Guard Dog

Guard Dog

In the four minute animated short Guard Dog, a dog with an overactive imagination is taken for a walk, and attacks everyone and everything in sight, however innocuous they appear, because he’s convinced they are about to decapitate or otherwise maim his master in bizarre ways that are as gruesome as they are unlikely. The unintended result of his paranoia is not pleasant.

I don’t know that there’s anything more to this than a little animated fun, but if the filmmaker had some deeper symbolic purpose in mind, my guess would be that the dog represents those who see enemies everywhere and who think it’s always “better safe than sorry” to spend more on the military, go to war more readily, crack down on dissent or anything that could impair the military, etc., and who don’t see that it’s not in fact safer to overreact to every threat (and to imagine some that aren’t there at all), because all these countermeasures come at a price—economic, moral, political, etc.—and the result might well be the weakening of what you think you’re defending so fiercely.

Did the hyper-militarized Soviet Union and its adventures in Afghanistan and such make for a safer country and a more stable regime, or did it have the opposite effect? What will be the ultimate fate of the American empire if Bush and Cheney-style Republicans always have their way on “defense”?

So Guard Dog put me in mind of that sort of thing, but I don’t know if that message was or wasn’t the filmmaker’s intention. With or without the symbolism, it’s certainly entertaining enough to warrant the four minute investment.

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