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A Dog's Way Home Blu-ray Review – Sweet Story and Fun Bonus Features

Collect A Dog’s Way Home and learn about the actor dog’s training.

Apr 08, 2019

By Lynn Barker

In A Dog’s Way Home, young animal advocate Lucas (Jonah Howard King) adopts a mixed-breed puppy named Bella (voice of Bryce Dallas Howard) when her pit bull mom is hauled away by animal control. Bella bonds with Lucas, his girlfriend Olivia (Alexandra Shipp) and Lucas’s veteran mom Terri (Ashley Judd). When an evil land developer hates Lucas’s attempts to save cats under a building he wants to demolish, he hires an animal control officer to take Bella away. Denver has a law against pit bull (Staffordshire Terriers, people) dogs in city limits. Bella and Lucas are separated. Can Bella find her way home?

A Dog's Way Home Trailer

 

Lucas bonds with little BellaLucas bonds with little BellaCourtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Little Bella

Puppy Bella lives with her mom, siblings and a bunch of cats under a falling-down building. When animal control takes mom, siblings and many kittens away, Bella is basically raised by “mother cat”. Animal advocate Lucas comes to feed those left and tries to protect them. Bella loves Lucas at first sight and he decides to take her home even though he and his veteran mom have a “no pet” rule in their apartment building. Bella grows up a happy dog. When the landlord is coming to fix a pipe, Lucas takes Bella to work where she bonds with vets at the VA hospital where he works.

Lucas and Olivia adopt baby BellaLucas and Olivia adopt baby BellaCourtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Heartless Land Developer

The land developer who owns the wrecked building where mom cat and the other cats live tries to tear it down on top of them but Lucas gets his demolition permit revoked so the developer gets his buddy the animal control guy to come after Bella as a “pit bull”, illegal in Denver. Lucas teaches Bella to “run home” if animal control comes after her. If she is inside a home, she can’t be grabbed but she gets outside, chases a squirrel and refuses to leave Lucas’s side so is taken to the pound. Lucas gets her out but must move out of the city of Denver to keep her.

Bella will be picked up by animal controlBella will be picked up by animal controlCourtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

400 Miles Away

Lucas has to temporarily move Bella in with Olivia’s aunt who lives in New Mexico, 400 miles away. Both man and dog are heartbroken. Bella realizes she should have done as Lucas taught her and “run home”. These new people are very nice but she must go to Lucas, go “home” so she escapes and ends up in the forest not knowing that Lucas has moved and is coming to get her! In the woods, Bella meets new friends and enemies, travels through small towns where she is taken in by humans and mistreated by others. She befriends an orphan cougar cub, names it “Big Kitty” and the two continue her journey while becoming family. Some places could serve as a new “home” but Bella needs to get back to her human Lucas.

Bella with pal Big KittyBella with pal Big KittyCourtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Journey Home

Bella teams up with a dog named Duke and they find Duke’s owner who has been buried in an avalanche. The couple who take the dogs in until the owner recovers, loves them and would make a great family. When the owner rejects the dogs, the couple would keep them but again, Bella runs away to get home to Lucas. In a town, she is claimed by homeless veteran Axel (Edward James Olmos) who is kind but lives an awful outdoor life. When he dies, Bella, chained to him, almost does too until two kids set her free.

Hungry Bella steals a steakHungry Bella steals a steakCourtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Reunion?  

Bella encounters more adventures, some pleasant, some sad until she finally makes it “home” but someone else lives there now. Can she ever find her human Lucas? Two years have gone by. Will it be too late for them?

Bella still searches for LucasBella still searches for LucasCourtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Extra Bonus Features

  • Deleted Scenes – four of them, give us more with homeless man Axel and Bella and couple Gavin and Taylor who temporarily adopt Bella. Nice additions to the story.
  • An Unforgettable Journey is the “making of” feature in which filmmakers, actors, the novelist and screenwriter talk about the origins of the story, finding animal actors to play Bella, telling the film from a dog’s point of view, actors working together and a little on special visual effects; Big Kitty was a CGI cougar. Nice.
  • Dog Days: Shelby’s Production Diary – goes into detail with the film’s animal trainer as she talks about finding Shelby and look-alike stand-in dog Amber in an animal shelter, making friends with them and beginning training. We see the dogs meeting director Charles Martin Smith. Shelby is a quick learner and learns more complicated commands until we see her on various sets doing some action.  Very fun extra. We also learn that Shelby is now a therapy dog working with veterans.

Like Bella, Shelby helps veteransLike Bella, Shelby helps veteransCourtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DIY Doggie Treats with Shelby is hosted by a dog treat baker who has Shelby on set while he gives us the recipes for a Fro-Yo treat and Mutter Butter Dog Cookies. Shelby taste tests everything! Cute and fun to make for your canine buddy.

Wrapping Up

A Dog’s Way Home is a wonderful family movie that has some sad moments but, of course, ends well. Animal actor Shelby is a very smart dog who really makes us believe every scene. Human actors aren’t bad either. Bryce Dallas Howard is especially great as the inner voice of lead dog Bella.

Lucas and his mom love BellaLucas and his mom love BellaCourtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

To its credit, the film highlights some shortcomings in our society; the treatment of some veterans, the homeless and the pointless and cruel anti-Pit-Bull rules that evidently some cities have. We see both kindness to pets and the evil enacted against them.

Lucas with puppy BellaLucas with puppy BellaCourtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

This Blu-ray/DVD/Digital set looks and sounds very crisp and bright. Extras are limited but do cover lead dog Shelby, who came from a shelter with no training, as she becomes an excellently-trained movie dog.  Yay, shelter animals!  We can award this home entertainment package four stars.

A Dog’s Way Home Blu-ray Rating:

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
 

Buy A Dog’s Way Home starting Tuesday, April 9th

Share Your Feelings!

Have you ever be separated from a pet? How smart do you think most dogs are? What would you do to protect stray animals? Share your pet problems and stories with a comment below or on your Kidzworld profile page.