Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend because of their long-standing loyalty, devotion, and love for us. Of all the domesticated animals, dogs serve the widest array of roles: protector, helper, lifesaver, and companion.
In the American Supreme Court in 1870, a lawyer defending a man whose dog, Old Drum, was killed by a neighbour for trespassing, argued that the neighbour had taken the life of more than a pet. In his closing argument, he even stated “the one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog”.
Our relationship with dogs is often explored in various documentaries. One example is Rescuing Rex, which chronicles the stories of unwanted dogs all over the world that survived trauma, neglect, and physical injuries, but are rescued by the rise of pet adoption and travel to Canada in search of new, loving homes.
Another popular documentary about dogs is Well Groomed, a vibrant and quirky film that follows the professional dog grooming circuit, where groomers and their trusty dog sidekicks express their creativity as best as they can.
Dogs have shared our lives for over 20,000 years. They have helped us find food, watched over our livestock, protected us from our enemies, guided us in extreme conditions, and saved us from peril. They also comfort us and help us cope with old age, depression, and loneliness. Dogs have been an infallible ally to mankind for a long time, but how did this remarkable relationship between man and dogs come about? How did these animals become such an important part of our lives? How did we learn to harness their unique talents, and what are the incredible things that they do for us today?
The documentary Man’s First Friend seeks the answers to these questions, going back 20,000 years in time to discover how man and dog evolved together. Scientists speculated that the friendship between man and dog began when humans began taking in wolf pups, socializing the wild animals from infancy. As wolves are pack animals with a clear sense of hierarchy, humans easily assumed the role of alpha wolf, and the wolves began obeying them. Combining humans’ skills and savvy with wolves’ speed and sense of smell, they were able to form a mutually beneficial partnership, helping each other hunt and defend their territories.
In the film, we travel to some of the most remote locations around the globe, exploring how that initial partnership has morphed into the many ways that dogs helps us in the modern world. From the pariah dog in India who protects her owner’s banana plantations from daily attacks by black-headed monkeys, to the Kenyan bloodhounds trained to track ivory poachers, dogs continue to dazzle us with their intelligence and devotion.
To stream Man’s First Friend and more of the best documentaries from around the world, sign up for a free trial on www.iwonder.com today. Film availability may vary according to country.