Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman

If you have a Labrador retriever, you know what I am about to say is the truth.


They are the smartest dog and the dumbest dog you will ever meet.


My black lab will remember if I have left the front door open. He remembers every place he has ever seen a cat or a rabbit. He knows how to find hidden candy and makes the nightly search for food that has fallen to the floor or simply left out on the table.


But the moment he gets loose, my Storm becomes the biggest idiot on the planet. He runs to yards that have dogs and purposely gets them barking. He runs into the street without looking, runs up to people and barks at them for no reason.


The other night when it was raining, my black lab got out of the house. How it happened does not matter because he will take advantage of anyone when he wants to escape. But there we were, trying to catch a black dog on a night with an inky black sky. We could barely see him and tried to do what works best which is make him follow us.


Well, eventually, we succeeded in doing just that. But not before he was almost hit by a car. Thankfully that car made him slow down and we caught him. But for a moment I thought the dog was going to get hit and I would not have blamed the other driver one bit as he is so hard to see.


We were lucky but one of my neighbors was not. Their dog died in a similar incident.


Losing a pet like that matters. Pets become a part of our daily lives, a member of the family. They depend on us for everything, even that daily walk. Neighbors have told me sad stories over the years of the loss of a pet. Maybe it was a different dog that killed their dog or a long illness or a sudden cold that did in the animal. But what was most important was how the loss of the pet was felt by the family.


This is reflected in movies as well.


Poster Image from

I am not sure how many people saw Old Yeller. It is about a family in post-civil war Texas who is adopted by a dog. The father played by Fess Parker, is out of town on a cattle run and the oldest son has been put ‘in-charge.’ His first instincts are to chase off the dog but Yeller proves his worth time and time again.


Sadly, there is an illness going around that affects animals and Yeller gets it after protecting his family one more time. The boy must make a hard decision most adults do not want to face.


I can’t say you won’t cry when you watch this movie; I am certainly thinking about it as I write about this movie. While this movie is better suited for tweener family members and those who are older.

Another movie that focuses on the loss of a pet that is best suited for all members of the family is Bolt voiced by John Travolta. The story is about a TV dog that is purposely lost and works to find his way back to his owner. But along the way, Bolt learns some lessons about making friends and living life in the moment as he has never done before.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.