'The Canine Condition' Docuseries Shines Light on Homeless Dog Crisis (Exclusive)

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Sep. 1 2021, Published 4:12 p.m. ET

Jacqueline Piñol adopt don't shop
Source: Annie Shak

There are many ways to make your dog’s life more eco-friendly — but perhaps the most impactful choice dog parents can make is following the mantra “adopt, don’t shop.” Actress Jacqueline Piñol, best known for her roles in Bosch and various Spider-Man projects, learned this the hard way. In 2006, she bought a pug from a pet store, unaware of the homeless dog crisis or the harsh reality behind the dog breeding industry. So when she suddenly learned the truth two years later, she was devastated, but her feelings inspired her to take action.

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In the years since then, Piñol has become a fierce advocate for dogs. She is a dog mom to a brood of six doggos, five of whom she adopted (and she also recently became a mother to a baby!). She is also the host of The Canine Condition, which is both a podcast and a new documentary series (or, as she calls it, a “DOGumentary” series), set to drop fall 2021. Dog lovers are sure to love the docuseries, which is “a journey around the U.S. where we see the different facets of the homeless dog crisis in small towns and big cities.”

Each episode focuses on different nonprofit dog rescue organizations or individuals working to improve dog rescue. “My goal is to show the general public tangible choices that they can trust so more of us step up and help make a positive difference for dogs and for people,” Piñol tells Green Matters exclusively in an email. “The stories we cover will inspire, educate and empower you to take action.”

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The Canine Condition, Jacqueline Piñol
Source: Annie Shak

The Canine Condition is heartwarming as can be — so have the tissues ready. “One of my favorites topics in both the podcast and the documentary series is seeing homeless … dogs be paired with veterans, children, or prisoners, and guided through rehabilitation programs that both the human and the canine need,” Piñol continues. “Seeing that canine-human bond form and witnessing the transformations will move you beyond belief.”

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Since Piñol is an expert in all things dogs, we asked her to share her Green Routine as a dog parent, so we could learn more about the importance of adopting, her best tips for eco-friendly canine care, and what it’s like to work with dogs on film sets.

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GREEN MATTERS: Why is it important to adopt not shop?

JACQUELINE PIÑOL: To adopt means we are saving the life of a dog that may otherwise never get to live because we have too many homeless dogs and not enough families adopting them. They get euthanized all over the country everyday. By “shopping” for a dog, we are adding to that homeless overpopulation because there aren’t enough families to care for every puppy born so they end up in shelters, dumped or neglected.

GM: What might people be surprised to learn about the dog breeding industry?

JP: The breeding industry has very lenient laws. If people actually knew how little oversight and regulation exists for breeders all over this country, it would be more nauseating than hearing the truth once and for all and taking action to change the way people use dogs for profit.

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GM: How did you feel when you learned about the homeless dog crisis, knowing that you had purchased a dog from a pet store?

JP: I was very troubled and sad. I bought a pug from a pet store in 2006 and found out in 2008 that there were many pugs needing rescue! I had to do something. In 2009 I fostered a pug who was adopted out to a wonderful home thanks to a rescue organization. That was when I discovered how rewarding fostering a dog is. You don’t know what you don’t know, but once you know, you do better. As corny as it sounds, be the change you want to see.

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GM: What are your favorite tips for keeping dog care eco-friendly?

JP: Use compostable dog poop bags! Get leashes that are made out of hemp or recycled polyester. They are still very sturdy. Save money and water by having a dry shampoo or waterless shampoo on hand. With six pups I will break the bank getting them groomed often, so I keep them cleaner longer by brushing them often and using a waterless shampoo. And make sure the companies you buy those products from don’t test on animals. This is important and part of my podcast message.

Editor's note: Piñol says you can learn more about this in this episode of The Canine Condition podcast.

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GM: What is your No. 1 pro and con of taking care of six dogs?

JP: No. 1 pro: I receive so much love every single day. All six fur babies can’t wait to see me everyday no matter how many times I walk through the door. That fills my heart.

The No. 1 con: I pick up poop every single day of my life, lots of it, multiple times a day. That also means I get to smell dog poop up close everyday. Fun times.

GM: As an actress, have you ever worked on a project with animal actors on set? How are dogs and other animals treated on sets?

JP: Yes! I played a veterinarian, Dr. Tawni Martinez, in this very sweet family movie called Monster Mutt. I got to work with a Border Collie and she was a doll. She was very obedient. I did see that the handlers are strict and precise with direction and in my experience this dog really trusted her handler. We moved quickly through the scenes with the dog so she could take breaks. Believe me, if I saw something was not OK in terms of safety or treatment of a dog, I would be the first one to speak up!

"Green Routine" is a series from Green Matters that invites notable people in the environmental space to share the efforts they make to live more sustainably.

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