This beautifully animated, touchingly realistic tale has nothing sentimental about it. It pays tribute with humour and wit to the the transformative nature of pet owning. Much of the comedy and fascination in such a relationship is in the infinite accommodation of the pet to its owner, and vice versa - no matter how wide the temperamental mismatch.
And so it is here. An 18 month old excitable, unwalked, unloved German Shepherd bitch called Tulip is rescued by a middle aged, curmudgeonly batchelor, British writer JR Ackerley (sonorously voiced by Christopher Plummer). Ackerley's memoir depicts with candour and without a trace of self-pity how he had given up on finding 'good companionship and intellectual stimulation' from a close human companion - but in the sixteen years which follow, he finds emotional succour and fascination in Tulip's many foibles.
The film by Paul and Sandra Fierlinger is visually stunning, the score by John Avarese joyous and uplifting and the tale - not for young children - encompasses an unflinching account of dogs' habits and needs: excretory and sexual, frankly depicted, but is ultimately a tribute to 'constant, single-hearted, incorruptible, uncritical devotion' - on both sides. Highly recommended.