Shadow Dog: In Search of a Missing Puppy

My wife, son and rescued two stray kittens in an Oakland park today. And, a few weeks ago, my niece’s dog went missing in Brooklyn.

All this reminded me of a great short documentary on a missing dog in Evergreens Cemetary (straddles Brooklyn and Queens, New York).


Trailer for “Shadow of a Dog: In Search of a Missing Puppy”

Watch “Shadow of a Dog”

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  • My Rating: 95/100
  • IMDB Rating: na
  • Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: na

My Review

I love this feel good short documentary “Shadow of a Dog.”

It begins on the gritty streets of Brooklyn and feels straight out of a film noir.

Sirens echo in the distance.

Informants dial in with urgent tips.

The camera captures desolate urban landscapes, setting a solitary backdrop for the story of a lost dog named Chica.

This isn’t your typical detective story.

Jim Tierney, the lead character, isn’t hunting a criminal; he’s searching for a pup.

Directed by Sean Paulsen and Brad Wickham (and backed by The New Yorker), the 2023 short film spans a tense 10 minutes.

By day, Tierney runs a pet-care service.

By night, he transforms into an intuitive pet tracker, not a “dogcatcher,” a term he avoids due to its negative connotations.

Tierney’s unique skills are in high demand among pet owners and rescue organizations desperate for help.

The hunt for Chica, a runaway terrier mix, unfolds in Evergreens Cemetery, straddling Brooklyn and Queens.

Tierney doesn’t mess around.

He’s equipped with night-vision trail cameras, a hefty cage, and plenty of hot dogs.

He conducts his searches under the cloak of darkness.

Each unsuccessful night ends with a retreat to his car where the team strategizes their next move.

Despite the emotional toll, Tierney’s resolve only strengthens.

Tierney’s nocturnal missions often feel like a vigilante operation.

He’s known to dodge fences and ignore “Do Not Enter” signs, always just a step ahead of the authorities.

His alibi is simple and true—”We’re looking for a lost dog.” It’s his get-out-of-jail-free card.

The drama in “Shadow of a Dog” isn’t driven by dialogue, which is sparse, but by Tierney’s persistent figure moving through the shadows.

Paulsen’s eerie score enhances the tension. Surveillance-like footage shows Tierney wrestling with the cage and navigating the urban jungle.

The L train rumbles in the background, Manhattan’s skyline lighting the horizon.

Paulsen and Wickham capture the essence of this chase.

The documentary is more than a search for Chica.

It’s an exploration of Tierney’s dedication and the stark loneliness of the city at night.

It’s a story of determination, of never giving up on a lost cause, no matter how daunting the odds.

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly

Chief Maniac, Daily Doc