Kendra Coulter, Associate Professor in Labour Studies, wrote a piece recently published in The Conversation about how canine actors, such as the fictional police canine Rex in the television series Hudson & Rex, challenges us to look at animal labour.
“My favourite police officer on television is smart, empathetic, attentive and brave. He’s also incredibly handsome.
I’m talking about Rex, the fictional police canine played by the German shepherd Diesel vom Burgimwald who co-stars on CITY TV’s hit show Hudson & Rex. It’s not prestige TV, but it is a well-made, diverse, thoughtful and unapologetically Canadian police procedural with an impressive four-legged officer.
As the show wraps up its second season, it’s clear that Rex/Diesel has charmed audiences. His work also invites us to think more about animals’ minds, work and contributions to our shared communities. K9 partnerships have long been part of popular culture (Turner & Hooch, K9, F.B. Eye, the Canadian Katts & Dog). Yet for people who have had police dogs used against them, the image of a German shepherd (or Malinois) may not evoke positive feelings.
As an analyst of animal labour, I am intrigued both by Diesel’s work, and by how Rex the police canine is portrayed.”
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