This past Sunday night I attended the Connecticut premiere screening of the documentary “A Dog Named Gucci.” Chris, a rescue friend from New York City, invited me to meet her and her daughter Sofie at Yale University for the film.
Sofie, who has a part in the film, is an amazing young woman who founded NYC Teens for Animals when she was just twelve years old. Director Gorman Bechard - who moderated the film and the question and answer period that followed - eloquently described Sofie by saying, “If a twelve year old can make a difference, we all can.”
But outside of seeing Chris and Sofie, there was also the film - and from the beginning, everyone was engaged. Unlike the typical movie experience, the audience simply could not look away from this thought-provoking, disturbing, yet equally uplifting film.
Horrific? Yes, but thankfully, that was only the beginning of Gucci’s story.
James and Gucci spent 16 years together, not just as human and companion, but as activists too. Gucci became a local celebrity and the face of animal cruelty in Alabama. When state laws allowed little more than a slap on the wrist for Gucci’s abusers, James devoted the next six years to changing them and with Gucci by his side, succeeded. The “Gucci Bill” made animal cruelty a felony in Alabama for the first time.
While portions of the film were heartbreaking and brought the audience to tears, ultimately the message was a positive one. This film could have easily turned into another sad commentary on the human race and the heartlessness, disregard for life and unmitigated abuse that some members of our society inflict on other living beings.
Instead though it portrays animals who have seen the worst of us, yet give us their best; animals who by all rights should hate yet continue to love, animals who have endured unimaginable abuse yet are able to forgive. It also shows us how many good people there still are and how an individual, a community, a state and a nation can come together and be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
“A Dog Named Gucci” is outstanding – a must-see. It is a story about triumph and how we all have the power within ourselves to make a difference. “A Dog Named Gucci” is a film you will not forget and one that just may change your life.