relationship with him. When we see old age hit, and him start to deteriorate we are reminded of the short moment we have with our pets, and how soon we lose them to the rainbow bridge.
Old Yeller (1957)
Probably the go-to “sad dog movie” in the world. The film focuses on a boy and his stray dog in post-Civil War Texas. It isn’t until the end of the movie that it gets sad. Old Yeller saves the family from a rabid wolf, and gets bitten – the dog’s best friend has to make the ultimate sacrifice. Here comes the waterworks.