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

‘A Dog’s Purpose’ German shepherd – recent photos released

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Following TMZ’s release of controversial behind-the-scenes footage from the “A Dog’s Purpose” movie, there is one question most everyone wants the answer to – how is the dog in the disturbing scene doing today?? According to Friday’s People, “Hercules,” the German shepherd in question, is doing just fine.

Multiple video clips, dated January 19, were released by makers of the film and they show a happy and apparently healthy German shepherd (who is reported to be Hercules) playing with a large, blue ball in a grassy field. Other photos, showing the dog resting comfortably on a dog bed, were also released.

Though the TMZ footage was disturbing (showing an unwilling German shepherd apparently being forced into churning water to create a scene in the movie) those involved with the making of the movie have maintained that the dog was not harmed. Critics of the leaked footage have noted that the clip appears to have been “heavily edited,” and question the motive of the release, which was in close proximity to the schedule premiere of the film.

TMZ’s leaked video has had quite the backlash – PETA has called for a boycott of the film, the American Humane representative, who was on set to ensure animal safety, was suspended, and the premiere of the movie was canceled by Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment.

The movie is meant to celebrate the relationship between animals and humans – instead, the behind-the-scenes footage has only served to stir up turmoil and anger.

Video clips here.

(Photo via Amblin Partners/People)

** If your dog does this, call your veterinarian!

44 replies
  1. Dee says:

    Really . people. What did your dog do the first time you tried to cut his nails he freaked. Fought it. U had to get him used to it so he would not be frightened. Really people

    • Barkley's Mom says:

      I have to agree with you, and I have to take my German Shepherds to a groomer for baths because they will not go into the tub and I am too old to struggle with them. This dog must have done the stunt, it’s in the movie and he is alive to tell about it. I want to see the whole tape of this, it’s obvious that parts are missing.

      • Donna montgomery says:

        U r an idiot. There’s a difference between throwing a dog in what appears to be a rapid amount of water and trimming Thier nails

      • Barkley's Mom says:

        I have watched the video several times. Where does it show the dog was thrown into the water? The last scene before you see the dog struggling at the end of the pool is the trainer pulling the dog up by the collar. It has also been brought to light on the Dogs Purpose page that the dog was freaked out because they were trying to get him to go into the water on the opposite side of the pool from where he had been practicing the stunt. Once they took him back to the spot he was used to, he jumped in like he was supposed to and did the stunt with no problems. “idiot” signing off

    • Lisa says:

      Really? This is a little different than clipping their claws and I’m pretty sure dogs don’t swim underwater. Not to mention, they cannot drown getting their claws clipped….. so ya… really!

    • .Linda says:

      The dog didn’t want to go in that water, and his head did go under the water and they stop let us see it. That is animals cruelty . You don’t do that to a animal any animals. You start them off small but you DDon’t just keep pushing him in. Maybe we should do that to you and see how you like it.

      • Linda Jordan says:

        The dog trainer should be fired and never work with animals again. The trainer should know enough to have worked with the dog. The animal humane rep should be fired not suspended. I had looked forward to going to the movie but no way!

    • Dani patey says:

      There a line u dnt cross if u have any decent morals though. This dog was cleared critically stressed out and did not have adequate water training. It struggled so much it didn’t have enough energy to keep its head above water and nearly drowned. That scenario would never have happened had the dog been trained in its role properly. They didn’t meet the welfare of the dog weather through ignorance or willingness. It’s still animal abuse and not acceptable.

    • Annie says:

      Dee…. Anyone with eyesight can see how petrified this beautiful dog was AND the fact that he nearly drowned. One cannot compare giving a dog a bath or cutting his nails to this. This is on an entirely different level and is pathetic. Again, humans using animals just to make money. Awful, simply awful.

    • linda says:

      Really Dee. 8 motor boards in a pool to simulate a river is not like having nails cut. The dog was distressed to begin with…Really Dee.

    • Dave123 says:

      Someone should throw you into rapid water. Who cares what you think. Just throw you in and say, “He’ll get used to it, just a few more times. Oh look he’s drowning. We’ll try again tomorrow”.

  2. Barkley's Mom says:

    Yes TMZ’s leaked video has had an impact. I am now questioning why it wasn’t brought to light back in November when this all happened. What is the motivation behind releasing it a week before a movie celebrating the lives of dogs is to be released? I don’t trust PETA to have the best interest of any animal in mind when they are telling us to boycott this movie, I have heard too many bad things about this organization especially as far as dogs are concerned, and I would like to see the full clip of the “leaked” video, You can tell there are parts missing what actually did transpire, After watching it several times I do not see where the dog was actually thrown in the water, I see him struggling to not go in and being hauled out by his collar and the next thing he is in the water seemingly at the end of the pool. Something is missing. I don’t condone animal abuse for any reason let alone making a movie but I feel something is missing here and would like to know what it is!

    • Melissa says:

      PETA strictly done this to hurt sales NOT foe the good of the dog. I too, would like to see the FULL footage. The dog was seriously stressed at the first of it and then he went under???? Pictures like this one mean nothing to me because it’s too easy to find a look alike with this breed. Unfortunately, i just don’t trust people just because of what i have seen in rescue

    • Cynthia Thomas says:

      DO NOT TRUST ANYTHING THAT PETA SAYS ! I live in the state of Virginia and PETA got into VERY SERIOUS TROUBLE for not following state law regarding animal shelters. Also they went on a family’s property.and took their dog and killed it-and then lied about it. The family had cameras on the property and released it to the local media and has filed a lawsuit for 15 million against PETA.

  3. Claire says:

    It’s great that he’s doing fine now, but that’s not the point. The point is he was terrified at the time. He didn’t want to do it, but scared to death that he was, he was forced. That’s not okay!

  4. Dawn Hubbard says:

    I agree with Melissa…it is too easy to find a look alike for satisfying public outrage. I did not know this happened in November. But where ever the dog is, I hope they never use him again in any scene or movie. He has been traumatized enough and I will never forget that video clip, edited or not, that dog knew it was wrong. And I never saw him surface again…will not see movie. I do not hate PETA, they do a lot of good, even if their methods are questionable sometimes. Please try to find the REAL dog it happened to!!!

  5. Rusty says:

    If people dont love their dogs they shouldnt have them whether they are pets,working dogs,guide dogs or watch dogs they are always loyal and give their best.This treatment of a beautiful animal no matter what the reason is unacceptable and the dog should be offered to a loving,caring home.

    • Dawn Hubbard says:

      I agree, Rusty. If they find the real Hercules, he certainly will not trust being handled again and deserves to be released to a real home!

  6. Marlimoo says:

    Shame, shame, shame. This whole situation was handled very badly. Firstly all they needed was a ball crazy dog-throw ball dog goes in unaided. Not having handler on other side calling the dog while some crew member pushes the terrified dog in against it’s will. Second the water was far too turbulent, not necessary. Thirdly why didn’t they cut the engines when they could see the dog obviously struggling, remember it wasn’t real rapids. I won’t be watching it far too upsetting.

  7. Marlimoo says:

    Shame, shame, shame. This whole situation was handled very badly. Firstly all they needed was a ball crazy dog-throw ball dog goes in after it. Not handler on opposite side trying to call the dog across while crew member pushes the dog in against its will. Second the water was far to turbulent, not necessary. Thirdly why didn’t they cut the engines immediately they realised the dog was in trouble, remember it wasn’t real rapids. Fourthly, the dog may not be physically harmed but could well be scared of non-calm waters in future. I’ll certainly be giving it a miss.

    • Marlimoo says:

      Sorry about the two same comments but I didn’t think the first one went through so posted another as I felt so keenly about what had occurred

    • Dawn Hubbard says:

      I totally agree, Marlimoo. Hercules, if they really let us see the real dog again, will be traumatized from this fearful, unnecessarily rough, cruel treatment of forcing him in the water. I still did not see him surface again, despite what they claim he was pulled out.

  8. Kathryn Aldridge says:

    Check out the LATEST update. Hercules wasn’t hurt, was used to going in the water, and simply balked because the starting point was different. I agree with Barkley’s Mom and Melissa. PETA did this on purpose for their OWN agenda.

  9. Nadine says:

    Look I have owned 4 German Shepherds in my life ! None of them liked to get into the water of any kind! But once they got in they don’t want to get out!!! Lol. Yes they actually are great strong swimmers. My one female Shepherd was with me and my boyfriend at the time. My pups mother was in the lake swimming away all over and having so much fun! My puppy kept barking like crazy. She kept getting her feet wet but then ran back onto the beach and just bark! Finally my boyfriend just picked her up and threw her into the water! Which then she played in for a good hour!!! My boy friend actually had to go in and get her out so we could go home!!! Lol. So yes I’m going to say this and I don’t care what Animal Organization wants to mouth off! Seems to me like they have to make something out of nothing!!! They always have to start some shit to ruin others enjoyment. I really am sure not one of those dogs in the movie were hurt or in distress as they say, in any way!! Those dogs probably live a life much better than most of us… So I think they should just shut up and let us actually enjoy the wonderful beautiful story! My Word! Just because these groups are totally miserable people . They really need to get their shit together. And stop trying to make everybody else miserable!! Seems like they are picking apart every little things these days. Go actually go do something useful. Like raise money and find homes for all the homeless animals in this country! And learn about the actions of the breed of dog they say was in so much distress !

  10. elaine emptage (@emptage_elaine) says:

    Please don’t believe these new pics of Hercules. This is a Trained Dog doing as he is told/taught. I am a studying Dog Psychology and work with all sorts of dogs with anxiety problems. I have noticed how delicate the German Shepherds mind is. How easily they can become disturbed and insecure.
    Hercules will not have got through this unscathed. The chances are that he now feels quite petrified at the noise of fast running water. This could have an impact on the rest of his life. The so called handler that forced him in to the turbulent water where he would have known that he was drowning as he went under…will have lost his trust from this poor animal. Animals have a natural instinct to survive. ..Hercules would have thought he was going to die!
    A handler should know how to make a dog feel secure in what he is doing. This most definitely was not the case here.
    I personally am not going to give my money to help cruelty like this continue.
    All animals in this line of work should have support from an animal psychologist. This way the animal will stay mentally and physically safe and secure.
    Amblin should show us how Hercules copes near fast water as nothing of what they now show tells us of this dogs true mental stability due to the pool experience.
    Amblin I’m discusted

    • Kathryn Aldridge says:

      The author of the book stated that Hercules just wasn’t familiar with that entry into the pool. I agree that Hercules did experience trauma, but trust that the American Humane Society has given the “all clear”, based on an evaluation of him.

      I do suggest, however, that if you’re going to give a professional opinion in a public forum, you check your spelling prior to posting it. You are not “a studying dog psychology” and disgusted is not spelled “discusted”. Also, “German Shepherds mind” is plural, not possessive, as it should be: German Shepherd’s mind. Your criticism would carry more weight if readers were more impressed by your intelligence and education.

  11. donna quinn says:

    The bottom line here is the dog “DID NOT” want to go into the raging water! At that point all involved should have stopped production for that scene. The animal was obviously under distress and feared for his life. Why else would they have fired the person from the Humane Society representative, and PETA calling for a boycott of the movie? Not that I am found of either organization, but I feel as though they’ve done the right thing.

  12. Dawn Hubbard says:

    My daughter told me it was on Good Morning America today ans she was in tears about the clip. I still say too many dogs can be made to look like Hercules to satisfy the public outrage. I also agree nail trims are a stupid comparison. And the wrong side of pool…come on, people! This movie will not and should not be put out for profit..even kids will get the wrong image. The story was beautiful in book. I feel sorry for Bruce Cameron but the trainer (s) should never touch another animal, like we prosecute animal abuse out here!!


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