While I initially had some misgivings about the actor playing the kid (last seen playing the rage-inducing, O'Halloran-murdering little bastard of a tech Stuckey on Law & Order: SVU), all it took to override that was, um, LOTS OF DOGS. And horses. And cows. On a family farm. Did I mention the lots of dogs? Because there were lots of dogs beyond the title dog. Who, by the way, was a white-faced old Labrador. BASICALLY, IT WAS ANIMAL CITY WITH THE WORLD'S MOST WONDERFUL POOCH AT THE CENTER OF IT. I cried three times, exactly as I predicted I would, and spent the rest of the time flailing about how in love with this story I was.
No shame. No guilty pleasure. Pure and unconditional love. (Of course, I also think there is no way I could have watched this if I hadn't been curled up with my own Lab-sized dog at the time, because if I hadn't been able to turn around and pet a real live canine every five seconds, seeing all those cute dogs most likely would have been torture.)
In sum: basically, someone out there decided to give me a custom-made Christmas present. I shall have to hunt down the book and see if the awesomeness translates back to print, and if so, whether it might be one of those rare adult novels that's actually good.