Fellow animal lovers, listen up! Whether you’re into documentaries, true stories or animated flicks, watching a movie about animals and their special connection to us humans can warm even the coldest heart. There’s just something about watching a dog like Lassie stop at nothing to find his owner or watching monks lay with endangered tigers that puts a smile on our face. So the next time you’re gearing up for a night of Netflix bingeing, queue up one of these 11 heartwarming animal movies and pull your own pets a little closer.
1. The Tiger and the Monk: If you didn’t already have a great respect for Buddhist monks, you will after watching this documentary. Set in Bangkok, the movie tells the tale of monks who carefully raised 10 endangered tigers from cubs and their special bond. Cue the group “awwww” in 3… 2… 1… (Photo via Vivendi Entertainment)
2. Dogs With Jobs: Okay, so this is technically a TV show, but we dare you to stop watching after the first episode. This lighthearted series follows different dogs around the country as they do jobs as both rescuers and entertainers. You’ll look at your own pooch in a whole different light after the credits roll. (Photo via National Geographic Channel)
3. Khumba: The whole family, young and old, will adore this movie. A young zebra named Khumba is missing half his stripes and is rejected from his herd because of it. Follow along on his wacky adventures as he travels across the desert in search of his missing stripes. (Photo via Triggerfish Animation CC)
4. Gabe the Cupid Dog: A dog who plays cupid to his owner and the loveable girl next door? It doesn’t get much cuter than this. (Photo via Screenplay, Inc.)
5. Buck: Meet Buck Brannaman, the horse trainer who inspired the popular movie The Horse Whisperer. Through this film, you’ll learn how communicating with animals can teach us valuable lessons about interacting with other humans. Bonus points if you’re a diehard horse lover, but anyone with a soft spot for animals will enjoy this one. (Photo via Cedar Creek Productions LLC)
6. Lassie: A classic everyone should see at least once, this tale of Lassie getting back to his owner will tug at your heartstrings. Nothing is able to stop him, and you won’t be able to turn away. Just make sure you have the tissues nearby. (Photo via MGM Studios)
7. Happy People: A Year in the Taiga: Travel to the River Yenisei in Russia, which almost seems like a different world entirely (you’ll know why as soon as the movie starts). Watch and learn how the inhabitants truly know what it means to “live off the land” and the crucial role having a good dog plays in surviving in this rough terrain. (Photo via Studio Babelsberg)
8. A Cat in Paris: This adorable movie will be an absolute hit with both the kiddos and the adults. When young Zoe finds out her beloved pet cat is also a Parisian thief’s companion, she gets thrown into a world full of gangsters and stolen jewels. (Photo via Folimage)
9. Give Me Shelter: Full disclosure: This one is a major tearjerker. But any animal lover knows that being informed on crucial animal issues is important, and this one definitely sheds some light on topics like puppy mills, exotic animal trades, animal testing and the organizations committed to animal well-being. (Photo via INRI Pictures)
10. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale: This sentimental movie, which is based on a true story, tells the tale of a loyal dog named Hachiko and the bond he shared with his deceased owner (Richard Gere). The dog visits a train station daily for more than a decade, waiting for his owner to return. If you’ve ever lost a dog before, this one’s going to have you reaching for the tissues. (Photo via Stage 6 Films)
11. Virunga: Funded by animal rights activist and major movie star Leonardo DiCaprio, Virunga is an Oscar-nominated documentary that follows African rangers and their fight to save not only their national park, but also its endangered gorillas. If you like this movie, there’s a second one entitled Virunga: Gorillas in Peril which talks about the team’s inspiration to fight for these gorillas. (Photo via Netflix)
What’s your all-time favorite animal movie? Have you watched any of the ones on our list? Hit us up on Twitter and let us know @britandco!