On April 9 at 8PM a most moving and inspiring PBS/Nature documentary called "My Bionic Pet" will air (a short trailer can be seen here and a description of the film can be seen here). I've watched a preview of this documentary a number of times and I'm at a loss for words to describe the emotionally moving stories of the animals who are fitted with prosthetics and other adaptive devices and the people who are for them. After the broadcast, the episode will be available for online streaming here.
Rethinking euthanasia: Giving a new lease on life
It made me teary eyed when I met animals ranging from dogs (including Driftwood, Tripod and Roofus) who needed prosthetic legs, to a pig (Chris P. Bacon, a beautiful pig with a huge message) who needs a wheeled harness to support his hind end. "My Bionic Pet" also includes the stories of a horse (Molly) who needed a prosthetic leg, to an alligator (Mr. Stubbs) who needs a tail so he can swim straight and propel himself, and of a swan (Sitara) who needs a new beak so he can feed and preen properly.
All of these animals could have been easily "written off"-- euthanized -- but they weren't, and all went on to have rich and happy lives. If you are among the very few remaining people who still wonder if other animals have rich and deep emotional lives this wonderful and eye-opening documentary will be a much-needed remedy for your skepticism.
The incredible animals whom you'll meet in this film are true survivors and, in some cases, their stories inspire humans, including youngsters, who also are in need of prosthetics and hope. The joy that emanates from the humans who interact with these animals is palpable. The animals clearly show, "I'm okay, so you can be too". For those interested in the rapidly growing and interdisciplinary field called anthrozoology (the study of human-animal relationships), this film provides a wealth of information for many research projects.
As is emphasized in this most welcomed documentary, the work done with these animals by the incredibly devoted humans changes their lives and ours.
Please mark your calendar now. I bet you can't watch this film only once. It is that good.
The teaser image of Chris P. Bacon can be seen here.
Marc Bekoff's latest books are Jasper's story: Saving moon bears (with Jill Robinson; see also), Ignoring nature no more: The case for compassionate conservation (see also), and Why dogs hump and bees get depressed (see also). Rewilding our hearts: Building pathways of compassion and coexistence will be published fall 2014.