Dog movies tug at my heartstrings

I cry when dogs die in movies and I’m man enough to admit it.

Take out a brigade of enemy soldiers or let the Calvary take out 500 Indians and my upper lip remains stiff. Give me a scene where Fido ends up taking a dirt nap and I turn to jelly.

So Netflix has this thing where they recommend movies based on like movies you rated high. “Where the Red Fern Grows” kept popping up at the top of the list but I really couldn’t remember ever having seen it.

Finally, with the wind howling outside I decided on Memorial Day to watch the movie. My wife, who doesn’t share my need for a good cry every once in awhile, immediately left the room when she saw what was coming. She says she doesn’t like to see pets suffer, but I think her real trouble lies with watching a grown man bawl.

One of my favorite all-time tearjerkers is “Old Yeller.” Travis starts out not having the time for the nonsense of a dog around — especially an egg-sucker like that yella cur. The dog gradually gets him to warm to the idea of having a dog around the farm and in the end Travis faces the ultimate test of his maturity when he has to put the dog down himself.

I’m starting to mist up a little just writing about it.

Not surprisingly, at least to me, was that I found “Old Yeller” on several Internet lists of tearjerker movies, and not just tearjerker animal movies. One had him at No. 10 and another at No. 12.

A couple of flicks on the sad animal movie lists that I didn’t quite understand were “Dances With Wolves,” where the wolf Two-socks gets shot, and “King Kong,” when the bad monkey dies.

I’ve got to say that the makers of the movie “Benji” sold out to the almighty dollar when they failed to kill off the lovable little pooch. Think how much better it would have been if we’d all been bawling our eyes out at the end. Same way with Lassie, you can’t cash in on sequels and television if the main character dies. Lassie must have gone through a half dozen Timmy actors and attendant family members. The dog was always the same.

Some other animal movies where the animals die in the end that make my list of favorites are “Marley and Me,” “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale,” “ Turner and Hooch,” “Bambi,” and “The Yearling.”

So moms, your kids are out of school so the next bad weather day rent one of these and teach your kids to be tough — with a soft inner core.