Sunday, April 5, 2020

Digital streaming debut for the pet-lovers' movie of the year: Cindy Meehl's THE DOG DOC

It took but ten minutes into the new opened-theatrically-but-then-the-theaters-all-closed-so-now-it's-streaming-digitally documentary, THE DOG DOC, before my tears began flowing. If you, too, are a sucker for needy animals and the people who help them, this is certainly the movie for you.

For many of us, that would be enough, but this particular film, produced and directed by Cindy Meehl (shown at right), offers a lot more, TrustMovies believes, because it and the main physician in it, the veterinarian Dr. Martin Goldstein, practices a form of integrative medicine that the farther you get into this documentary the more you may question why we humans are not being treated in this manner by our own current medical establishment.

Dr. Goldstein (below, with patient) has been practicing for some 45 years now, and from what we see of him, his staff and the satisfied owners of his clients, he has been pretty damned successful. Less successful has been his attempts to bring his form of Integrative veterinary medicine -- which "combines conventional therapies with complementary and alternative medicine for a comprehensive collaboration of diagnosis and treatment" -- into greater usage throughout the veterinary establishment.

His results with patients -- granted they're anecdotal and piecemeal -- remain awfully impressive. Dr. Marty, as he is known, invites naysayers to come into his establishment and watch what goes on. When one of these professionals does just that -- we hear about this from the formerly disbelieving doctor himself, after the fact -- he literally faints dead away. Not out of horror but from pure amazement.

Ms Meehl knows how to make a smart, appealing movie. From the outset, as she introduces our hero and shows us the patients he treats, the documentary amuses and informs. One of the doc's first patients we meet is Waffles, a short-haired white dog near death from a rabies shot that probably oughtn't have been administered. Goldstein is definitely not anti-vaccine, but only healthy dogs ought to be vaccinated, he insists ("It says this right on the label of the medicine!"). Otherwise, you are further compromising an already compromised immune system.

We return to Waffles (above) and his recovery and further slippage a number of times throughout the film, which is salutary, since this dog's case brings up so many germane issues -- from vaccinations and treatments to how long to keep an animal alive despite its sickness, together with how the dollar cost of treatment impacts on the whole scenario.

Two other dogs, given up on by conventional methods, are brought to Goldstein with cancer of the jaw. How these play out are quite different but, again, both are handled intelligently and with great care by doctor and pet owners, while giving us a most interesting look into cryosurgery.

Along the way, we learn about Goldstein's history and his current family life, all of which adds to our enjoyment and understanding. At the inspiring finale, we're with the good doctor as he addresses a class of veterinary medicine students at his alma mater, Cornell University. Over the end credits we're treated to a great old Cat Stevens song that, if you've never heard it, will put a smile on your face. If you already know it, what a delight to hear it again!

From FilmRise and running 101 minutes, The Dog Doc is available now to stream digitally via Amazon and/or iTunes.

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