One man and his dog were so close that the master knew his animal’s every habit. So, when they stepped out for a walk one day and the man noticed how his faithful friend was behaving, he realized that something was wrong. And what happened next was heartbreaking.
That moment was soundtracked by a tune by legendary singer-songwriter Yusuf Islam. Born in Britain in 1948, Islam began his career under the name Cat Stevens in the 1960s. Since then, he’s clocked up a number of musical and humanitarian awards alongside his many hits.
And Islam’s first single, released when he was recording as Cat Stevens, was called “I Love My Dog.” The tune appeared on his debut studio album, Matthew and Son, which he released in 1967, and it also spent seven weeks in the U.K Singles Chart the previous year.
As the song title suggests, “I Love My Dog” chronicles Islam’s affections for his four-legged friend. In the lyrics, he suggests that while romances may fade, a dog’s love is unconditional. Moreover, all the animal asks for in return is attention and food.
Unsurprisingly, the song has found a cult following among animal lovers. Furthermore, as a vegetarian and dog fan himself, the single has a special place in Islam’s heart. So, when the track recently celebrated its 50th birthday, the star wanted to do something to mark the occasion.
To do so, Islam teamed up with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – more commonly known as PETA. PETA is one of the world’s leading animal rights organizations, and it jumped at the chance to work with Islam’s iconic ode to dogs.
What’s more, Islam is the latest in a long line of celebrities to team up with PETA. Artists such as Chrissie Hynde, Morrissey, The Black Keys and even the Beatles, for instance, have all shown their support for the organization in the past.
And in order to mark “I Love My Dog”’s birthday, PETA decided to film a new video for the song – with the approval of Islam, of course, who let the animal rights organization use his music free of charge. To that end, PETA built a visual narrative around the lyrics, and it created quite the tear-jerking story.
The video opens with a man reading a flier advertising dogs available at a local shelter. Inspired, he decides to check the facility out. And once there, he falls in love with a senior doggy whom he quickly selects to adopt.
When he’s back at the man’s home, however, the pooch has a few teething problems. In one mischievous moment, for example, the dog spreads trash all over his owner’s flat. But upon seeing the animal lying among the garbage, his human can’t help but smile.
Then, after cleaning up the mess, the responsible owner tries to teach his pet how to use its bed. However, the adorable animal seems to be perplexed by the concept. Instead, he rolls over, encouraging the man to spoil him with belly rubs.
Later in the video, meanwhile, the guy and the dog go out for a walk. And although the animal doesn’t like his lead at first, he soon gets the hang of it thanks to his master’s patience. Before long, moreover, the pet can sit and give his paw on command.
From there, the heartwarming footage continues to follow the man’s blossoming relationship with his dog. They enjoy cuddles and sloppy licks on the sofa and many more walks. But then tragedy strikes.
The pair are out for a stroll when the guy notices his old buddy is slowing down. So, understandably, he takes him to a vet for a check-up. However, sadly, all is not well with his canine companion. And after saying his final goodbye to the dog, his master returns home alone.
With his best friend gone, the man looks mournfully around his empty apartment. Now the animal’s bed, bowl and lead – reminders of their time together – lie there unused. With nothing left to do, the bereft owner opens a beer to drown his sorrows.
However, as he tries to relax, he can’t help but notice the empty space left on his sofa. That’s when he notices another leaflet advertising his local dog shelter once more. Although his beloved dog is gone, there are plenty more out there waiting to love and be loved.
Without a moment to lose, the animal lover picks up his dog lead and heads for the door, after which the video ends on a cliffhanger. However, there’s little doubt that the man is heading to the shelter to rescue another new friend.
PETA hopes that the emotional footage will inspire more people to adopt dogs from shelters. The organization also wants to remind the public that owning a dog requires a lifetime commitment.
“Buying a dog (or any other animal) from a pet store or breeder means that a deserving animal at a shelter loses the chance at finding a loving, permanent home,” reads a statement on the PETA website. “Buying a dog supports ‘puppy mills,’ cruel breeding operations in which dogs are raised in cramped, crude and filthy conditions.”
And Islam has added that people wouldn’t regret their decision to adopt a shelter animal. “A dog will love you unconditionally, whether you’re on top of the world or in the pits,” he is quoted as saying in a PETA press release. “PETA and I encourage everyone to visit their local animal shelter today and open their heart and home to an animal in need.”