SXSW 2020: We Don’t Deserve Dogs

Filda with her dog, Lok Oroma. Photo credit: Matthew Salleh.

One filmmaker treks across the globe We Don’t Deserve Dogs to see how our four-legged friends are able to improve our daily lives.

I’m a dog lover.  There were two dogs in my house while I was growing up.  Not at the same time, of course.  It took quite some time following one’s passing when I was in elementary school.  It wouldn’t be until the summer of 2001 when we brought home a border collie/husky mix.  My mom spoiled him but that’s another story for another day.  He passed away on the same day that I legally changed my name in October 2016.  More to the point, what I’m trying to say is that everybody needs a dog in their lives.

It’s hard not to want to reach through the screen and pet these dogs upon viewing.  Such technology hasn’t caught up to his yet.  Unfortunately but whatever.

Director/cinematographer Matthew Salleh and producer/editor Rose Tucker go near and far to bring us this film.  A small crew, these two shot this film over the course of 13 months.  Moreover, they take us around the planet to 11 different countries including Chile, Uganda, Peru, Italy, Turkey, Pakistan, Finland, Romania, Vietnam, Nepal, and Scotland.  What’s the one thing that manages to bring these towns together?  Dogs.

Eleven countries in thirteen months is a lot of traveling.  Regardless, their production values manage to show throughout the film.  It’s rather impressive that they were able to shoot the film with a very minimal crew.  It’s mainly just the two of them.  To edit the film and work on post-production in their apartment afterwards is equally impressive.  If documentary filmmakers don’t get enough credit, they should.  A film such as We Don’t Deserve Dogs shows how much work a two-person team can do in order to make a film.

Even on our bad days, a dog’s love for their human companion is unconditional.  You might have a bad day at work and the only thing that could make it better is coming home and seeing your four-legged friend.  Trust me when I say that you’re not alone.  Listen, you could have taken a bath or shower and they’ll still want to lick you.  Unless all they want to do is eat, sleep, or do their business (preferably outside and not on the carpet–hey, it happens).  Whatever floats their boat.

We Don’t Deserve Dogs shows that our love for dogs and vice-versa is able to transcend our various cultures.


We Don’t Deserve Dogs holds its world premiere during the 2020 SXSW Film Festival in the Documentary Feature Competition. Grade: 3.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.