“The Dog Doc” Gives Hope To Animal Lovers


Anyone with a pet knows how intensely painful it is to see them suffer and not know how to help. For many, a trip to the veterinarian ultimately ends in a sad goodbye. The new documentary, The Dog Doc, looks at a vet trying a new way to save our furry friends. It’s a modest yet compelling doc, showing us how medical science is a field with room for many ideas, some of which are unduly dismissed as radical. This doesn’t reinvent the wheel, not in the slightest, but non fiction fans, as well as animal lovers, will find something interesting here. Especially if you have a pet, this is well worth seeing.

The film is a look at Doctor Marty Goldstein, a pioneer in the field of integrative veterinary medicine. Equally considered to be a bold miracle worker and a nut job, Dr. Goldstein takes a different path in helping pets. He’s opted to holistically treat animals, specifically ones that have come to him after other vets have given up. Dr. Goldstein believes that by combining the more conventional medical training that most vets use with cutting edge alternative therapies, he can do some good in the world. Basically, his thought process is a more empathetic one, as opposed to purely clinical, with a philosophy that believes in improving overall health as opposed to just treating disease. This goes for humans as well, but Dr. Goldstein is putting it into practice for dogs and cats, providing the animals, as well as their owners, with hope where there previously was none. That alone makes it somewhat of an optimistic doc, a rarity in the medium. Cindy Meehl directs, with music by Todd Griffin, and cinematography from Nelson Hume.

Documentaries, or even really cinema in general, centered around sick animals can easily pull at the heartstrings. This doc manages to err on the side of being more uplifting than depressing. Dr. Goldstein himself isn’t the most compelling of subjects, but seeing the interactions between vets, pet owners, and the actual treatments for the pets, is fairly interesting. Director Cindy Meehl is clearly focused more on educating and informing than on entertaining, and while that limits the flick, it does help it succeed at its goals. Meehl never preaches either, merely allowing Dr. Goldstein’s theories and practice to speak for itself.

The Dog Doc doesn’t have all of the answers, but it has some interesting ideas that are well worth considering, especially for those willing to do anything in order to help a pet. The pain of losing a loved one is very real, regardless of whether they have four legs or two, and this documentary gets at that. Some of the most effective scenes showcase owners who are visibly emotional, since this is a member of the family. While Meehl’s lax pacing never allows for too much momentum or urgency, the low-key way in which the thesis washes over you makes for intriguing food for thought.

Today, documentary fans can give a shot to The Dog Doc, especially if they happen to be animal lovers. The movie offers up an interesting way to spend about 100 minutes, providing you with excellent food for thought. Some may dismiss it as an issue that only truly matters to folks with the disposable income to spend thousands on a pet, but that somewhat misses the point. Animals deserve this kind of care, just as humans do. It’s an imperfect system, but folks like Dr. Marty Goldstein are doing their part to bring about some much needed change…


Be sure to check out The Dog Doc, now playing in limited release!

(Photos courtesy of FilmRise)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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