Every November, co-Directors Alex Wolf Lewis and Kaitlyn Schwalje celebrate Thanksgiving at Alex’s Aunt and Uncle’s house just outside of Philadelphia. And every November they marvel at the fact that the family’s 4-inch-long pet turtle, Snowy, is still alive. Snowy has lived an isolated life in the family basement for the past 10+ years with minimal sunlight and no companionship other than that of his primary caretaker, Uncle Larry. In an effort to improve Snowy’s life we ask: Can Snowy be happy and what would it take?
This short documentary is both an investigation into animal happiness and an intervention to improve one turtle’s life. Through interviews with Snowy’s veterinarian, the Wolf family, a reptile expert, and an animal psychic we explore our capacity to understand the animals that live in our homes. Snowy’s story is a stand-in for the unexamined lives of our house pets—the goldfish, lizards, guinea pigs, and hermit crabs of our childhoods—the JV squad of house pets—the ones too small, short-lived and expressionless to garner much of our human attention.