A Dog's Life is a one-act play by Pam Valentine. It follows a day in the life of four dogs in a pound when a human comes looking to adopt. The dogs are an old mongrel named Ben, a German Shepherd named Fritz, an incredibly overweight poodle named Fifi, and a hyperactive puppy named Ginger.
This play provides examples of:
- Berserk Button: Fifi's is her weight, Fritz's is babies, and Ben's is insulting his human.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Ben is a genuinely gentle soul... right up until you press the Berserk Button detailed above.
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: While Ben and Fritz are discussing their pasts:
Fifi: I fell in love with a greyhound once.
- Brick Joke:
Ginger: How many humans have you had, Fritz?
Fritz: Seven. Or is it eight?
some time later...
: What's fuzz
? Is it food? Is it? Is it?
! I have had nine humans.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Hoo, boy...
- Child Hater: Fritz. It's played for laughs.
- Decoy Protagonist: The focus of the story is on Ben, not Ginger.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mostly Fritz, but Ben also gets in a few digs.
- Dog Stereotype: Somewhat.
- Fifi the poodle is very French and quite spoiled, but rarely snooty about it except where Fritz is concerned.
- Fritz the German shepherd is neither heroic nor particularly skilled, and is actually something of a Jerkass for most of the play.
- Ben the mongrel is Street Smart, Book Dumb, and functionally the Team Dad.
- Ginger the puppy is very sweet, but completely hyperactive.
- Fat Girl: Fifi.
- I'm Cold... So Cold...: Ben's last words are along these lines, with a fair bit less Narm than is usually present.
It's gone very... cold, hasn't it? I can't remember ever feeling this cold...
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Fritz. He can be downright nasty, but he's had a pretty hard life. At the end, he comforts the dying Ben and offers him some of his uneaten biscuit.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Ben, after biting the human who came to adopt a dog because the warden pressed his Berserk Button.
- Na´ve Newcomer: Ginger.
- Nice Guy: Ben.
- No Name Given: The humans are not named.
- Running Gag: What's a gag? Is it food? Is it? Is it?
- Suicide by Cop: Ben biting the visitor is functionally this, given that it causes the Warden to schedule him to be put down even sooner.
- This Is My Human: This is how the dogs refer to their owners, although the humans are still clearly in charge.
- The Tramp: Ben's master was one. Referring to him as such in front of Ben, however, is a spectacularly bad idea.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Fritz and Fifi have something like this going on.