A good way to show that things are bad in the story is to kill off one of the characters' pets. This gives the same sense of doom and gloom without losing any of the human cast. In fact, animals or pets can be more likely to die off than any human characters, although the inverse
is just as likely, depending on the genre. This need not be Played for Drama
, although it usually is.
This is often a result of Death by Newbery Medal
, although there are a few differences. First, the trope doesn't always apply to main characters, nor does it have to be central to the plot. Second, it does not have to happen at the end, or even necessarily in a children's book.
Played for Laughs
, it may be similar to a Dead Pet Sketch
. Contrast Infant Immortality
, when applied to pets.
As a Death Trope
, expect unmarked spoilers below.
- Implied to have happened to the Yu-Gi-Oh! card "Outstanding Dog Marron." A few booster sets later, "Skull Dog Marron" is released. The group of cards is inspired by the Hachiko legend below.
- Happens in I Am Legend.
- Parodied, with a mix of Everybody's Dead, Dave in Robin Hood: Men in Tights:
My dog, Pongo? Blinkin:
Run over by a carriage. Robin Hood:
My goldfish, Goldie? Blinkin:
Eaten by the cat. Robin Hood:
My cat? Blinkin:
Choked on the goldfish.
Oh, it's good to be home, ain't it, Master Robin?
- Huan from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hedwig is killed in the opening battle to show just how deadly serious the series has become.
- Gordon Korman's No More Dead Dogs discusses this trope and plays with it.
- Played straight in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert A. Heinlein. Said cat by the name of Pixel is killed at the very end of the book on the mission to stop the Time Corps. Lampshaded by Colin, who upon seeing Pixel dead is apalled that they'd go so far as even kill a kitten.
- Averted with Vincent in LOST.
- The legend of Hachiko.
- Corrine in Tales of Symphonia.
- In Drowtales, Ariel's kitten Fuzzy is killed in a Kick the Dog moment.
- I wish you would die, Marmaduke!
- Happens to Macy in the first episode of Nyx Crossing.
- Wherethe Red Fern Grows has a double whammy with this one. Both dogs die.
- A particularly heartwrenching example occurs in Fable. It also counts as a Heroic Sacrifice.