They just asked if I would please give it a fair review, which I'm about to do. If you'd like to see a preview of the new show, DOGS OF WAR, watch it here. Then scroll down for my review.
My family all got together on Saturday evening and watched the premiere episode and 3/4 of us enjoyed it. You can guess which 1/4 of us thought it was 'okay, but I'm not sure how they're going to make a series out of it.'
The show features Iraq war veteran Jim Stanek who has returned home from the war suffering from PTSD. He has heard that therapy dogs are extremely helpful to veterans in his situation, but what he didn't realize was the cost (anywhere from $10-$60K) and the amount of time it takes to be paired with a therapy dog. He starts his own non-profit organization called Paws and Stripes, in which he rescues dogs from kill-shelters, and pairs them up with veterans in the same situation that he was in when he came home from the war.
The first episode tells the story of Army PFC Michael Spillar. Michael suffers not only from PTSD but a laundry list of physical ailments and psychological issues such as sleepwalking, tremors, anger issues and night terrors. Upon their first meeting, Jim and Michael bond over finding out that they were both in the 82nd Airborne Division. Jim knows how badly Michael needs the assistance of a therapy dog and makes it his mission to pair him up with just the right one.
The cameras follow Michael and his family as they take a trip into their little town and every sound he hears and every experience that Michael goes through is jaw-clenchingly hard for him. He says at one point "I'd rather have my leg just blown off, to show that something's wrong with me." PTSD isn't something that you can see like a rash or a cut.
Jim goes to the dog park at the Humane Society to watch the trainers at work with several dogs, hoping that one of them will be a perfect fit for Michael. It is at this point that I realize that I'm so much happier watching a show where someone truly cares about rescuing a dog from a shelter AND helping a vet see his way clear with the use of a therapy dog. I'd rather watch something like this, with a positive outcome for everyone involved than to watch people stranded on an island plotting against one another for a million dollar prize.
I won't give away what happens or whether or not Jim finds a good matching therapy dog for Michael, you'll have to tune in and see for yourself. But I will tell you this: I really enjoyed watching this premiere episode and will be tuning in again when the show moves to Sunday nights at 10:00 p.m. EST on A&E starting next Sunday 11/16.
*Disclaimer: I was not paid for this post, but they are sending me some cool DOGS OF WAR bandanas for my dogs. Both dogs are happy about the free swag, but that in no way influenced my review.