image by Greg Murray Photography

Using home video shot of Jeff and Preston through their 12 years spent together, this film is a love story about how fate disguises itself as coincidence. It’s a story about raw, mutual love and adoration. But, it’s also a story about struggle and redemption. And, about loss and grief. “Once In A Lifetime” is, tentatively, a 6 one-hour episode doc-series, exploring the profound human-canine bond, and how the importance of one chance encounter went on to influence a greater purpose.

This film takes a thorough look at the ongoing debate about “pit bull” dogs, and its relation to human social issues such as race and class.

Since the 1980’s, the ongoing debate over the inherent viciousness of dogs labeled “pit bull” and the danger they may pose have found what seems to be a permanent home in news headlines. When mainstream media began reporting on dogfighting in the late 70’s – after decades of virtually no exposure, their status of being canine public enemy #1 rose. At a time when many political wars were waged during unsettling times, dogs labeled “pit bull” became a primary target with lawmakers to restrict or prohibit their ownership via laws called breed specific legislation (BSL). These two separate issues were somehow tied together, and resulted in the unnecessary death of innocent family dogs.

Weaved through Preston and Jeff’s tale of fate, are objective in-depth looks into dogfighting, breed specific legislation, and the history of dogs labeled “pit bull” from as far back as records exist. Using the monumental 2007 case against Michael Vick as one constant storyline throughout the series due to it being the initial catalyst for Jeff’s formal involvement in animal welfare, this documentary further examines the racial and social class components of the enforcement of the crime, with first-person accounts from known ‘dogmen’ of the past. Simultaneously, dissecting the spread of BSL (and subsequent movement of repeals decades later) through the United States and around the world.

This film’s goal is help facilitate in the eradication of breed specific laws globally; to remove this arbitrary layer – championed as a public safety measurement, but born out of intolerance towards protected class of human beings, so that we can improve the lives of everyone all the while focusing our attention and resources on laws that promote actual public safety with dogs.

Read More:

Synopsis | “The Dog” | “The Filmmaker” | “Their Story