Self-isolation inspiration: Top 11 animal films and TV shows

The best animal TV to binge-watch on sick days, duvet days and during self-isolation...

As people choose to stay at home and self-isolate or social distance in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, a lot of families will find themselves with LOTS of time on their hands. 

So in a bid to help households across the country fill some of that time with something worthwhile, our animal-crazy staff have put together their guide to the best animal-themed shows, documentaries and films available on Netflix and on-demand TV. So dim those lights, break out the popcorn, and enjoy...

Dog-umentaries

1. Pick of the Litter

This dog-umentary on Netflix follows five puppies as they train to become guide dogs in the USA. Our apprentice campaigns officer, Ren, says: "It's a really nice insight into the world of working dogs - but make sure to have tissues handy!"

2. Dogs

This Netflix original docu-series explores the incredible relationships between people and dogs, featuring six individual stories from around the world. Digital marketing officer, Denise says: "All of the stories are so heartwarming."

3. Planet Earth

David Attenborough narrates this breathtaking BBC documentary (available on iPlayer) featuring footage of some of the world's greatest natural wonders. Prepare for lots of ohhhs, ahhhs and wows. Digital content editor, Hannah, says: "David Attenborough's soothing voice and the incredible cinematography of Planet Earth is enough to get anyone through this self-isolation!"

4. Life in the Doghouse

This fascinating and moving Netflix original features a couple who operate a dog rescue in the US out of their own home. They vow to help the neediest dogs - just like the RSPCA - and have helped more than 10,000 pooches. Press officer, Amy, says: "I'm a sucker for anything that features the amazing work animal rescuers are doing around the world - it makes me so proud to be a part of this world."

TV series

5. Animal Rescue School

Starting on Saturday (21 March) on Channel 4 - and soon-to-be available on 4OD - our brand new show Animal Rescue School follows our newest recruits as they train to become inspectors. Head of press, Jo, says: "This is such a fascinating insight into what it really takes to be one of our inspectors - and it's narrated by our friend and supporter Sir Patrick Stewart!"

6. The Dog Rescuers

Available on Channel 5's My5 on-demand service, The Dog Rescuers with Alan Davies follows our officers out on the road, rescuing dogs in need of help and following their journeys as they're rehabilitated and rehomed. Dog welfare expert, Sam Gaines, says: "The Dog Rescuers is great TV for a rainy day inside; there's drama, tears and happy endings a plenty."

7. Free Rein

If trashy, 'guilty pleasure' TV is your thing, then this is the show for you. It tells the story of a teenage girl from LA who spends the summer on a quaint island off the coast of England where she bonds with a mysterious horse. Press officer, Nicola, says: "If you're horse mad (like me) and enjoy a trashy, teen series then this is great to while away the hours."

Moo-vies

8. Holiday in the Wild

Escape to the wilds of Zambia, to spend some time with orphaned elephants in this Netflix original film based on a real-life project. Campaign manager, Holly, says: "It's a bit of African sunshine - guaranteed to get you reaching for your passport as soon as this isolation is over!"

9. Nine Lives

This is a fun film for all of the family! The story follows a father who finds himself in the body of a cat after buying one for his daughter. Self-confessed cat crazy press officer, Emily, says: "I love to curl up on the sofa with my cat, Indy, and watch a good cat film - this is purr-fect if you're looking for something suitable for the whole family."

10. Charlotte's Web

An adaptation of the classic children's novel, Charlotte's Web - available on Netflix - tells the tale of a pig called Wilbur and his unlikely friendship with Charlotte the spider. Press officer and vegan, Lucy, says: "This film is such a lovely reminder of how all animals deserve our love and understanding - pigs and spiders included! Just make sure you have a hanky handy...!"

11. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

A heartwarming Netflix original about a 13-year-old Malawi boy who finds a way to save his family and village from famine. The film features dogs rescued by our sister charity in Malawi; Lilongwe Society for the Protection and Care of Animals. Video producer, Becky, says: "This is a truly inspiring and heartwarming story. And even better, it features some furry friends from our wonderful sister organisation in Malawi."

Expert tip: And if, like me, you'll only watch a film if you know the dog won't die in some heartbreakingly, emotional scene then use visit Does the Dog Die? before hitting play!

We need your help...

Our priority will always be helping animals in need. As the situation around coronavirus unfolds, we'll continue to do everything that we can to rescue and care for needy animals. Our animal rescuers will carry on with their vital work and we'll always continue to provide you with our latest advice.

As this uncertain situation progresses, we're expecting extra strain to be put on our centres as volunteers are unable to work. Sadly, we also expect to lose many of our vital donations as a result of pulling our face-to-face fundraising activity including choosing to cancel our vital fundraising events. We're also aware that we may be faced with countrywide charity shop closures...

As a charity, we've always relied on the generosity of kind supporters to enable us to do the work that we do and now, more than ever, we need your help. The truth is, we couldn't rescue the animals that we do without your kind support. So, if you find yourself saving a little extra petrol money at the moment, please know that your spare change could mean a world of difference to an animal in need...

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