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June 12, 2010

An Unbreakable Bond

Documentary 'Mine' looks into the lives of displaced pets and owners after Katrina

If you weren't already a believer in the saying that a dog is man's best friend, you will be after watching Mine, a 2009 documentary about the pets that survived Hurricane Katrina, their subsequent journeys, and whether or not they were reunited with their owners.

Distributed on DVD by Film Movement (a terrific indie movie "club" chronicled by our friend Jeffrey Overstreet here), Mine has been hailed by various critics as "a must see" and "Oscar material." I'd add words like "tearjerker" and "heartwarming" and "a testament to passion and compassion" -- especially pertaining to the people who rescued these animals from New Orleans and tried desperately to reunite them with their owners . . . or at least get them placed into good homes.

It's that last effort -- placing the pets in good homes -- that's the most gut-wrenching of all in this film. Those who took on the "orphaned" pets were doing a very good thing, sometimes as "foster parents," sometimes as permanent new homes. But then, when the original owner would finally find out the whereabouts of his/her old pet, they of course would want them back. The new families, already attached to the new pet (sometimes a year or more had passed), were sometimes reluctant to give them up -- and that subplot plays out as one of the film's most stirring, because there are no easy answers.

The filmmakers follow a handful of journeys here -- of Katrina survivors both human and animal -- and several of the storylines have happy endings. But, since this is real life, some of them don't, and that's the hardest part of this film. But it's an eye-opener to a situation that could happen again in the wake of a disaster -- natural or not. What laws and mechanisms are in place to take care of the pets left behind when people have to flee so quickly -- and their pets are not allowed to come along?

A highly recommended film. Check out the trailer here:


Thanks for the recommendation! I see it's available for Instant viewing on Netflix right now, for those who are members.