Gander: America’s Hero Dog (2017) short film review

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A documentary short film that introduces the world to a true hero – a service dog named Gander. We review Gander: America’s Hero Dog right here on Screen Critix.

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We recently had the pleasure of watching and reviewing a documentary on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – a wonderful film called My Own War from director Stacey Stone. Now, we have to count ourselves lucky. It seems that Stone and producer Diane Mellen have been very busy and managed to create another documentary.

Whilst My Own War concentrated on soldiers living with PTSD, this time Stone focuses her attention on Gander – a service dog who we was able to get a glimpse of in My Own War.

After having a tough start in life, Gander was rescued and sent on a training course in a prison in order to become a service dog. Once training was completed, Gander was sent to live with Lon Hodges, a former soldier who has been fighting with PTSD. Before Gander came into Lon’s life, his heart rate was high but, after just two weeks with his furry companion, his heart settled back down to normal. Lon insists Gander saved his life.Gander 687x1024 Gander: Americas Hero Dog (2017) short film review

The documentary follows Lon and Gander through their everyday lives and it is incredibly touching to see how much happiness Gander brings to everyone he meets, and not just Lon. The local restaurant owner, his past trainers, the girls in a local coffee shop, strangers in airports – Gander seems to melt the hearts of everyone and it’s easy to see why. This is a beautiful creature who seems to know when people are feeling down and he makes it his job install joy.

Gander’s services have been recognised and the documentary lets us take a peek at the Hero Dog Awards, where Gander was nominated for Hero Dog of the Year!

As with My Own War and their previous film The Man Behind 55,000 dresses, Stone and Mellen have created a professional and touching piece. The interviews are great and never become boring. The cinematography is on point. The sound is nice and crisp and the editing is great.


Gander: America’s Hero Dog is an inspiring short film that will make you laugh and possibly cry and, for me, it’s Stone’s best work to date.

5 / 5 stars     

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