DOXA 2019 review: Buddy

(Netherlands)

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      A tribute to the sheer genius of service dogs, and dogs in general, Buddy introduces us to a number of canines living, working, and being very good boys and girls in Amsterdam, illuminating how each adapts to the needs of its human partner.

      There’s long-haired retriever Makker, who makes a great running mate for blind but spry octogenarian Edith van der Meulen, and there’s Labradoodle Kaiko, who can fill a basket with groceries for paraplegic Erna Aarsen and pay for them.

      In one unforgettable sequence we see how avidly the poodle Mister observes veteran Trevor Veira, suffering an unsettling episode of PTSD right on camera. The emotional benefits to both species are clear, and an apparent telepathy in some cases impossible to ignore.

      Of course, if your inclination is to holler “Anthropomorphizing!” like some pouty little Neil deGrasse Tyson, then forget it. You’ve likely never had a true relationship with one of these friends from the more-than-human world, or pondered the privilege extended by them to us. For anyone else, this amounts to about 90 minutes of going “Awwww…”

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