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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Man’s best friend

November 06 2013
Documentary explores the relationship between homeless people and their dogs


Sleeping Ruff, a documentary exploring the relationships between homeless people and their dogs, is to come to public attention again as it screens for the first time on the Community Channel.

Filmmaker Susi Arnott teamed up with the national animal health organisation Vetwork to follow nine dog owners sleeping on the streets of Edinburgh to make the film nearly a decade ago. The film demonstrates just how deep the commitment to their canine companions is.

If it wasn‘t for his trusted dog Holly, Alan believes he would be in prison. In the film he explains: “She keeps me on the straight and narrow because I spend my drinking money on food for her. For some people who don’t have families, their dogs are their only company.”

Another woman featured, Chrissie, says: “I prefer dogs to people. They protect you on the street, barking to warn the owner. There’s an unconditional love that you get from your dog.”

Stephen Blakeway, from Vetwork, said he was glad that the film was still useful: “Talking about their dogs allowed them to open up about their lives in a way they probably wouldn’t if they were just talking for themselves,” he added.

“We hope the film will lead to more hostels taking in homeless people with pets."