Mitch Davis believes that dogs can teach us powerful lessons about our Creator and His unconditional love for us. In fact, he'd argue that God sometimes sends dogs to be guardian angels for families in desperate need of saving.
And he'd know.
Mitch's upcoming film, "The Stray," tells the true story of how a stray dog, Pluto, entered the Davis family just as they seemed to be on the brink of falling apart.
Mitch is an overworked, career-driven husband and father who's unwittingly neglecting his marriage and family. His wife, Michelle Davis, is exhausted trying to raise the couple's three young kids.
To them, another mouth to feed seems like the last thing the family needs.
However, just a short time with the Davis family, Pluto proves he's exactly what they needs to heal. He manages to save a lost toddler, bring comfort and companionship to a hurting 9-year-old boy, help restore a marriage, and repair a broken father-son relationship.
"Dogs perform that function of unconditionally loving us, which is really what the Lord does," Mitch told The Gospel Herald in an exclusive interview. "He unconditionally loves us and is there for us and forgives us, and I think dogs do much the same thing. There's something very Christ-like about that story."
Opening in theaters nationwide on October 6th, "The Stray" stars Michael Cassidy ("Argo," "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice"), Sarah Lancaster ("Everwood," "The Judge") and Connor Corum (Heaven is for Real").
The climax of the film occurs when Pluto saves Mitch's life after he was struck by lightning while camping on a remote mountain in Colorado. Mitch recalled how the lightning struck his chest first, then going through his armpit and hitting Pluto, who was next to him. The lightning strike left Mitch paralyzed for an entire night.
Immediately after the lightening struck Mitch, he was unconscious, but he could tell he was dying. He knew he had to pray in order to survive. And the one word he was able to say was, "Father." As soon as he uttered that word, he was released from his paralysis.
"My eyes rolled forward, I stuck my head up, I looked around, I was conscious, the darkness was gone, and I was alive," he said. "It was very much a message from God, and the message was, 'I love you, you're good enough, ask in confidence and I will hear your prayers and I will answer them.'"
Pluto, he said, played a key role in saving his life that terrifying night.
"There's no question that God used Pluto to change our lives," he said.
Mitch believes that the unconditional love that Pluto brought to the Davis family clearly demonstrated the love that God gives to us – unchanging, loyal, faithful and enduring.
"I think God ministers to us in many ways through many means," he said. "The Scriptures teach that we have all entertained angels unawares, and whether or not God specifically sent Pluto, there's no question that he performed an angelic function in our family. He healed us and saved us emotionally and physically."
When asked what he hopes audiences take away from "The Stray," Mitch had a simple – but powerful – response: "Families are where it's at, God loves all of us, and He'll send us help when and if we ask for it. And, angels come in many forms."
He added, "In our pre-screenings of the film, many people have shared with us how a pet has impacted their lives, and in some cases even saved their lives. The Lord uses animals in amazing ways to remind us of His love, to protect us, and to companions in times of need. It's a beautiful thing that many of us have experienced."
Written, and directed by Davis ("The Other Side of Heaven"), the movie releases in select markets nationwide October 6, 2017.