Saving Dinah is the story of a family whose comfortable, upper-middle class life is shattered when their border collie, Dinah, is stolen, and Caroline Sheppard – wife, mother and mayoral candidate – sets out to rescue her.
The search for Dinah leads Caroline, her husband Paul, and their 16-year-old daughter Lara into a netherworld of community censure, official corruption, and animal cruelty: research labs, puppy mills, and, finally, a horrific dog fighting ring.
Caroline’s rescue efforts – and the social and political taint of “animal rights” they engender – rub raw the family’s inner conflicts and precarious relationships, drive clients away from Paul and Caroline’s marketing and public relations firm, and crush Caroline’s hopes of becoming the mayor of their small town.
But in the end, Caroline is called to risk her life to rescue Dinah, and her heroic action brings the family together more closely than they ever knew possible. They finally choose to defend the values of courage and compassion as searching for Dinah—and Dinah herself—teaches them a universal lesson of unconditional love.
Saving animals, we discover through Saving Dinah, is as much about saving ourselves as it is about saving them.
Millions of us share our lives with companion animals. Half the households in North America and Europe share their homes with at least one dog or cat. Almost everyone has fond memories of a family pet. For most people, these animals are not just companions, they’re friends and family. We love them.
But every day tens of thousands are abandoned, become lost, or are stolen. When they fall into the hands of cruel people, these animals can suffer terribly.
Saving Dinah explores the issues of lost, abandoned, and stolen animals. The research laboratories that buy pets—conveniently and falsely labeled “unadoptable”—from local pounds, and use them in experiments that can be agonizing, often leaving the animals maimed or dead. The puppy mills where dogs are bred non-stop to produce litters of puppies for sale to unscrupulous pet stores. The dog fighting rings that use stolen pets as victims to blood and train the pit bulls (who are just as abused) to kill.
These are the issues of animal cruelty and irresponsibility that Saving Dinah explores and reveals. These are the issues that Saving Dinah hopes to play a part in resolving.
Saving Dinah is inspired by movies that profoundly influence people. Saving Dinah will explain and elevate the issues of companion animals — pound seizure, irresponsible pet ownership, and animal cruelty.
It also aspires to move to action people who love animals, but have not yet become involved in protecting them. Such action on the part of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people, can compel politicians to pass and enforce the laws needed to protect the companion animals who share our communities and homes – laws to alleviate the unspeakable cruelty suffered by so many innocent animals.
The producers of Saving Dinah hope you’ll join them in making common cause with animal welfare organizations around the globe to help raise public awareness of these issues, and thus make our world a better place not only for us, but also the creatures with whom we share it.
The Saving Dinah project was conceived to help non-profit organizations achieve not only their animal protection goals, but also increase their membership numbers, and raise much-needed funds.
By entering into a cooperative, no-cost marketing agreement with Saving Dinah, animal protection groups can benefit by raising public awareness of companion animals issues and acquiring the name and contact information of potential, new supporters.
Please contact Executive Producer and Animal Alliance of Canada Director, Liz White, for more information about making common cause with Saving Dinah: 416-462-9541 ext: 23
Like Project Jessie, two other animal protection groups are actively involved in Saving Dinah – the Humane Society of Durham and The Animal Guardian Society (TAGS). The Shelter Manager of the former, Brenda Cameron, played the “Shelter Manager” in the film. Also, we used the Humane Society as a location and they provided some animals.
The dogs we used in most of the scenes came from Project Jessie, and a few from TAGS. They, like our Project Jessie star Sally, are all rescue dogs.
To learn about other Animal Alliance of Canada campaigns, click here.