Today is National Pet Day, and in honor, I’m sharing a new film by my friend, Larry Kay and my friends at Halo Pets. It’s called P.I. Woof: From the Shelter to the Rescue, and this, the first episode, is called Smellbound. It’s a really cute story with a great message, and it shows how a dog from the shelter has potential many don’t see without training.
On this day, we honor our pets (like we do every day), and in P.I. Woof, Kay began with the premise, What if we trained shelter dogs like movie dogs? He’s been making heartwarming videos of the shelter dogs at Pet Orphans of Southern California for the past year, where positive training is employed with each pup, making them much better adoption candidates.
Larry had wanted to tell a story utilizing the importance of training with shelter dogs, but also, the importance of accepting who we are. His inspiration was as much The Wizard of Oz as his favorite cartoons, where the dastardly villain is bested by our hero. In this case, our hero – P.I. Woof – is a wonderful shelter dog named Trusty. I did a story about Trusty a while back. He was a surrender, because he wouldn’t listen. But, with some positive training, Trusty became such a good boy, Pet Orphans adopted him themselves, and now, Trusty is on his way to becoming a movie star!
What’s it about?
The story goes like this: dogs are being lured to an ominous castle high on a cliff, where bad guy Weevil is brainwashing them and turning them into mindless, wind-up toys. Woof’s sidekick, Eight the Cat (with eight lives instead of nine) smells trouble and summons Woof to the rescue. Together, they speed off into the night on a tricked out motorcycle, Eight riding shotgun.
Woof’s voice, which sounds a bit like Maxwell Smart’s, is done by veteran voice actor, Randy Crenshaw, who’s voiced many popular tv shows, movies and video games; Eight is voiced by fellow Pet Life Radio show host and pet lifestyle expert, Megan Blake.
When Woof’s supersonic canine hearing catches some of the commotion in the castle, he knows exactly who he’s dealing with; his nemesis…Weevil. But, like most dogs, Woof gets distracted when he enters the castle because of, that’s right, food. The smell of chicken is undeniable, but the chicken he finds is, instead, bags of chicken meal. Being a smart P.I., Woof knows chicken meal isn’t the real thing and not worth the nose he’s sniffing it with. Even Weevil is furious his minions settled, and produces a bag of the good stuff, which Woof laps up, sending himself into a psychedelic frenzy of delight. Here, Halo gets to send their message that dogs want real chicken, without meal, by products or additives…exactly what Halo makes.
When Woof awakens from his chicken fantasy, he’s tied up in Weevil’s lair. The reptile is shouting orders, ensconced behind a shower curtain in the bathtub, where he spends most of the six minute film (can anyone say Oz?). Thus begins a dialogue between them, where we get to the heart of the message of the story. Weevil insists he’s 100% Tyrannosaurus Rex. Woof insists he’s not, something Weevil gets quite testy about. As the story unfolds, we see that Weevil can’t accept himself for who he is. “All bad guys have a psychological wound they refuse to heal,” Larry explains. “Weevil’s is that he’s a mutt and can’t accept it. He is literally trying to wash it away, which is why he spends so much time in the tub. Underneath, he knows he’s a fraud, and he projects that wound onto the rest of the world, “washing” the brains of innocent dogs and causing his own chaos. The message is to accept who we are and celebrate our uniqueness.”
David Yaskulka, Halo’s vice president of marketing communications, saw great synergy with their brand in Larry’s message of empowerment. “We strive to help homeless pets look, feel and act their very best, and get them adopted as soon as possible. That’s why we partner with Freekibble.com to donate Halo Spot’s Stew to exemplary shelters like Pet Orphans,” he says. “This film shines a light on how amazing shelter pets can be.”
The film’s message is a universal one, which is why P.I. Woof: Smellbound is a film for children and adults, alike. “I love cartoons as an adult and wanted to make this entertaining,” Kay shared. “I’d like to reach those who love animals and appreciate the value proposition we’re offering: training shelter dogs like movie dogs. I mean, what kind of change could we spearhead by doing this?”
From the shelter to the movie set
Trusty was the perfect casting choice as Woof. He’s a mutt’s mutt, as Larry likes to call him; a Bassett Hound meets Labrador Retriever. His nickname at the shelter is AmBassAdor (get it?). The other animal actors in the film, all of whom have been adopted (yay!) are the gorgeous Lexi the Husky, cutie pie Piper the Terrier, the talented Butters the Poodle mix who dances and, of course, Jane, the cat.
What happens to Weevil? Is Woof able to rescue those poor, brainwashed dogs? You’ll just have to watch to find out. I will tell you there’s a cute song (who knew Weevil was a bad guy AND an entertainer!), and a happy ending. If you like the message of the film and the idea of training shelter dogs like movie dogs, so they can get adopted more easily, share this film with all of your friends!
“We make a new film every week and it’s really making a difference in the adoption of these dogs,” Kay declared. “Also, because filmmaking is fun, it attracts more volunteers to the shelter. So, it’s a win-win.”
The Pet Orphans model works and it would behoove every shelter not including training in its protocol, to take a look at what Pet Orphans is doing.
Check out the video and share!
For more information on Pet Orphans of Southern California.