Pet The Dog: Real Life

  • Bikers help fight animal cruelty.
    • Hell's Angels is also known for regularly participating in toy runs.
    • In Australia, a bingo hall filled primarily with elderly individuals was targeted by armed robbers. One of the employees rushed to the bar next door to call for help—and ran right into the Hell's Angels. The Angels then bolted to the bingo hall and proceeded to beat the shit out of the armed robbers. The elderly players even pointed out to the bikers where they were hiding!
  • The Patriot Guard Riders, a biker organization that shields military funerals from the Westboro "Baptist" "church".
  • Bikers Against Child Abuse, an international organization made up of volunteers that help abused children. They visit victims, providing emotional support and protection against their abusers via neighborhood patrols, guarding the victim's home, escorting them to school, and accompanying them to court.
  • Richard Nixon's famous "Checkers Speech" in 1952: Accused of accepting illegal gifts, Nixon went on TV and talked about giving his daughter a little dog named Checkers. It was a classically-executed Pet the Dog moment that made a hard-to-like politician seem human in the eyes of the American public.
    • Like others on this list, Nixon was a devoted husband and doting father, as captured on many of the White House tapes. His courtship with Pat, proposing on their first date and even chaperoning her as she went out with other boys, is definitely heartwarming.
    • He also condemned the segregation in the South to the point he helped with laws to make the practice illegal. He also passed laws to improve the lives of Native Americans, reformed Social Security to include disabled adults and children, and ordered the withdrawal of US troops from the Vietnam War.
  • Speaking of the Westboro church, its pastor, Fred Phelps, was a major figure in the Civil Rights movement, a champion of racial equality and integration. If only he had died in the 1970s, he would be remembered today as a hero by people of all political persuasions.
  • The Yakuza actually rushed to Kobe and distributed food, water, diapers, and emergency supplies after the earthquake hit in the 90s. Yes, that Yakuza.
    • More recently, they did the same thing after the Tidal Wave/Fukishima disaster in 2011.
  • Cracked brings us #6 of 6 Tricks Movies Use to Make Sure You Root for the Right Guy as well as pet the dog moments for seven ruthless criminals.
  • Aside from a few years, Al Capone actually lived with his mother his whole life, and he loved his family very much. (Although not everyone lived with him; one of his brothers became a prohibition officer.) Capone also ran a soup kitchen during the depression, and there were plenty of people who had differing opinions to say about him when he died.
    • Johnny Torrio, another famous gangster, was likewise pretty generous too.
  • Not to invoke Godwin's Law, but Adolf Hitler loved animals and was beloved by the children of the country, who called him "Uncle Adolf" (the ones he didn't send to camps, that is).
    • Hitler might well have had the best PR of any ruler in history. He was elected after gaining a relative majority and worked hard to win support from all the social classes (except left politicians, modern artists, and Jews of course). Reviving Germany's near-dead economy and restoring national pride after its defeat in World War One made him very popular. Too bad he did the latter two by starting wars and promoting genocide.
    • Because his mother was successfully recovered from cancer, Hitler also had the doctor who treated her protected while he escaped the country... to top it off the doctor was Jewish. That's Right... it happened.
    • Hitler also gave Honorary Aryan status to Jewish soldiers who fought in WWI, exempting them and their families from the horrors of the holocaust.
    • Hitler actually demonstrated through several Pet the Dog moments that evil isn't simply one dimensional. He prohibited the use of battlefield chemical weapons, even when Germany was going down to defeat, because of the loathing he had for them having suffered under gas attacks during the First World War (not so much when it came to death camps, of course). And when he visited the Canadian war memorial at Vimy Ridge in France in 1940, he was so impressed by the fact that the monument didn't symbolize victory, but loss and the hope for peace, that he ordered the monument to be protected by Waffen-SS units to prevent its desecration. Given the later Arch-Enemy status between the Canadian Army and Waffen-SS due to the latter's murder of Canadian prisoners in 1944, this was rather ironic.
    • His private secretary from 1942 to 1945, Traudl Junge, said that Hitler was "a pleasant boss and a fatherly friend".
  • Although recriminalized by Josef Stalin, Vladimir Lenin protected gay rights and allowed many of the LGBT community to be out in the open without fear.
    • In order to rally the population into a victorious fight against the Nazis, Stalin reopened the Orthodox Church, remobilized the Cossacks, & restored the Russian national pride & identity in general, which was suppressed by the Old Bolsheviks.
    • Noting the emphasis of social and economic equality in communism, many communist regimes have a lot of Pet the Dog moments despite their totalitarian cruelty. For example, the Soviet Union is one of the few countries during the early 20th centuries where they actively pushed for political gender equality and equal economic opportunities for women even way long before many of the western nations have done so. note  Many Soviet women enjoyed job economic opportunities, held a few government positions, and even participated in the military frontlines during World War II, which is stark contrast to women participation in the American and British frontlines where women participation in the war is limited to nursing and menial work.
    • Communist regimes also backed racial equality long before the American civil rights movements in the 1960s. For example, when the Cuban communist regime came into power, one of the first things they did was racial integration of schools and end of racial discrimination in Cuban society. The Soviet Union also backed anti-apartheid movements in South Africa while the U.S. governments refused to back many of the anti-apartheid movements.
    • Although infamous for abusing psychiatry for political purposes which persists to this day, the USSR is the first country to ban lobotomynote  on moral grounds.
    • The Soviet Union is one of the first countries in the world to recognize the Armenian Genocide and to this day, Armenia remains a close ally to The New Russia than United States (where the U.S. federal government does not recognize the genocide due to the fact that United States has a military alliance with Turkey as part of NATO and political pressures from Turkey on United States not to recognize the genocide).
  • Spain under Francisco Franco was actually among the safest places for Jews during the Second World War, giving them citizenship.
  • The Mad Bomber of New York, George Metesky, stopped his sprees of terror during World War Two, out of, in his own words, "Patriotic Feelings".
  • Prior to becoming a Serial Killer, Ted Bundy volunteered at a suicide hotline, trying to save lives. His fellow volunteer, Ann Rule, noted that he frequently walked her to her vehicle after their shifts out of concern for her safety. He also, on one occasion, saved a toddler from drowning.
  • WWE has an annual show for US Troops... yes, those who are normally heels also pay their respects. They also donate to charities.
  • The Korean Buddhist temple, "Pohyonsa", is deemed a Natural Treasure... and it just so happened to be in Hyangsan county, which it's in North Pyongan Province. Guess who granted this honor... you got it... Kim Il-sung! That's right, although North Korea discourages the practice of religion except Juche philosophy, Buddhists are often left alone mostly due to the history the religion had on Korean culture.
  • Genghis Khan passed laws known as Yassa, which prove he was more rational than many viewed him.
    • Under this policy, theft and adultery were forbidden, both punishable by death.
    • He was religiously tolerant, included to Muslims and Christians.
    • Permission must be granted before pillaging enemy regions under the threat of the death sentence.
    • He also made sure that messengers were well treated even if they were from a country the Mongols were in the process of sacking, making sure they were fed and rested and sent home safely.
    • Genghis would let those who surrendered a losing war join his empire with no catch, but he absolutely despised active treason. When his rival Jamuhka was handed to him by two treacherous generals, Khan granted Jamukha a quick death when he refused to join and then promptly had the generals torturously executed by being boiled alive.
  • Jim Jones routinely rescued stray pets as a child and preached racial integration.
  • Paul Cameron, noted homophobe and head of the so-called "Family Research Institute", was one of the first American scientists to study the nefarious health effects of second-hand smoking. He also studied the link between pet ownership and happiness.
  • Electronic Arts' Origin platform is widely panned by PC gamers for being the poster child of oppressive DRM. It's also one of the few stores, online or physical, to actually allow you to return a brand new game no questions asked (albeit within 24 hours of purchase).
  • In a similar vein, Walmart, probably best known for abusing the hell out of their workers and being a hub of the socially undesirable and questionably dressed, campaigned heavily to prevent the passing of an anti-LGBT "religious freedom" act in their home state of Arkansas. It worked.
  • Sadly, this trope is used all too often by abusive friends/partners/spouses/parents to trick people into staying with them.
  • Katie Hopkins has a well-deserved reputation for being abrasive, if not downright unpleasant, towards more or less anyone, but she has actively told anti-gay marriage activists how she disagreed with them.
  • The Duke of Wellington was well-known for being cold and standoffish with his men, but he apparently had one instance of this. Wellington was taking a stroll through the country alone when he happened upon a young boy, William Harris, crying bitterly over a pet toad. Wellington asked William what the matter was, and scolded him for behaviour unbecoming of a young gentleman. The boy replied that he was going to school tomorrow and was worried that his toad would starve to death in his absence. Wellington dried the crying child's eyes and promised to take care of the toad while he was gone. William went to school and had been there for a few days when he received an official missive:
    Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington begs to inform William Harris that his toad is alive and well.