Why I watch dog rescue videos with caution

by | Jun 7, 2021 | Dogs & Other Creatures | 3 comments |

rescue dogs

“Aw, Keith, come look. Dog rescue videos like this are so cute! See the mama with her puppies?” Keith wandered over to my desk and looked over my shoulder at the video playing on my laptop. I was taking a break from writing; apparently he was, too. Unlike in this photograph, our three dogs sprawled on the deck outside, keeping watch.

“There’s nothing cuter than puppies,” Keith said, smiling. The pups tumbled over one another, batted their mama’s muzzle, and licked the dog fosterer’s hand. At the end of the video, the text on the screen thanked the rescuers and fosterers by name and said the puppies and mama had all been adopted.

Dog rescue videos

I love watching dog rescue videos on days when there’s more negative than positive news, which means every day. Sometimes while checking social media sites, I want to see human kindness in action—and happy endings. The dogs in those videos always end up healthy and happy, running around and playing with their tongues lolling. Most end up living in forever homes, or the video indicates that the dog is available for adoption. Of course, the dogs’ stories all began unhappily, and there’s the rub.

We don’t like to think that people would abandon a dog to fend for itself on the street or dump an animal in the middle of nowhere. Or that people would intentionally abuse a dog. No food, water, walks, exercise, play, attention, stroking, love and attention. But humans don’t always behave responsibly, and some are downright mean, especially if there’s money to be made.

Fake dog rescue videos 

Many rescue videos are made by legitimate non-profit organizations that help dogs. But some rescue videos are faked, that is, staged, and the staging often endangers the animals. Most of these videos use street dogs, adding to their suffering because they are already in desperate shape. 

Why do people make fake videos? To monetize their sites through selling advertisements. The more eyes-on views and shares, the more advertisers will pay. Producers of faked rescue videos rely on sharing and know people share because they have tender-hearted feelings for the animals. In other words, fake video producers manipulate people’s feelings and count on them not to think.

Sharing legitimate rescue videos benefits the dogs through viewer donations. But sharing fake videos benefits the abusers. That’s why I consider the source, as with everything read, watched, seen, or heard.

How to tell a fake a dog rescue video

Here are some questions to ask and tips from a dog advocacy group:

  • Who made this video? Look for a legitimate non-profit organization’s name attached to the video.
  • How did the rescuers arrive on the scene? Rescuers usually get a call from a concerned person and show up with equipment specifically for a rescue. 
  • Does it seem like the rescuers are there to help? Rescue workers get to work right away; they don’t stand around filming while an animal is suffering.
  • Does the video have a description? Rescue groups almost always link to their site so you can donate.

I’m a big fan of dogs and have blogged about ours. In fact, giving harder-to-place big dogs a home is a mission Keith and I share. So, for the next three weeks, I’ll tell the stories of our three adopted dogs—in words rather than videos, and all with happy endings.

3 Comments

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you for your comment. Reputable sources, indeed, the Word being the ultimate. Any other source must be weighed carefully.

      Reply

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