%% This image was chosen in an Image Pickin' thread, please don't replace it without starting a new thread.%%
[[quoteright:350:[[ThoseWackyNazis http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nazis_with_kittens_5152.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:''[[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Blitzkrieg]] can vait; [[JustAStupidAccent it's time to]] [[CutenessProximity pet ze kitty!]]'']]

%% Little do they know, that kitten's also a suicide bomber. Hence the 'nade.

This term was coined by cynical screenwriters, basically meaning: show the nasty old crank petting a dog, and you show the audience, ''aw shucks, [[RuleOfEmpathy he's all right after all.]]'' Often used to demonstrate that a {{Jerkass}} is really a JerkWithAHeartOfGold, or, if more limited, that the character is goal oriented rather than sadistic and/or thoroughly evil. If used as an EstablishingCharacterMoment then you skip right past the jerkass phase.

Of course, this doesn't mean specifically petting a cute animal, but any sign of nobility within a morally ambiguous character.

{{Sub Trope}}s include PhotoOpWithTheDog, EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas, MoralityPet (a character's entire relationship with a villain is one long PetTheDog moment), and AndroclesLion (where the dog would later reward the one who petted him/her). Compare LickedByTheDog. A few ways to pet the dog include: being an AnonymousBenefactor, IWasJustPassingThrough, and EvenEvilHasStandards. Demonstrating MoralMyopia can also do the trick, by proving the character is not actually ItsAllAboutMe but does regard at least someone else as having rights. Contrast KickTheDog, MustMakeAmends (when a character tries to undo or atone for having [[ShootTheDog Shot The Dog]]), BaitTheDog (when this is darkly {{subverted}}).
!!Example subpages
* PetTheDog/{{Advertising}}
* PetTheDog/AnimeAndManga
* PetTheDog/ComicBooks
* PetTheDog/AnimatedFilms
* PetTheDog/FanWorks
* PetTheDog/{{Gamebooks}}
* PetTheDog/LiveActionFilms
* PetTheDog/{{Literature}}
* PetTheDog/LiveActionTV
* PetTheDog/MythologyAndReligion
* PetTheDog/NewMedia
* PetTheDog/NewspaperComics
* PetTheDog/{{Theater}}
* PetTheDog/VideoGames
* PetTheDog/WebComics
* PetTheDog/WebOriginal
* PetTheDog/WesternAnimation
* PetTheDog/RealLife