A Queens native is hoping to inspire dog rescues and adoptions in his new film, “Loving Mona,” which tells a heartwarming story about love, friendship and how dogs make humans better people.
In May 2016, Terry Katz adopted then 11-month-old Mona, a mixed-breed terrier from the North Shore Animal League in Port Washington, Nassau County.
“She caught my eye right away. I interacted with her and touched her, and she seemed to like me and I really liked her,” Katz said. “We’ve been together ever since and she’s changed my life for the better.”
Katz’s film, “Loving Mona,” has been in the works for the past two years and it transforms the power of rescue dogs, Katz said.
“Mona filled a great deal of my empty time with purpose, got me outdoors, and kept me active. Through her I met many new friends,” Katz said. “I love her very much and she’s my best friend.”
Katz, 65, lives in Fresh Meadows and much of the film was shot in the parks and on the trails at Alley Pond, Cunningham Park, and dog runs in Bayside, the Rockaways, North West Nassau County and Sands Point, Long Island.
“I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast Mona and myself to others that I’ve met,” Katz said. “I went out and started interviewing friends and saw a lot of commonalities people have with their dog and everything came down to the bare essence of love and friendship.”
With a background in filmmaking and a professional editor for 35-plus years, Katz received help on the production from his students at the SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology and St. John’s University, where he teaches as an adjunct professor.
“Loving Mona” started as payback for everything Mona has brought into Katz’s life. When completed, the film will be made available free of charge to animal rescue groups, animal advocates and rescue shelters to use for fundraising.
“It’s pretty amazing how many rescue dogs are available every day. There’s an ASPCA TV commercial and all of these dogs are in cages. It’s heartbreaking, and I hate it so much because people should have a dog for love and not for pity,” Katz said.
“Dogs are sentient beings. They cannot advocate for themselves,” Katz added. “They need our help. We believe our story will inspire others to rescue and adopt.”
Katz has created a GoFundMe Page to raise additional funding to complete the film. To date, he has raised $3,485 and is looking to reach his goal of $12,000. Viewers can also visit Facebook and Instagram (@loving_mona) to stay up to date and view the trailer of “Loving Mona.”