Hallmark is famous for bringing together all the feel-good elements in the world to induce an emotional high in you. Romance, the festive season of Christmas, scenic locations, close family ties, and of course a lot of the time animals. There is really a wide list of why having a pet is so soothing and life-changing; from reducing stress, to providing companionship, easing loneliness, and their unconditional love, it’s no surprise that they’re one of the most loved creatures in the world, in person and on screen.
They’re often a catalyst for a better you, a healthier and more secure family, and really at the end of the day, they are just adorable. Seeing them in movies can provide a cathartic experience, as their tenderness, goofiness, and cuteness is at full display. Here’s a list of Hallmark movies that feature animals, often bringing people together and being the reason for a more loved-up existence.
11 Away and Back (2015)
Starring Jason Lee and Minka Kelly, Away and Back tells the story of a widowed farmer whose farm has been visited by a rare family of swans. On the other hand, an ornithologist who hears of the occurrence, decides to go study them, putting her at odds with the owner. Despite their initial quarrels, the swans become the very reason they start to eventually bond. The swans in the film are lovely, and the scenery is stunning. Honestly, It’s not every day you see a film about a passionate human studying swans, especially from Hallmark, which makes this movie a refreshing take on animal-led premises.
10 Just My Type (2020)
Just My Type is a fun-filled romance starring Bethany Joy-Lenz and Brett Delton. Set in the spring, Vanessa, a writer coming from New York, gets a chance to interview an important mystery author, Martin Clayborne, during one of her getaways in rural Washington. As they both spend time with each other because of the interviews, their attraction for each other starts to grow. In this film, Clayborne has the sweetest golden retriever, who steals the show!
9 A Dog Named Christmas (2009)
A Dog Named Christmas is a heart-touching, family-centric movie about Todd (Noel Fisher), who has a developmental disability and an infinite love for animals. When he hears of his local shelter’s announcement asking residents to adopt a dog for Christmas, he tries really hard to convince his family to adopt a dog. However, his father is wary, and is afraid his son might get too attached and eventually get disappointed.
Nonetheless, the mother thinks it’s not black and white, and encourages the decision to get a dog. What follows is a new chapter filled with care, sweetness, and a beautiful relationship that not only blossoms between Todd and the dog but the family as a whole. It’s wonderful to see someone caring about animals’ wellbeing and seeing it payoff in their life. Noel Fisher also gives a masterful performance as Todd, giving an honest, and relevant portrayal of his condition.
8 Christmas with Tucker (2013)
After the death of his father, George must grapple with loss, get back on his own two feet, and face life’s responsibilities. With a family farm to run, his family needs his support. However, for George, pushing through the days after his father seems like an unbearable task, that is, until he befriends his neighbor’s dog when his owner is sent to jail. The special and sweet bond they share, helps him weather the heavy days. The delicate movie highlights the healing and transformative bonds humans and animals are able to share.
7 The Nine Lives of Christmas (2014)
In The Nine Lives of Christmas, a stray cat takes a liking to Zachary, a firefighter enjoying the bachelor life. However, when he crosses paths with Marilee, an avid cat lover who gives him advice on which food to buy for the cat, life takes an unexpected turn, and she moves in with him temporarily. However, what starts as a willingness to help a friend turns into finding out you’re right where you’re supposed to be with a person who fits romantically in your life.
The film not only has absolutely heartwarming cats who bring a unique viewing experience, but the leads have natural chemistry and are very charming. Sometimes, all you need is to give what you’re most afraid of a chance, to realize it has never been as bad as you thought, and perhaps that’s the thing you need the most.
6 Love on Safari (2018)
Set in South Africa, Love on Safari follows Kira, a web designer from Chicago who just inherited a wildlife reserve in South Africa. Upon her visit to the sight, she meets head ranger Tom, and an adventurous ride begins. After finding a new-found purpose, will Kira be able to sell the reserve to a company to head back to her old life? The motion picture has a gorgeous backdrop and lots of animals (giraffes, elephants, zebras, monkeys, and lions) who make an appearance on screen to really bring out the wildlife atmosphere.
At its heart, it has messages of honoring nature and its creatures, of preserving, conserving their environmental and pursuing something greater than ourselves, and of course a touch of romance.
5 Duke (2012)
Duke, a homeless veteran with a painful past, who has a dog he really cares for, faces turmoil when his dog gets very sick. Unable to take care of him, he drops him off on the doorstep of the animal clinic, with a note hoping they will take care of him. The clinic staff rescue him, and bring him back to optimal health. Even so, with the owner’s identity being mysterious, they launch a campaign trying to reunite the dog and the veteran.
However, it is not only the dog they reunite him with him in this campaign, it is someone very dear to him, whom he has pushed away due to shame. In this sensitive film, there is no romance, which is a breath of fresh air in the hallmark universe. The story is rather serious, as it deals with PTSD, and vulnerability, but with a soothing message of hope.
4 Accidental Friendship (2008)
Accidental Friendship is another film on the list that explores homelessness through a mature lens. The lesser-known film stars Chandra Wilson as Yvonne, a homeless woman who only could find solace in her two pets, slowly starts forming a friendship with a police officer who changes her life for the better. When the officer takes note of how tender Yvonne is with her dogs, she begins to slowly open up to the idea of learning more about her past.
When she learns the story of what got her into homelessness, she becomes determined to save this woman’s life. This sweet movie demonstrates how dogs can sometimes be the only reason you keep going, because you care for their well-being. It also shows how sometimes all we need is someone to believe in us and to give us a helping hand despite our messy past.
3 Love and Sunshine (2019)
Love and Sunshine zooms in on a woman who, as part of her healing journey from her broken engagement, fosters a retired military dog until the owner is back again. Their love for the amazing dog Sunshine opens a new opportunity for connection, friendship, and even potential business ventures. The plot allows their relationship to truly flourish, and the dog in the film is wonderful throughout. With very little conflict in the plot, Love and Sunshine is an easy watch that’s definitely going to lift your spirits.
2 Love to the Rescue
Love to the Rescue tells the tale of two families who want to adopt the same dog. In order to find a middle ground, single mom Kate and single dad Eric both agree to share custody of the dog. However, Kate is scared it might potentially unlock a level of intimacy with the other family she is not yet ready for. Love to the Rescue is just an all-around enjoyable family movie where parents, kids and the dog get to spend time together in a balanced and healthy way. It’s also good to mention that the romance is not filled with clichés, which makes it more believable.
1 Walking the Dog (2017)
Set on Vancouver Island, Walking the Dog brings together two lawyers who were first into each other, until they realized they were fighting opposite each other in court for a cause. However, upon bumping into each other through their walks, their dogs, who make the heart melt, take a liking to each other. Can these two dogs allow them to have a chance at love once again, despite their differences? Amusing, fun, and with very well-trained dogs that steal the show, Walking the Dog is a feel-good film.