SUMMARY: Wally the Blue Safety Dog reluctantly becomes the subject of his master’s plans to enter the Iron Dog contest.
WHY IT’S HERE: The second of Canadian director Les Drew’s Wally the Blue Safety Dog shorts, ‘Every Dog’s Guide to the Playground’ is a pleasantly meandering little comedy. The long-suffering pet who is smarter than his owners dynamic has been played out many times but ‘Every Dog’s Guide to the Playground’ has a pleasing improvisatory feel, as if it were being animated right there before your eyes. The plot drifts where it wants when it wants, flitting between Wally’s letter to his friend, family concerns and Wally’s abortive training for the Iron Dog contest. There’s a definite Richard Condie influence in the style and Drew acknowledges this with a framed picture of one of Condie’s characters from ‘The Big Snit’ on the wall of the family’s home. With a smoother look than its predecessor ‘Every Dog’s Guide to Home Safety’, ‘Every Dog’s Guide to the Playground’ takes a step closer to the look of 90s TV animation and, with tighter plotting, it’s easy to imagine Wally being given his own series. As it is, the Wally the Blue Safety Dog shorts remain an enjoyable curiosity rather than a cult hit.