THE DOG DOC (2019)
Featuring Dr. Marty Goldstein, Dr. Jennifer Lenarz-Salcedo, Dr. Jaqueline Ruskin, Dr. Randie Shane, Meg Goldstein, Leigh Hardisty, Dave Hardisty, Joni Evans, Helen Gemignani, Andre Gomes, Jennifer Rudolph, Virginia Rudolph, Kathy Solomon, Pauline Scherer, Jillian Dutson, Jessica Hayes, Jennifer Shaw, Tara Krug, Wendy Caisse Curran, Rachelle Rogers, Jamie Donnelly, Chrissy Winslow, Marilyn Feil, Lauri Stein-Jones, Hannah Pedersen, Rachel Yodice, Patrick Higgins, Jeffrey Schonberg, Dr. Richard Palmquist and Dr. Maggie Coffey.
Directed by Cindy Meehl.
Distributed by FilmRise. 101 minutes. Not Rated.
Dr. Martin Goldstein – or Doctor Marty, as he is known by friends and grateful patients – has been pushing the boundaries of veterinary medicine for decades now. He was schooled in traditional veterinary beliefs – he got his degree from Cornell – but along the line he has learned to supplement those skills with natural medicine. He does not reject traditional beliefs in full, he just feels – and has found – that sometimes vitamins, herbs and more holistic treatments can have amazing results.
Because of this left of center approach, he has become rather controversial in the veterinary community. Many veterinarians look at him as a quack or a charlatan, while others must acknowledge that his methods can have surprising results.
I am very familiar with this dichotomy. My stepfather was a naturopathic physician and psychotherapist (for humans) who had a practice in the Philadelphia area for over 30 years. He gained a position of stature and respect in the naturopathic community, even starting a company which continues to this day to distribute some of his vitamin formulas. However, many traditional doctors had their minds closed to his ideas, preferring to use drugs as the first (and only) line of defense.
Doctor Marty specializes in cases which seem hopeless. Regular vets have suggested putting the dog down, but with a surprising rate of success Doctor Marty and his fellow doctors at Smith Ridge Veterinary Hospital in South Salem, NY have been able to prolong the animal’s life and wellness. (The movie is called The Dog Doc, and the cases it looks most closely at are all canine, but we do see a lot of cats visiting the practice, too. Maybe their stories are being held up for a possible sequel.)
This does not in any way mean that it is foolproof. One of the four or five cases The Dog Doc scrutinizes closely is an adorable little dog named Waffles, who shows a certain amount of recovery before finally succumbing to his ailments. This was a rather pointed decision on the part of the filmmakers. No one can guarantee that a pet won’t die, but Doctor Marty does have a very good track record at keeping animals alive when other veterinarians have written them off.
Doctor Marty is a smart and affable aging hippie – as one patient points out, he’s about 20 years too old to wear most of his outfits – whose love for animals and his work shines through. In The Dog Doc he and the members of his practice explain their beliefs and their procedures in relative layman’s terms. They also show them in action, focusing on a few dog’s cases and the team’s interactions with the pets and the owners.
It also revolves around Doctor Marty returning to his alma mater of Cornell – decades after being completely shunned at his last lecture there – and talking to a new generation of veterinary students who were more open to his alternative methods.
Keep in mind, though, if you see the title The Dog Doc and figure that you’ll get your fix of cute dogs; while all the dogs are adorable, they are ill and generally not in frolicking moods. Sometimes you even see them in the middle of their treatments, which includes surgery and injections. This can make for upsetting viewing, particularly at the point in which arguably my favorite dog of the group succumbed to his illnesses.
However, Doctor Marty and his staff’s story is inspirational, and the love they show to their patients (and their patients’ humans) is sweet and life-affirming. At a moment in time in which the whole world is pretty much temporarily on lockdown, there is a need for more feel-good information and entertainment like The Dog Doc.
The Dog Doc is now available to stream or download on demand on Amazon Prime Video and iTunes. For additional info on how to watch the film, go to: DogDocTheFilm.com
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2020 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 3, 2020.