A Man’s Dead Best Friend: Revisited

I wrote this a few years ago, but was asked to reprint it by someone.  New material will be added in a few days.  Enjoy this oldie, but a goodie.   Eww I just wrote that.

 

Since the dawn of man, humans have needed companionship. Men need women, women need men and in some cases men need men and so on and so forth. Whatever your pleasure, we all need a best friend, the dog.

Fred had Dino, Timmy had Lassie, The Little Rascals had Petey and of course Charlie Brown had Snoopy, or should that be the other way around.

One thing that always caught my eye was how we human beings can become so attached to our furry friends. Now, I am well aware of how a dog can become part of the family. I owned a few dogs in my time and have gone through the heartache of losing those pets to sickness and even having to give one away because it was ripping our apartment to shreds.

Another thing I always found interesting was the relationship of movies and dogs. For some reason, the death of a dog in any movie is more heartbreaking then when a person dies in a movie. Do we love canines more than our fellow humans?
Is it me? I find myself getting all teary-eyed when a beloved pooch meets an untimely death. I could watch The Terminator kill and maim dozens of humans, but if so much as touches a hair on that cute wittle puppy, so help me!!!

Take for instance, Turner & Hooch. Scott Turner, played by Tom Hanks, is a cop who leads a very organized life. A VERY ORGANIZED LIFE! Anal retentive and very meticulous, his world turns upside down when he reluctantly has to adopt Hooch, French Mastiff, from a murdered friend. Hooch proceeds to tear Turner’s life apart, literally. He eats or slobbers just about everything he comes into contact with in Turner’s life. As the movie progresses, Turner & Hootch become a great duo. Turner starts to learn to share his life with his new found friend. As Turner closes in on his friends killer, there is a final climactic scene where he is about to catch the killer’s but is outnumbered and in comes Hootch to save the day, by you guessed it… taking a freakin bullet for Turner. In the next scene we see Hootch dying at the veterinarian with a very emotionally wrecked Turner crying. I remember seeing this in the theater and crying my fat little eyes out. I was ok with shots being fired at Tom Hanks, but killing Hootch was just wrong. Granted, we find out Hootch fathered some puppies and everyone, except Hootch, lived happily ever after. SPECIAL FEATURE: Carl Winslow from Family Matters is in this movie, that’s a win-win.

Next up is, I Am Legend. This is a remake of Omega Man, which in turn is the remake of The Last Man on Earth. Ouch, I just hurt myself. In this movie, we are told that Will Smith’s character Dr. Robert Neville is the last man alive on the entire planet. Let me repeat this, HE IS THE LAST MAN ALIVE ON THE PLANET. That alone should make you want to crawl up in a corner and cry. A deadly plague has turned most humans into daylight hating, zombie vampires. They have amazing speed and superhuman strength. Robert Neville, is the last man in New York City, but he is not alone. He is accompanied by his trusty companion, Sam. Sam, short for Samantha is a German Shepherd who was originally Neville’s daughter’s dog. She gave Sam to Neville when Neville was getting his wife and daughter off of Manhattan Island.

Throughout the movie, we are shown flashbacks as to how the plague began and how Manhattan was first evacuated and then quarantined. Simply put, blow up all the bridges and tunnels, good luck and God speed trapped Manhattanites. Back in present day, Neville and Sam cruise around Manhattan in a new Mustang, chasing deer for food and trying to find a cure for the disease. Neville is slowly going insane and has set up mannequins in stores for his amusement. On one outing, Neville notices some of his mannequins have been moved. He investigates and is quickly snared and knocked unconscious by a trap set up by the zombie vampires. Like a trusty companion should, Sam protects Neville. As Sam awakes and the sun begins to set, infected dogs are preparing to attack the trapped Neville. As the shadows grow closer, so do the dogs. Sam defends Neville and in the melee Sam gets bitten. Neville escapes in the nick of time and hurries back to his fortified home to try and save Sam. As hard as Neville tries to save his beloved Sam, he cannot and as she begins to turn into one of the infected. In a gut-wrenching emotional scene, Neville in tears, with Sam in his arms, snaps her neck and… and… I’m sorry, I need a moment. Give me a second, ok folks. Sniffles, sigh… Ok, sorry about that. Neville has no choice to kill his pooch. Now here I am, in a packed movie theater in a post-apocalyptic movie which happens to be one of my favorite genres, crying my chubby little eyes out. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone. The rest of the story is not important. Poor Samantha is dead. Seriously, Neville should just kill himself, his little pooch is gone. Really, what reason does he have to live? Oh yeah, finding a cure, saving mankind, blah, blah, blah!

The next two movies I am going to quickly discuss because although the dog dies in the end, there is no human in real danger of death to compare it too. The first is Marley & Me. In Marley & Me, Marley is a Golden Retriever that is a puppy in the beginning of the movie. The movie is basically the story of Marley and his owners and the journey that their lives take together. Marley cause many mishaps and hi-jinks and as he gets older he gets sick, the better, then sick again and then DEAD! Think you are going to see a fun comedy about a cute little dog. NOOOOO! This is a horror movie. It should be rated R.

The next movie is Old Yeller. I like to call this movie Kleenex. Pretty self-explanatory. If you do not cry at the end of this movie, call a doctor because you have no heart. Yeller is a Labrador Retriever/Mastiff mix and quickly attaches himself to the heartstrings of young Travis. After Yeller becomes infected with rabies, young Travis has a decision to make. He has to shoot his beloved dog. HE’S A BOY! Really Dad, you couldn’t just load Yeller up into the back of the station wagon and take him out to “live” on a farm. Ok, ok, granted they live in frontier times so no station wagon and well, they live on a farm already so he could have just taken the damn dog and shot him, but no Mr. Brady here has to teach his young son how to be a man, so lets him decide to kill his own dog. “Hi, my name is Travis; I am here for my therapy appointment.”

I am sure there are plenty more movies like this, but these four horror shows stick out like sore thumbs.

Your doggone quote: “I’m a mog. Half man, half dog. I’m my own best friend.” –Barf
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About Frank Messina

Just an average guy, stuck in a crappy job. A Dad, a Father, a Mailman. I like cars, food and laughing like a fat guy.
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