Hero Dog

One dog’s heroic act—caught on surveillance camera—inspires a filmmaker to travel to Chile to explore the feasibility of a search for the hero dog. The result is a stirring documentary and the adoption of multiple street dogs, proving that courage is contagious… and one dog can make a difference.

Pure brilliance of heart! Spiritual students throughout the world will recognize the deep Universal Dharma (wisdom-heart) illuminated throughout the script.

—Valeta Bruce, Dharma Leader in the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology.

A striking and memorable film you won’t want to miss. Someone should make a film about Vanessa herself! She is a passionate and formidable defender of animals and their right not to be hurt.

—Professor Chris Palmer, Director at the Center for Environmental Filmmaking.

A masterpiece of heartbreaking truth, unforgettable characters, and a testament to the power of selfless love. This film deserves an Oscar!

—Dustin Castleberry, Hollywood Screenwriter.

Play the Trailer



Proceeds from this film go toward select organizations in Chile that aim to alleviate the suffering of street dogs.


The video shows a dog hit by a car on a busy highway in Chile. Another dog then comes and drags—inch by inch with her paws—the injured dog out of harm’s way. Nobody stops to help and finally highway workers arrive to throw the dog’s body into the back of a truck. The hero dog looks on in distress before disappearing into the crowded streets of Santiago.

A surveillance camera records the whole scene and the video goes viral to over a million users. Vanessa Schulz—a filmmaker in Bend, Oregon—is so inspired by this extraordinary act of courage that she finds a way to go to Santiago to make a film about the world the hero dog inhabits… a world that in Chile numbers 2.5 million street dogs.

The dogs are everywhere. Stray dogs are so woven into the fabric of Chilean culture that their presence is barely noticed or acknowledged. When Vanessa arrives and gives the dogs affection, she quickly attracts the attention of local activists, eager to get their message out.

Thus begins a journey into the individual lives of street dogs, personalizing their stories in a way that brings meaning to their lives and the lives of the people who defend them against powerful, corrupt, global systems that have institutionalized oppression and murder. The results prove yet again that change lies in the hands of the public. The biggest obstacle: Apathy. Through personal experience, HERO DOG explores apathy’s opposite—empathy and compassion.

For Vanessa, the YouTube video was a call to action. Not only did it lead to the rescue of several dogs, it created a hero dog’s legacy that gives viewers the opportunity to see themselves through the eyes of man’s “best friend.” Even prior to the film’s official release, it has already lead to a similar call to action for many others, proving that courage is contagious, and one dog can make a difference.

Copyright © 2018, 21st Paradigm