What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a cute movie, and young dog lovers will definitely want to see it. However, sensitive kids may be alarmed by the mistreatment of dogs here -- the dogs are in constant peril and kept in horrible conditions. They are chased by men with tranquilizer guns and held at gunpoint. Also, the family featured here isn't exactly The Partridge Family: the stepfather is abusive both to his family and the dogs he keeps in his backyard puppy mill, and the mother is a weak woman who stays with her abusive husband because "two parents are better than one" and "we have to eat". Parents should also know that the movie has some mild epithets and insults ("jeez," "why the devil," "idiot," "pansy". A strength of the movie is the portrayal of African-American characters of integrity and dedication.
- Families can talk about animal cruelty and the abuse that Colby and his mother put up with. Both Hatchett and Colby's mother use the same excuse -- that they need to eat. What alternatives do they have? Why did Colby tell the puppy they were both different? They can talk about Mr. Finch's gentle approach to making friends with Lizard Tongue. What does it mean to say that "it takes a special kind of person to admit he was wrong?" Families might also want to talk about how their community deals with stray dogs and how people, even children, can help prevent abuse of people and animals.