The town of Doverville has become famous for two reasons. It has a law that bans dogs and a mean dogcatcher, who is also the Mayor's brother. At the same time a woman named Cathy Stevens has turned her farm into a dog orphanage situated just outside of the city limits. She's made the cover of "LIKE" magazine and this has brought her more dogs than she can feed and take care of. On her way to the first day of school Emma comes upon the dogcatcher as he captures one of two stray dogs. She rescues the other one (a puppy) and suddenly has a new friend and responsibility.