Yesterday I had to make an emergency run to the grocery store to resupply our office stash of coffee and creamer. I made a whirlwind pass through the aisles and was making great time when I stopped dead in my tracks. Stacked in front of me was a huge display of a new dog food. Big deal, right? Wrong. The name of the dog food printed on the bags left me shaking my head in dismay: Old Yeller.

Like the half of the American population old enough to remember it, I think this is a wonderful movie. It’s wholesome and, unlike many of its contemporary counterparts, it tackles a hard life lesson head-on. And it has the power to make almost anyone who watches it bawl like a baby. The ending is just downright sad.

And that’s why I think this dog food is an epic FAIL.

The ending–when a boy must shoot his own faithful-but-now-rabid dog–is exactly what people remember when they think of Old Yeller. The final scene serves as the defining moment of the entire movie, and it is nothing short of tragic. Why, oh why, would I buy food for my dog that instantly conjures up memories of a film that made me cry harder than any other film I’ve ever seen?

Sure, Old Yeller was smart and faithful and true. He was everything we imagine in a perfect dog. Unfortunately, the painful ending overshadows all that. It’s too big a hurdle for even the most clever marketing scheme to leap, at least in my not-so-humble opinion. Maybe Benji would be a better name.

Update: I found the press release announcing the Old Yeller food online. (Read the press release announcing the new dog food here.) Apparently this dog food has been on the market for several years. I also found some other blog commentary, my favorite of which is titled, “Do you have to shoot your dog once he finishes eating?” Seriously, Kroger, this idea is just plain BAD.


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