German shepherd from 'A Dog's Purpose' appears to be okay

Author of ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ viewed unedited footage – states ‘mis-characterized’

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W. Bruce Cameron, the author of “A Dog’s Purpose,” is speaking out in the wake of public backlash following TMZ’s leaked behind-the-scenes footage which appears to show a distressed German shepherd being forced into churning water.

The footage which TMZ released appears to have been heavily edited and Cameron has released an official statement addressing the timing, and the editing, of the leaked video.

Cameron statement states:

First I want to thank everyone—and there have been literally thousands of you—who have written to express support. Your words and thoughts mean the world to us.
I found the video we’ve all seen to be shocking because when I was on set, the ethic of everyone was the safety and comfort of the dogs.
If the people who shot and edited the video thought something was wrong, why did they wait fifteen months to do anything about it, instead of immediately going to the authorities?
I have since viewed footage taken of the day in question, when I wasn’t there, and it paints an entirely different picture.

Cameron continued:

The written commentary accompanying the edited video mischaracterizes what happened.
The dog was not terrified and not thrown in the water—I’ve seen footage of Hercules earlier that day joyfully jumping in the pool. When he was asked to perform the stunt from the other side of the pool, which was not how he had been doing it all day, he balked.
The mistake was trying to dip the dog in the water to show him it was okay—the water wasn’t his issue, it was the location that was the issue, and the dog happily did the stunt when he was allowed to return to his original spot.
I also didn’t like it when Hercules’s head briefly went under water, but there was a scuba diver and a trainer in the pool to protect him. He loves the water, wasn’t in danger, and wasn’t upset.

He concluded his statement:

On a movie where the mantra was the safety and comfort of the dogs, mistakes were made, and everything needs to be done to make sure those errors are not repeated.
But the reason American Humane certifies that no animals were harmed during the making of the film is that no animals were harmed during the making of the film.
I celebrate animal rescue and am proud of the values that show up in A Dog’s Purpose. – Bruce

Critics of TMZ’s release of the edited footage point first and foremost to the timing – 15 months after the incident took place, and shortly before the movie’s premiere (which was cancelled because of the turmoil surrounding the video footage). PETA has been calling for a boycott of the movie and there is speculation that the organization is using the leaked (and edited) footage to push their agenda to ensure that animals are not used for movies or for television productions.

According to Deadline, after the full investigation into the situation has been completed, the unedited video of the situation will likely be released to the public.


21 replies
  1. rhondaredmond says:

    Omg, I so rushed to judgement! Bruce Cameron is clearly a dog lover, and I KNEW this, and let myself get sucked into hysteria about animal abuse that clearly didn’t happen. Why did they wait 15 MONTHS to come forward. Mr. Cameron, I am so sorry. I do look forward to seeing this movie. And the book is my favorite…

    • Dawn Blais says:

      Isn’t this what the media wants? Everyone rush to judgement before all the facts are in. I will be seeing this movie. This dog was use too jumping in the other side of the pool. My dog has done things hundreds of times and some days just fefuses. Just like kids. The video was awful to see. But, the dog was not harmed. I see so much animal abuse and it makes me sick! Actions were taken with this situation.

  2. Stephen Lee Phillips says:

    Commendable as the author’s statement is, this hapless companion WAS still forced into a situation he clearly didn’t fedel comfortable with…
    I look forward to the complete, unedited footage release to clarify matters (but STILL take umbrage with the person whose voice repeatedly urged “just throw him in!”!)…

  3. Brenda Minarik says:

    I realize that people are concerned and I would think that all animals be protected but there are situations that could be considered dangerous to the animal and we as concerned protectors of Animals have seen so much abuse of innoncent animals that when we see a dogs head going under water warning bells ???? go off.
    We the people care only for their safety and wellbeing,that is not a crime,continue to protect the animals they have no voice,we are their Watch Dogs ????

  4. dianaroby02 says:

    Sharing this extremely enlightening, and well written, article on Facebook and hopefully the movie won’t be boycotted. I intend to see it.

    Wow, it sounds like peta and/or tmz could have allegedly highly edited the footage of the scared GSD, Hercule, getting into the pool. For what? In order to make it appear worse than it was. Who would have thunked it that either of these bastion’s of integrity, truth and honesty would do this? I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked! NOT!

  5. Moria says:

    Can you post the uncut version you are speaking of then? Or are we just supposed to take your word for it? Because you said so?

  6. Barkley's Mom says:

    Just like the media anymore, ready, willing, and able to promote trouble without telling the complete truth about a situation. We all should know better than to jump to conclusions before we learn the real story. I was guilty of this and jumped on the hate bandwagon, and then I looked at the video again and the more I watched it the more I didn’t see them throwing the dog into the water. Lessen learned, I will reserve jumping to conclusions until I have gathered more information. I don’t know why they saw fit to do this a week before a movie that many of us were anxious to see was due to come out. Someone had an agenda here, If it was PETA trying to “ensure that animals are not used for movies or for television productions” then why is that. Dogs like to work, and as long as they are safe and treated well, what is the problem with that?

  7. Marti Beresford says:

    “Appears” to be edited?? I don’t think so. Clearly the treatment of the dog was cruel and not humane. The voice in the background repeatedly stating to “throw him in” was also edited?

  8. Dawn Hubbard says:

    I appreciate Bruce’s comments, and loved the book. I still say that if Hercules was not happy with the location, he should not have been forced into the water, regardless. And Bruce was not there on that day???? Also, he did not answer the fact that the American Humane “person” supposedly protecting Hercules , has been fired??? What has happened to Hercules now? Is he still performing or does he have a double. I will look forward to seeing the un-edited version.

  9. Rosemary Walsh says:

    It is true that dogs do not “generalize” situations until they have experienced them in
    several contexts and from several perspectives. The explanation that Hercules was uncomfortable diving from the “wrong” side of the pool holds water. (pun intended!) Had the trainers introduced him to that side of the pool, slowly and gently, before the shoot, he would likely have been ok with jumping in. Sometimes dogs look terrified when they are actually confused and unsure. Hopefully the trainers understand dogs’ calming signals and read his.

  10. Suzanne kasten says:

    I am so happy to see this movie. I rescue a dog a many cats. PETA is so fast judge call it abuse. When they are the worst abusive. I know the dogs where not hurt i can’t wait to see this movie

  11. Laura Lee Wojtowicz says:

    I thought instinctively the video was strange…timing with movie coming out, why would that person damage the movie?? Although, when I did view it, I was very concerned about the dog. I am glad all is well and done.


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