A Heroic Pet Story
is a show or story that stars a non-anthropomorphic animal that regularly engages in heroic acts. Such animals are almost always pets or companion animals, however a few examples are about animals have no permanent owner but still choose to help people. Such animals are always physically normal, and in live action shows are potrayed by real animals. They also do not talk or otherwise display sapience, nor do they have supernatural powers.
They do, however, tend to be shown as being somewhat smarter and more aware that most real life animals, and generaly demonstrate a remarkable ability to follow specific instructions, usually along the lines of "Go get help, Tropey" or "Take the rope to Trope-tan
, Tropey!" They will also often take the initiative to do whatever needs to be done to rescue a person. This phenomenon is known as Timmy in a Well
Most Heroic Pet Stories
center on a family that owns the pet. In these shows, the daily lives of the human characters will play an important role. However, it is the animal that will always get the title billing, and the animal will perform some act of heroism at least once an episode. Such stories will often feature A Boy and His X
, in that there will be a child who has the most interaction with the animal. The child is often the character who ends up needing to be saved.
Other works depart from the family centered model. They may, for example, mix Cop Show
with Heroic Pet Story
by having the lead animal be a police dog.
Often the pet is an outright Action Pet
- Air Bud is a cross between a Heroic Pet Story and a Sports Story. Instead of saving lives, the titular dog helps a basketball team win a game.
- The titular dog of Beethoven saves Emily from drowning, Ryce from being raped, the family from being swindled, as well as other feats of heroism.
- The Benji series is a series of movies about a the titular fictional dog. The eponymous canine character is a small, lovable mixed-breed dog with an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time, usually to help someone overcome a problem. In the first movie, the dog helps free kidnapped children. Latter movies have similar acts of heroism.
- Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood in an parody of the genre.
- Old Yeller has the titular Heroic Dog save family members on several occasions.
- Lad: A Dog, by Albert Payson Terhune, was published in 1919. Lad, a heroic collie with “absurdly small white forepaws,” battles burglars, rescues children, and wins dog shows. This was also adopted as a film.
- Flipper is about a Heroic Dolphin who is adopted by the family of a Florida park ranger.
- Gentle Ben a is about young boy and his adventures with a lovable 650-pound American black bear named Ben
- Here's Boomer was an American series that followed the adventures of Boomer, a stray dog that traveled around helping people in trouble.
- Inspector Rex is an Austrian series about a cop-canine partnership that combines the the Heroic Pet Story and Buddy Cop Show genres.
- Lassie is a long-running television series the featured the exploits of heroic collie dog Lassie.
- The Littlest Hobo is a Canadian television series that chronicled the journeys of an unnamed heroic German Shepherd who travelled from town to town, helping people in need.
- Animaniacs has the "Buttons and Mindy" shorts, which are a parody of Lassie. In these stories, Buttons goes through great pains to keep the infant child Mindy safe, only to have his exploits go completely unnoticed by Mindy's mother, who always finds a reason to scold Buttons for being a bad dog at the end of the story.