BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — We all know rescue animals like the ones at the Bakersfield SPCA are special, but did you know they can be movie stars?
"The film follows a loner alcoholic as he struggles to find sobriety and along the way, he meets a stray dog played by a real-life rescue Siberian husky named Caleb," said Rob Grabow.
Grabow played many roles in the film "The Year Of The Dog," from writer and co-director to lead actor, but his work goes beyond entertainment.
Grabow is partnering with animal shelters in cities where the film is playing to donate a percentage of the proceeds in honor of his co-star.
"He was passed between homes. People kept saying he was too much dog and too energetic, which is just the nature of Siberian huskies, and so it’s those things that made him absolutely amazing in the film," said Grabow. "We wanted to bring awareness to that aspect of rescue animals in particular."
Caleb went through six weeks of intensive positive-reinforcement training. Grabow said making a movie with a dog had its challenges with some good lessons.
“That’s the way it is in real life. There are just things you don’t control and especially with animals, you have to kind of meet them where they're at and they meet you where you're at, so I loved it. It was a lot of learning and you had to be really spontaneous and able to respond, but it was great," he said.
The Bakersfield SPCA will be getting a donation from the film. Communications specialist Kristen White said she appreciates the message it’s sending.
"The story part of it where this guy, he gets Caleb [and] they're doing their thing together, I feel like that's going to help adoptions, you know, across the hundred different areas that he's touching," said White. "When people see this, they're going to see the value in adopting an animal."
The SPCA recently renovated its puppy room. Now with this donation, White said they can do the same with their cattery.
Caleb is now with the Performing Animal Troupe based in Palmdale.
Grabow said he hopes when people watch the film or hear Caleb’s story, they feel inspired.
"There's a line in the film that talks about we don't leave things broken. In the case of Caleb, for example, people gave up a little bit too early, like they felt he was too energetic and [too] much," he said. "There's always an opportunity for it to get better [and] if someone would have stayed with Caleb just a little bit longer, maybe they would have recognized this inherent value that he had."
If you'd like learn more about the SPCA, click here.
The film will soon be available to watch digitally on Amazon and iTunes.