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IMDB Rating: 6.9/10 from votes
Release: 23 November 2014 (USA) /

Genre: Romance
Director: Michael J. Murray,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: The Christmas Shepherd is a story about a widow of a veteran, Sally Brown, who is a published children's book author. After her husband dies she is left with just "Buddy", his German Shepherd. After a severe storm, Buddy runs off afraid setting in motion a series of events that are sure to unite more than just Buddy and Sally. Written by imdb-645-641022

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Critic Reviews

If it weren't for the romantic Christmas factor, which is clearly what attracts the favorable ratings, this movie would be a real stinker. That alone rates a seven. And the acting is overdone (does Hallmark just have bad directors, or don't any of their Christmas movie actors know how to act?), every scene seems to have an added dose of melodrama. That drops it another couple of points.

And the entire plot with the dog, starting from the point that it ran away, was ridiculous. No self-respecting pet lover would keep a dog that belonged to someone else if the owner was found, especially not as in this situation where the dog was the pet of a soldier who was killed and then was the soldier's wife's reminder of him.

Not to mention the fact that no shelter would ship a dog out so quick clear across country. It came in with a collar with his name on it, meaning he has an owner and a family, and no shelter would ship it across country so quick without doing everything it could and taking several weeks to try and find the owner. Even then it would normally get fostered in the area were it was found, instead of adopted out.

And nobody ever addresses why it had no tag or wasn't chipped. That is irresponsible pet ownership. This would have been a great opportunity to spread the word about making sure your pet has a license tag on its collar at all times, along with a name and address and phone number tag (something you can get for $5 at your nearest Walmart where you can always find an automatic pet tag engraving machine), and to also get it chipped if you can. No pet should ever stay lost for long, it's traumatic for the owner AND the pet.

With all that said, it just stretches the imagination that a supposedly good man would be so selfish as to keep that dog away from its rightful owner, and to teach his daughter that it was OK. Just because she has had a difficult time doesn't mean you suspend teaching responsibility and kindness and generosity.

Understandably, to a child who has just suffered a major loss, it could be traumatic to suffer even further loss, but they'd only had the dog for two weeks, so for heaven's sake, if a dog is what the girl needs, teach her that she can't just keep another person's dog and go get her another one.

To the guy's credit, he did work to sway the girl's mind, but not at first, and a good parent would have just laid down the law and said we must do the right thing and give the dog back. That just isn't something you let a kid think is OK. And what is this bunk about letting the girl make the rules? Don't they even teach good parenting on the Hallmark Channel anymore?

At some point in the movie, there is a discussion that legally the man can keep the dog. I'm pretty sure that is not true. A lost pet does not legally change ownership if the original owner is found only 2 weeks after it ran away in a storm.

And the guy's sister questions that the original owner would want to take the dog away because the guy and his daughter have fallen in love with the dog? Come on.

And the daughter says, "I'm sorry Dad, but Buddy (the dog) is part of our family now." What? The girl honestly can't even empathize with the dog's owner's loss, especially after just suffering loss of her own? Is she a sociopath or something, unable to understand the pain of others? Normal people would be even more sensitive to the needs of others when they've suffered a fresh loss like that.

And when they take the dog back to its owner, the guy says, "I just wanted to make sure that we've done the right thing (bringing the dog back), but I can see we did." What? Again, what? First, you don't know you've done the right thing bringing the dog back to its rightful owner, then you have to gall to pass judgment one way or another? Even though you've previously met the dog's owner and know she is a good person and the dog still knows her and they care for each other? I'm still scratching my head on this one.

Not to mention, the girl doesn't seem upset at all by her separation from the dog. So what was the big deal again?

I like Hallmark Christmas movies, even the sappy ones. But this one just has all kinds of wrong all over it. Sorry, but I'm not a fan, it stinks. As a pet movie of any kind, it shows a total ignorance of every pet issue that should be addressed in the movie. And the parenting examples are horrendous.

If I had to guess, this was some clueless screenwriter who has lost touch with the real world, because the plot is so far off base it smacks of wacko Hollywood. I think that to like it, you couldn't understand parenting or pets very well.

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