Gateway Guardians

6:30 p.m. November 18, at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium


Gateway Guardians
Directed by Rebecca Ormond

Randy Grim gets a lot of recognition (and deservedly so) for his Stray Rescue, an organization tending to the needs of St. Louis' abandoned, abused and feral dog population. But did you know that there's another local outfit doing the same thing across the river? It's Gateway Pet Guardians, whose origins can be traced to the mid-1990s, when PJ Hightower began feeding the dogs she encountered during trips through East St. Louis. Gateway Guardians follows Hightower on her daily journeys (she hasn't missed a day since 2001) through the empty lots and deserted buildings of the Metro East. Along the way Hightower encounters dozens upon dozens of forsaken canines that have come to depend on her visits for food and care. Interviews with East St. Louis residents and fellow Gateway volunteers fill in the back story to this documentary, which proves to be both heartwrenching and uplifting. Are the people saving the dogs? Or, by calling them to a greater purpose in life, are the dogs saving the people?