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8 things I like/dislike about The Secret Life of Pets

Most doglovers or families with children would have caught The Secret Life of Pets in the cinema near you by now. I watched it yesterday and really enjoyed it. It was well-paced, lots of laughs and encourages you to Adopt, don’t Abandon. I liked the music.

But there were also some things, I wasn’t really impressed with. So here’s a list of what I liked and didn’t like, with some scenes from Youtube in case you would like to relive some of them. So, spoilers warning, I guess :P 

The Secret Life of Pets

1. Like: The Adoption Message

The heroes of the show, Max the Jack Russell Terrier and Duke the New Foundland, were both adopted. Max was found as a puppy in a box on the street and Duke was adopted from the pound.

The secret life of pets movie still - Max puppy in a box

Max was found in a box on the street.

I liked that the movie helps to show the audience that you don’t need to buy a Pure Bred dog. There are pure bred dogs, sometimes even puppies, available for adoption.

Some of the places you can check out locally for pure-bred dogs and other pets include the SPCA rehoming board and also Voices for Animals. Voices for Animals (VFA) is an animal welfare group that concentrates mainly on rehabilitating and rehoming rescued puppy mill dogs, i.e. dogs that were kept for the sole purpose of breeding puppies for pet shops. Lost Paws has a list of these rescued pure-bred dogs from VFA here.

Note: Adoption needs a full consideration of your readiness to adopt a pet. Don’t buy or adopt a dog on impulse. You can’t throw away a living dog like you can a toy.

The secret life of pets perchandiseTy Beanie Plush: The Secret Life of Pets – Best Friend Max I’m a fuss-free toy!  I don’t poo and pee on your rugs. I won’t chew the furniture. And I don’t need you to take me downstairs to pee on the grass 3-4 times a day or to go for 1-hour walks. And I don’t need you to fork out $$$$ to send me to the vet or to boarding when you go on holiday. ;)


2. Dislike: The lack of representation of Mutts

Every dog has a breed in this show.

secret life of pets movie review - tiny dog pomeranian, pug, dachshund, jack russell terrier

The Secret Life of Pets posters: The tiny pet dogs in The Secret Life of Pets movie. Can you tell what is their breed?

But in the real world, we have many more mongrels in the dog shelters and on the streets in Singapore. And in the USA, it seems they have more pit bulls.

As a Pit Bull owner and advocate, it breaks my heart knowing that Pit Bulls make up the largest percentage of dogs in shelters across the United States. My dog, Guybrush, was saved at just five months of age from the Manhattan AC&C. He was on the at-risk list four years ago last month, and if it hadn’t been for my fiancée, he probably would’ve died, just like so many other Pit Bulls. Not because he was a bad dog. Not because he had behavioral issues. But because he was an owner surrender and there were just too many dogs like him waiting to be saved. – Barkpost.com: Here’s why you see so many pitbulls in shelters

Now I do know that the movie is entertainment, it wasn’t produced to solve world hunger or save the long line of dogs on the kill-list. But I do see it as an opportunity lost to give mutts some positive airtime as well.

Local mongrels, also known as Singapore specials, can adapt very well to living in a flat, even if they are not as tiny as the JRT and the pomeranian. Some of them can be very obedient and easy to train. Every dog has his/her own personality, so speak with the shelter representatives to find one with a temperament that will fit your lifestyle.

Donna the singapore special

We adopted our mongrel dog Donna from a local shelter, who helped us find the right match. We were then able to gt her HDB-approved under Project Adore with the help of SOSD. You can read more about her adoption story here.

To consider a local mongrel for foster or adoption, check out www.adoptadog.sg. This is an aggregation site that has profiles of adoptable dogs from the various animal welfare groups in Singapore. ;)


3. Like: The Funny Animal Stereotypes

The doggy stereotypes like the long dachshund, the chihuahua, the fat cat, etc were funny. And yes, this movie has a neurotic rabbit.

And also some of the unexpected characters, like the TV game playing pet bird and the head-banging poodle.


4. Dislike: Katie’s lack of management when introducing Max to a new brother and also Duke to his new home

It was not wise to leave two new dogs together unattended at night or when the human is out at work. It would have been a better idea to have them crated or kept in separate areas of the apartment so that they only interact when the human is there to supervise at the beginning of their relationship.

When introducing a new dog to a new apartment, it is a good practice to limit their area of activity while working on house-training. This will help a lot to avoid giving the new dog opportunities to destroy furniture and items in the house. Or in the case of the movie, bully the smaller dog.

Start giving them access to a greater part of the house once they learn to be more reliable. Enroll the help of a positive trainer to learn how to distract the new dog from forming bad habits and redirect them to the behaviour you want them to show.


5. Like: The negligent dog-walker

Yes, you did not read wrong. I liked the negligent dog-walker because it highlighted the fact that you need to research and evaluate dog services before hiring someone or buying a service to care for your dogs!

The Secret Life of Pets movie still

The Secret Lifes of Pets movie still: Max and Duke who got lost from the dog walker ran into all sorts of adventures and dangers in New York City.

Katie may love her dogs very much, but she didn’t make a good choice when it came to picking a dogwalker. He didn’t even realise her dogs were gone. Dog parks can be places where dog fights happen or dogs get bullied, so for a dog walker to not keep an eye on the dogs all the time and just let them run around on their own, to me is a no-no.

Stake out the pet service you are considering if you have the time. Sometimes you just have to see for yourself how the dogs are handled. I have seen a staff of a local pet hotel out in action before. He was making a labrador retriever run along while he cycled. He had no control over the lab dog. The labrador did not appear trained to run with a bicycle. When he saw Donna, he got distracted and kept pulling to go check her out. The result was the dog kept falling into a large drain that they were cycling beside. The staff did not dismount and try to help the dog out of the drain. All he did was try to drag the labrador out of the drain by his collar. We wouldn’t have seen this if we weren’t there for a doggy birthday party at the time.


6. Dislike: Gidget the Pomeranian was too human

Don’t get me wrong, Gidget was adorable and funny. I love her as a necessary character in the show. But as a portrayal of a canine, she was just so humanised that I don’t really count her as a dog. :P

While funny, The Secret Life of Pets also can be rather violent.

the secret life of pets merchandise

Ty Beanie babies Gidget Plush I’m a fuss-free toy!  I don’t get yappy and terrify the children. I don’t snap and punch weird cats. And I don’t need you to fork out $$$$ for quality dog food or to send me to the vet or to boarding when you go on holiday. ;) See the full set of movie characters here


7. Like: Addition of Tattooed Pig in the movie

I didn’t even know tattooed pigs existed! More out of curiosity than anything, I googled to see if people really tattooed pigs. It seemed tattoo artists may buy pig skins to practice on. But this person Wim Delvoye sedated and tattooed live pigs before. The pigs were eventually killed and the skin sold as art. I am not at all comfortable with that concept.

But a great piece of content not only entertains, it informs. So from that perspective, yes the addition of tattooed pig in the animation was interesting.

secret life of pets movie tattooed pig

Source The Secret Life of Pets wikia. The Tattooed Pig had full tattoos on his back.


8. LOVE: All the funny and relatable moments

Whether you have a dog or a cat, there will be scenes you can related to. ;)

What’s there not to love with this scene? ;)

or this?

So that’s my list of 8 things I like, dislike or love about the movie. Did I miss out something? Let me know!

What did you like or dislike about The Secret Life of Pets movie? Comment below!

Check out these other dog-related movie entries:


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1 Comment

  1. I didn’t see it but at least it didn’t forget us birds.

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