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A show where ‘finding the one’ takes on a whole new meaning.

This isn’t your average matchmaking show, in fact you won’t find any mismatches, cringing blind dates or awkward conversation starters here, only tears of joy, heart-warming moments, and laugh out loud encounters. This is A Dog for Life, a 13-part South African docu-reality series sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition and airing on Netflix from 15th June 2021.

“A Dog for Life is a show about the extraordinary, very tangible bond between people and shelter dogs. It is impossible to determine the rescuer from the rescued,” explains owner of production company Grays Matter Films, Samantha Gray, who produced and co-directed A Dog for Life.

Over the course of the 13 episodes, presenter and show ideator Sue White will match shelter dogs with their forever homes around Cape Town. Through a quirky doggy dating process, Sue helps humans to look beyond the fluff and fall in love with the one.

The dogs are a mix of scruffy, grubby, perky, goofy, beautiful, shy, boisterous, delinquent, and angelic. Despite being abandoned, with a stroke of luck they have found their way to their halfway houses at existing shelters – Fallen Angels, Animal Welfare Society of South Africa, Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch, Honey's Garden, Animal Anti Cruelty League (AACL), DARG, WOOF Project and Cape of Good Hope SPCA.

“Getting involved in a show like this was a natural fit for us. Hill’s has always been committed to transforming lives, those of pets, and in turn their pet parents. Since 2002, the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love Programme has provided shelters with the life-changing nutrition they need to help homeless pets find forever homes,” says Carla Bath from Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

Gray and White say A Dog for Life delivered on all their expectations of being sniffed, slobbered, and yes occasionally weed on, but they didn’t mind that in the least. “I especially loved being able to showcase the extraordinary, very tangible bond between humans and shelter dogs. Having been blessed with rescue dogs throughout my life, with animal welfare very close to my heart, A Dog for Life really resonated with me. And, of course, landing the show on Netflix was the ultimate tail wagging moment,” says Gray.

So, how does the matchmaking process on A Dog for Life work? Gray provides a brief overview without giving away too much:

  1. Sue interviews potential families and then goes about looking for a fur baby at the partner shelters that will match the different family’s lifestyle and needs.

  2. The people of this story are as unique and special as the dogs are; artsy, funny, millennials, retirees, and from all walks of life. They all divulge their reasons for wanting to be a pet parent.

  3. Sue then assesses their needs and compares them to her catalogue of hopeful dogs, curating a selection for them to choose from.

  4. We’ll match the temperament of the dog to the temperament of the home. We don’t want to match a 12-year-old Chihuahua with a marathon runner looking for a running buddy.

  5. We know the pooches may need a little makeover, and some might need help with ‘social awkwardness,’ so we bring in the experts to guide us and ensure these fur babies have nothing standing in their way. From grooming sessions with animal behaviourist Kieran Piper, we’ll make sure they’re shiny, bushy tailed and can confidently put their best paw forward.

Gray and White add, “Time and time again, through the stories we encountered, our paradigms continued to shift. We met people we ordinarily would not meet, and we fell in love with them. All of them. They shared their hearts so fully and openly. They were brave in their vulnerability and astonishing in their courage. Some families and our interactions made us laugh until we cried, and with some, we wept. We stand in authority here, knowing with absolute certainty that dogs are the greatest rescuers of all. We cannot call them ‘rescues’ – we, the humans, are the rescued. Quite frankly, the earth would be a miserable place without dogs. And if you didn’t know that already, you will after watching A Dog for Life.”

“At Hill’s we believe everyone should experience the love of a fur child, and this show is going to help the world agree with us,” concludes Bath.

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