Over three years in the making and filmed on-location throughout Mexico and in selected areas in the U.S. and Rome, Italy, COMPANIONS TO NONE examines the companion animal overpopulation and abuse crisis in Mexico. One Mexican veterinarian claims, "In some areas of Mexico, dogs outnumber humans. That's a helluva lot of dogs."
COMPANIONS TO NONE includes on-camera interviews with a number of celebrities, including Lolita Ayala, Mexico's most popular television journalist and news anchor. Ms Ayala, highly respected throughout Latin America and well-known for the foundation she started for the welfare of animals, is also actively working on behalf of the welfare of children. Mexican film and television stars Diana Golden and Patricia Reyes Spindola ("Frida") are also animal advocates appearing in the film and contributing their zeal to the solution of this crisis. Narrator of the English version is Julio Cedillo, a rising star in the film world whose most recent credits include the title role in Tommy Lee Jones' award-winning film, "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada."
The film reveals the causes, nature and extent of the crisis, as well as the forces that enable it and delay its fundamental solution: pet sterilization. "The tragic animal situation is a reflection of the tragic human situation," suggests an American animal advocate working in Mexico to alleviate the pain and suffering endured by the starving, disease-ridden street dogs and cats that roam Mexico's cities and villages.
COMPANIONS TO NONE shines a harsh, truth-revealing light on how Mexican authorities deal with the problem: capture as many of these animals as possible, throw them into dungeons called "antirrabicos" and kill them in three days or less, using unimaginably cruel, barbaric methods. As bad as it is, there is hope on the horizon.
Filmmaker Bill Buchanan gets close to many of the people and inside many of the organizations in Mexico and the U.S. that have struggled for decades to reduce the surplus of animals without homes. Generally it's women, often well-to-do, with the time and resources necessary to devote their energies toward making the lives of these animals better. They immerse themselves in work that lacks both prestige and glamour. Truly a labor carved from love and compassion, they confront overwhelming numbers and formidable resistance from Mexico's government, economy, culture and dominant religion.
As a side note, while the film's primary focus is on the companion animal situation, its context is Mexico's cultural richness and physical beauty as well as the desperate economic conditions endured by the majority of the nation's human population. This gives one an instant appreciation and understanding of what lies beneath the immigration crisis facing the U.S. today.
Another outspoken Mexican veterinarian states in the film: "A little ignorance goes a long way. I don't mean to insult anyone. But having puppies or kittens in your home just to experience the miracle of life is really not right. There is no miracle to that life if they're going to end up in a shelter euthanized." This film clearly reveals that tragedy.
Mexico is hardly alone with this issue, however. Up to 10 million healthy dogs and cats are euthanized annually in the U.S. because they have no homes. It is truly a global problem. COMPANIONS TO NONE is an important film that should be seen by audiences not only in Mexico but throughout the world.