Even Sarah McLachlan Thinks Those ASPCA Commercials Are Brutal

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You know the ads. They sneak up on you, maybe late at night, after you’ve dozed off into a state of semi-consciousness after the Tonight Show, or maybe even after a random channel surf. “In the aaaaaaaaaarms oooooooooof the aaaaaaangelllllll” croons the dulcet vocal chords of 90s Lilith Fair queen Sarah McLachlan, as the saddest puppy dog eyes ever engineered stare up at you in pitiful despair. Then there’s McLachlan herself, stroking a retriever on her lap as she asks “Will YOU be an angel to a helpless animal?” GAAAH GET ME OUT OF HERE CHANGE THE CHANNEL QUICK.

Those commercials have been running for what seems like decades, and have morphed our opinion of McLachlan from adorable has-been to evil manipulative pity hustler. But in a new video on Makers, McLachlan admits that the ads are too much. “I can’t watch them,” she admits. “It kills me.” She describes her direction during the taping: “I have to say, it was brutal doing those ads…they were just, ‘Can you be a little sadder?’ I was just like ‘this is killing me!’ ‘Save the puppies.'”

McLachlan is quick to point out that while the ads are tough to watch, they’re also chillingly effective; she says the ads generated more than $30m for the ASPCA, which is obviously a good thing. She still gets stopped at Target on the regular, she says, and not by Gen Xers who kissed their first hirsute lady at Lilith Fair, but by old ladies who desperately want to know “are you that dog lady?”

Bless her angel heart. And save the puppies.