“The Dog Lover” (The Wrong Side of Right – original title)

Release Date: July 8, 2016

Flying Time: 1 hour and 41 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG

Directed by: Alex Ranarivelo

Written by: Alex Ranarivelo & Ali Afshar

Grade: B

“The Dog Lover” is playing at the Orange Park AMC

Investigate Before You Donate

The Dog Lover is based on the true story of Dan Christensen who raised hunting dogs in South Dakota.  Director Alex Ranarivelo (Born to Race) developed the screenplay with the help of producer Ali Afshar.  They filmed in Petaluma, California.  The film opens with Sara and Trevor, two representatives from the United Animal Protection Agency (UAPA) doing a raid on a puppy mill. The UAPA is a fictional organization whose mission is to protect animals, but they have a hidden agenda.  After the success at the puppy mill, Sara is tapped by her boss to lead an undercover operation at a hunting dog breeding facility where the owner is accused of inhumane treatment.  She will pose as a veterinary student and work as an intern for Dan Holloway at Holloway Farms.  Sara must not only learn how to be a vet tech, but she also has to use special equipment to collect evidence for the UAPA whose goal is to shut down Holloway Farms.

After watching the opening scene in the horrific puppy mill, I was on the side of the UAPA.  As I watched the investigative drama, I gradually changed my mind about the Holloway’s breeding facility. The producers and director did an excellent job casting with many familiar faces from the 80s along with some newcomers.  I liked how the screenwriter added a little romance to the story and developed Sara and Will’s characters.

When asked what he thought about the film, Christensen said “It’s 95 percent accurate; I mean I couldn’t have hardly told them any better.  It was really done professionally.”

He said what was not done professionally was the raid the Humane Society of the United States conducted in 2009. He said the search and seizure warrant was illegal.  The animal rights group and volunteers took his 173 registered hunting dogs worth thousands of dollars.

The overall message hit home since I adopted an English Springer Spaniel rescue from a puppy mill in 2008.  Unfortunately, he did not come from a well-run kennel, but rather a despicable place.  One message that came across loud and clear is we have rights under the law and there are two sides to every story. Most breeders are responsible and sign agreements with the parent club for their breed and follow guidelines from the American Kennel Club.   A majority of them also treat their dogs as family, with many of them living inside the home.

The Dog Lover is a powerful film that is touching and thought-provoking. It leads the viewer to believe that not everything is at it appears on the surface.  The film takes a difficult look at the hidden agenda of animal rights organizations.  Many believe they are giving to organizations that really care about the animals, but this films shows us that is not always the case.  The Dog Lover not only raises awareness for both sides of dog breeding and ownership, but argues the case not to blindly give to an organization just because they say they are “for the animals.”  Make sure you do your research before you donate.


James Remar as Daniel Holloway

Lea Thompson as Liz Holloway

Jason Blair as Will Holloway

Allison Page as Sara Gold

Sherry Stringfield as Jackie O’ConnelStarringl

Michael King as Trevor

Annabelle Kavanagh as Abigail Holloway

Christina Moore as Cassie Sumpter

The Dog Lover is well worth viewing.  Make plans to see this limited release at the Orange Park AMC. ~A.S. MacLeod





About Laura McDonald