Gratuitous Animal Sidekick

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"The rabbit is cuddly! Kids like little cuddly sidekicks! I mean, the rabbit... it's a time-tested... okay, the rabbit bites."
Mr. Incredible, attempting to defend the (fictional In-Universe) Team Pet Mr. Skipperdoo

The insertion of an animal sidekick into a property that normally wouldn't be expected to have one. Often an example of Executive Meddling, particularly on Animated Series, in an attempt to have a Kid-Appeal Character.

May be a Heroic Dog as well. Compare with Cousin Oliver, Team Pet.

TV Tropes Wiki has Tropey the Wonder Dog.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Classicaloid: In a show about modern versions of composers, Hashie the (blue scarf-wearing) shoebill is completely unexpected.

    Comic Books 
  • Superboy had Krypto in his Silver Age comics, who also appeared in the 1960s Superman/Batman animated series. In 2005, the Last Dog of Krypton made his move to center stage on TV in Krypto the Superdog. Recurring heroes were Streaky the Supercat and Ace the Bat-Hound. Robbie the Robin occasionally worked alongside Ace, being an Animal Sidekick to a guy who's usually an Animal Sidekick. Krypto also got a Shout-Out in one episode of Justice League (though it was All Just a Dream). Krypto himself has recently been reintroduced to the comics, and it works.
  • Not to be outdone, Batman had Ace the Bathound back during the Silver Age.
    • In Batman Beyond, Bruce Wayne has a dog named Ace, but he's an Angry Guard Dog. Nevertheless he makes for a pretty good sidekick in the episode "Good bad dog". He also came in handy in The Movie, "Return of the Joker."
    • The Fully Absorbed Finale of Batman Beyond in Justice League Unlimited gives us the possibility that Ace is named after a member of the Royal Flush Gang who died in Batman's arms. Since the Justice League Unlimited episode was the last thing to ever be shown of the Batman Beyond universe, it's still definitely a nod to the old Bat-Hound.
    • Ace is pretty badass in Batman: The Brave and the Bold as well.
    • A version of Ace appeared in the '90s Batman comics, this time as a seeing-eye dog Batman had inherited from a blind Native American medicine man. He mostly hung around the cave with Harold, Batman's mute hunchback assistant.
    • In the ''Batman Unlimited" movies, one of the bad guys' horde of robot dogs gets reprogrammed, and eventually given the name Ace. While in modern comics and a show or two Bruce has a normal dog who is named Ace as a Mythology Gag, this is the closest you're ever getting in the modern era to the actual Golden and Silver Age crime-fighting version. What's cooler than a robo-dog sidekick? One that turns into a motorcycle, that's what!
    • The DCnU has introduced Titus (Damian Wayne's pet Great Dane) and the Batcow.
  • In 1948, the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, was suddenly given a canine sidekick in Streak, the Wonder Dog. Not only did Streak share GL's title, but the dog actually became the top-billed star of the series! Streak also served as the prototype for DC's other, subsequent wonder dog (Rex the Wonder Dog), who would operate without a superhero partner.
  • After being rescued from a band of grisly poachers, a white tiger named Ruarc becomes the loyal sidekick of Erin O'Shea, the hero and main protagonist of Shamrock.

    Films — Animation 
  • Spoofed mercilessly in the The Incredibles followup short film Mr. Incredible and Pals, a parody of '50s-'60s Saturday morning cartoons. It's a pilot to an In-Universe show about Mr. Incredible, Frozone, and Mr. Skipperdoo, a rabbit (who is original to the cartoon) that does nothing but bounce up and down. He annoys the real Mr. Incredible and Frozone in their commentary on the cartoon (which provides the page quote)
    Frozone: And that rabbit is getting on my last nerve!
    Mr. Incredible: The rabbit is cuddly! Kids like little cuddly sidekicks! I mean, the rabbit... it's a time-tested... okay, the rabbit bites.

    Literature 
  • Thoroughly lampshaded, spoofed, gnawed on, buried and piddled upon by Discworld's "Gaspode the Wonder Dog".

    Live-Action TV 

    Pro Wrestling 

    Video Games 
  • The monster Cotton from SaGa Frontier was planned to be a member of the IRPO team, but their story was cut as the game was rushed. Instead Cotton is this trope to any of the other characters who recruit it, is only able to say "myu" and even has a technique called "Wonderdog".

    Western Animation 
  • Superfriends:
    • Formerly named after the original Wonder Dog in the first series.
    • Gleek in the Zan and Jayna episodes of the Super Friends.
  • The Fonz And Happy Days Gang:
    • In this Animated Adaptation of Happy Days, the Fonz has a dog called Mr. Cool. Seriously.
    • And in the Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/The Fonz Hour, Mork got this pink six-legged alien dog-thing, and Laverne and Shirley were in the army with a talking pig. (We only know this from Retrojunk.com.) Sgt. Squealy (the pig) is technically their superior, but they never listen to him.
  • No dinosaur (see Live-Action TV above), but Gilligan got a monkey sidekick in his Animated Adaptation, and an alien one when the Animated Adaptation was Recycled In SPACE.
  • Nikko the Shar-Pei got shoehorned into this role for the New Kids on the Block cartoon.
  • The Brady Kids gave the kids a whole menagerie of sidekicks: a dog, a magical talking bird, and a pair of twin panda bears. They made a cameo appearance in A Very Brady Sequel as a hallucination, and then an encore appearance in the credits.
  • The first cartoon based on the Harlem Globetrotters features a Team Pet dog named Dribbles.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • When Timmy Turner becomes his standard superhero alter ego, Cleft, Cosmo, Wanda, and Poof usually tag along as "Ace, Clefto, and Puppy Poof the Chin-Hounds", partly parodies of Batman and Superman's dogs.
    • And, after trying the Cousin Oliver adding Poof (Cosmo and Wanda's baby) in season 6, they're adding a fairy dog to the show. Don't you believe? They quickly became The Scrappy with their annoying voice and attitude.
  • The animated version of Flash Gordon in the 1970s had a baby dragon called Gremlin that was a blatant attempt to appeal to younger children.

Alternative Title(s): Wonder Dog

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