CMU School of Drama

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

13 Reasons Why Therapy Dogs: Full Story, Behind The Scenes

collegecandy.com: It’s not surprising that the cast of 13 Reasons Why would need a little pick-me-up during filming. The new Netflix series tackles many tough topics like suicide, sexual assault and bullying. Watching the episodes is already hard so it’s pretty easy to imagine how challenging acting in the roles would be, physically and emotionally. Dylan Minnette, who plays the male lead Clay, told Popsugar that therapy dogs were brought on set for an hour each day. “They really tried to help out,” he said. “The puppies helped.”

5 comments:

Angel Zhou said...

Ever since this year of CMU, I have been considering getting a dog for de-stressing reasons (and because dogs are ridiculously cute and great companions). I think the idea of therapy dogs, especially for the cast of “13 Reasons Why” and for universities like CMU, is a really good and well-needed one. I also hope these dogs are treated and taken care of very well because the task they do is for others and not themselves. However, I can’t help but think of one of the conversations I’ve had with one of my friends at CMU while we were walking by a petting zoo on The Cut. He was very vocal and upset when he saw the petting zoo because he claimed that the zoo may help to de-stress, but it doesn’t do anything about the problem of stress culture on campus. I fully agree with his opinion – though this does not quite apply to shows like “13 Reasons Why”, but with respect to college campuses, stress culture is much better addressed through making the campuses less stressful, not bringing animals every now and then. For now, though, since CMU is extremely stressful, it is good that they have therapy animals to help try to alleviate some of the issues on campus.

Helena Hewitt said...

I haven’t watched “13 Reasons Why” for reasons of my own, but I appreciate that handling that level of stress and difficult, emotional work on a daily basis could be really challenging. The article seemed to be focused on the stress relief for the actors, but I hope they are also providing care to their crew as well. Being “behind the scenes” means sometimes your emotional life gets forgotten about and you just become synonymous with your work. You are the things you create/do and nothing more. But a few minutes with a therapy animal can restore a feeling of being human like nothing else. There are regular therapy dog sessions here at CMU, and the few times I’ve gone it’s been very helpful. Unfortunately, the culture here makes it seem like if you are taking time away from your work you are wasting/mismanaging your life. It is nice to know that in the so-called real world, it seems your emotional and mental health are a much higher priority, with companies taking actual actions like this, rather than just putting a note on the end of a syllabus.

Lauren Miller said...

Therapy dogs are incredible companions and can help with so much if you suffer from a mental illness. There are actually service dogs trained to stop suicidal behavior or self-harming in case you struggle with that and what to not constantly be with other people for the rest of your life. Enough about the puppies. 13 Reasons Why is a very concerning series that was done in a very wrong way and has the potential to do so much harm to those who struggle with depression and/or suicidal thoughts. This show literally does everything you are not supposed to do when addressing the topic of suicide, the most prominent feature being the glamorous revenge fantasy plot and the graphic representation of Hannah's (the main character) death. When you show the explicit details on screen it doesn't shock or deter the audience, it serves as an instruction manual. I keep my hand in the online mental health community (being a once and current member) and it is already very clear the negative impact this show has made. (For further reading - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2017/04/14/the-problem-with-how-13-reasons-why-treats-suicide/?utm_term=.cb7234832f04). Please don't glamorize or endorse the show.

Claire Farrokh said...

I am constantly torn about Thirteen Reasons Why. When I read the book as a teenager, I absolutely loved it, and I actually found it to be very life affirming for me. When I heard that Netflix was going to be making an original series based on it, I was skeptical. There was supposed to be a movie based on the book a while back, but that never actually happened. Or if it did, it must not have been very good because I never heard anything about it. The Netflix series is about what you would expect for a show geared towards teenagers, but I think it's very well done for what it is. I know that many people think the show and the concept behind it is extremely problematic, and I understand why, but I disagree. I do not think the show glorifies suicide. I think it shines a light on how everything you do has an impact on someone. Even if something is just a joke, it could be part of a reason why someone's life ends. I also like that in the Netflix series, there is a lot of focus on Hannah'/ parents. That does not exist in the book, and I think seeing the extreme sorrow that Hannah'a parents are faced with would help deter thoughts of suicide, or at least make someone reevaluate. That all being said, the show is sometimes very hard to watch, and I'm sure it was even harder to act in, so I am very glad that the show had therapy dogs on set.

Chris Calder said...

Dogs are incredible animals that work as an amazing companions and can have an extremely positive effect on humans. I have no idea what it is about dogs that make them so lovable but being a dog owner for the majority of my childhood, I can say with confidence that it would not have been the same, and this article aside, I personally think that it is extremely important to have a dog when you are growing up. Although I have never seen the series “13 Reason Why” I have heard from many of my peers that it was not done in the correct way. It portrays many of its themes in a way that has proven to have a negative effect on the topic of suicide. As a side comment, in addition to reading this article I also glanced at the article that Lauren put up and found it very interesting; if you have a chance I would highly recommend it.