In the movie “Hotel for Dogs,” many of the 35 plus dogs on the set, according to American Humane, were once former shelter dogs. In fact, 75 to 80 percent of pets in film are discovered in animal shelters only to be adopted by cast or crew after the filming ends, they say.
It seems only Hollywood recognizes great raw talent.
That’s because only 10 to 20 percent of potential adopters actually think of an animal shelter as the first place to find fabulous pets, according to the ASPCA. Can you believe that?
Imagine what adopters are missing by not visiting animal shelters for their next pet: Filmmakers realize shelters are loaded with personality plus pets who, after some dedicated training, are able to stand toe-to-toe with movie stars — and sit quietly at the dinner table.
But who looks out for the dog stars (and the many other animals) that get that golden ticket to Hollywood? From “Snakes on a Plane” to “Hotel for Dogs,” if there are animals on a movie set then American Humane has a safety representative there to make sure that the animal actors are not in harm’s way, even though movie magic might make it seem so.
In a conversation recently with Beth Langhorst, Senior AH certified Safety Representative, who has also been on such movie sets as “Cats and Dogs” and “Pirates of the Carribbean,” she said the most challenging part of monitoring “Hotel for Dogs,” was that “every guideline American Humane has regarding dogs in film was probably used at some point during the production,” she says. “Whenever you have that many dogs on a film, there are a lot of sight gags and special effects that need to be monitored.”
From making sure the smallest dog had lightweight props to overseeing a scene in which dogs run through the streets in “traffic,” Langhurst spent three months on the film overseeing the animal action and ensuring every dog stayed safe and completely out of harm’s way.
“Hotel for Dogs” is about two foster kids who, in wanting to keep their Jack Russell Terrier named Friday hidden from their foster mom, end up converting an old abandoned hotel building into, well, you guessed it, a hotel for dogs. With no place to rest their heads, strays from all over the city find them and take up residence at the hotel.
Landhurst says, “The underlying message of the film is that there are many dogs out there who need permanent homes.” After seeing the movie, I am sure there will no shortage of kids begging for a new family pet. Of course this is not a decision to be made in haste, but I do hope that potential adopters will put animal shelters first on their list of places to go to find a new family pet.
Barack Obama recently said, “Shelter dogs are mutts like me.”
That’s just more proof shelter dogs “got it going on.”