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The Bolt Chronicles is a series of Bolt fan stories written by Bolt_DMC. It consists of a collection of short-story length one-shot fics and poetry in a variety of styles which interlock chronologically and can be read separately or as one long multi-chapter entity. The series is ongoing, with new entries inserted into the timeline as appropriate. They were first posted beginning in August 2019, but many had been written prior to that time, beginning in February 2018. Thirty fics and one poem have been produced as of May 2021.

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While backstories exist for Bolt and Mittens, and a few fics occur during the period covered by the movie, the majority take place post-canon. By the end of the film, Penny and Bolt have left the TV show they starred in and now reside in an undisclosed rural location along with Mittens, Rhino, and Penny’s mother; the post-canon entries trace their adventures in this venue. Starting with “The Ship,” Bolt and Mittens become lovers (and soulmates). A list of stories in order of chronological setting is found below:

  • 2002-2003
    • The Seven

  • 2004-2008
    • The Survivor

  • 2007-2008
    • The Clouds

  • 2008
    • The Protection Payment
    • The Box
    • The Seer

  • 2009
    • The Blood Brother
    • The Mall
    • The Supermarket
    • The Wedding Reception
    • The Paris Trip
    • The Funkmeister
    • The Murder Mystery

  • 2010
    • The Ski Trip
    • The Cakes
    • The Wind
    • The Ship
    • The Blackbird
    • The Walk

  • 2011
    • The Cameo
    • The Baseball Game
    • The Spaceship

  • 2012
    • The Makeover
    • Advertisement:
    • The Kippies

  • 2013
    • The Autobiography
    • The Imaginary Letters
    • The Car

  • 2016
    • The Coyote

  • 2019
    • The Coffee Shop

  • 2020
    • The Rings

  • 2023-?
    • The Gift

They can be read on Archive of Our Own. A detailed overview containing background information on the series (including story order) is available here..

Beware of spoilers.


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  • 419 Scam: Subverted in “The Autobiography,” when a message from a Nigerian prince shows up in Penny’s email inbox. Penny deletes it, but it turns out the offer is genuine and she misses out on a big payday.
  • Abusive Parents:
  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: “The Murder Mystery” turns out to be a bad dream induced by Penny's eating jalapeno and pepperoni pizza before bedtime.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Once Bolt and Mittens become a romantic couple, they often refer to each other using terms of endearment. Mittens employs a variety of such nicknames for the dog, ranging from the commonplace ("sweetie" being encountered most often) to the more imaginative ("cuddlebug," "studmuffin," "lovebug," "puddinhead"). Bolt's go-to word for Mittens is "babe."
    • In "The Clouds," Soapy ordinarily calls Mittens "Queen of Clubs" or "little missy."
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Teenage angst overwhelms Penny on a few occasions.
    • “The Walk” sees her upset with regard to a bad relationship breakup and her not fitting in well at school.
    • The 16-year-old's first sexual experience ends unhappily in “The Cameo.”
  • Alcohol Hic:
    • A drunken Soapy hiccups while talking to Mittens in "The Clouds."
      Soapy: Allow me to, hic, introduce you to my gigantic feline pal.
    • Mittens hiccups when she gets tipsy after drinking spiked punch in "The Wedding Reception."
  • Alien Abduction: Played with in "The Spaceship." Rhino rolls in his hamster ball underneath a Flying Saucer and asks to be beamed aboard. When he realizes the aliens want to take him off to their home planet to serve as head of their Brain Trust Committee, however, he refuses the offer and suggests they take a scarecrow instead. His ruse works.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The two aliens Rhino meets in "The Spaceship" are able to speak English using translation collars. Or at least eventually, anyway — they first try Croatian and Filipino, misunderstanding the hamster when he tries to speak what he believes to be outer-space language.
  • All Dogs Are Purebred: Inverted with Bolt and Blaze, who are primarily American White Shepherds but also described in the stories as containing dollops of Berger Blanc Suisse and Hinks Bull Terrier, as well as Tracey, who is a schnauzer-Manchester Terrier mix. Played straight with all the other dogs encountered.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • In “The Cameo,” Tracey is sexually attracted to the caddish Blaze even though she doesn’t much like him personally, a fact she acknowledges openly. Also, Penny has a tryst with teen heartthrob Lance – someone even Bolt can see is a self-absorbed dolt.
    • In “The Survivor,” Emily marries gang member Jack, staying with him despite his physical abuse, horrific temper, drug and alcohol addiction, and mistreatment of animals.
  • All Just a Dream: “The Murder Mystery” is revealed at the end of the story to be Penny’s jalapeno and pepperoni pizza-fueled nightmare.
  • Alternate Animal Affection: Bolt (licking) as well as Mittens and Berlioz (bumping foreheads) express their affection in species-specific ways during "The Paris Trip," "The Cameo," "The Ship," and "The Rings."
  • Amusing Injuries: Soapy's attempts to get himself arrested so he can spend the winter in a warm jail cell are continually thwarted in "The Clouds." Among other indignities, he gets whacked repeatedly on the head with an umbrella by a woman whose groceries he tries to pilfer.
  • Anachronism Stew: Despite the stories occurring during the 21st Century, the characters all enjoy non-contemporaneous art and culture exclusively, including classic pop music and movies dating from the 1980s and before as well as classic jazz, classical music, literature from a century or more ago, and museum visual art.
  • And a Diet Coke: In “The Baseball Game,” Penny’s mom’s eating binge is capped by a request for a diet soda.
  • Angry Guard Dog:
    • In "The Survivor," Petey is vigorously protective of Mittens and his master Darnell when Jack threatens them. He's otherwise shown to be very personable and friendly.
    • In "The Mall," Bolt barks furiously to scare off the manager of Spender's Gifts when the latter tries to capture the lost Mittens and collect the reward for her return.
  • Animal Athlete Loophole: In “The Baseball Game,” an arcane Single-A rule allows honorary team mascot Bolt to be pressed into playing service. He wins the game for his team.
  • Animals See in Monochrome: Inverted in "The Paris Trip," where Bolt, Mittens, and Berlioz are depicted as having a realistic amount of color vision for their species, more limited than humans but not fully color blind. Mittens and Berlioz, for example, are able to see the blue stained glass at Sainte-Chapelle.
  • Animal Talk: Applies not only to Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino, but to all the OC animal characters. Humans do not understand animal talk in these stories, but animals understand humans as well as other animals. Played with in “The Murder Mystery” and “The Gift,” where humans and animals can understand each other. The former is an example of All Just a Dream and the latter occurs under the ideal circumstances of Nirvana.
  • Anything That Moves: Implied about Blaze in “The Cameo.” He refers to himself as being “trisexual,” meaning he’ll try anything once — except have sex with cats, apparently.
  • Appeal to Inherent Nature: Subverted in "The Coyote." Title character Charlie, initially seen as an untrustworthy trickster, tells Bolt that he spared the dog's life by going against his natural instincts.
    Charlie: Y’know, most members of my species woulda gone for your throat and made a fast meal of you when you’re down like that.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: Frequently inverted.
    • Bolt is aware of and avoids foods he shouldn’t consume (alcohol, onions, garlic, chocolate), and when he purposely drinks a lot of coffee in “The Coffee Shop,” he does so knowing it will make him sick. In this story, he also starts eating table scraps from the garbage and begging for coffee shop treats, but gains weight doing so. Penny scolds him and puts him on a diet, returning the dog’s weight to normal.
    • Mittens drinks spiked punch in “The Wedding Reception” after falling headfirst into a punch bowl, ending up with severe Hangover Sensitivity the next morning.
    • Played straight with Rhino, who also imbibes alcohol in “The Wedding Reception” and eats copious amounts of pastry in “The Cakes” while apparently suffering no ill effects.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Bolt and Mittens cry and shed tears, which real dogs and cats cannot do.
    • Bolt and Mittens have sex lives that are far more human than animal in nature. For example, Mittens does not go into heat like real cats do.
    • In "The Protection Payment," it is revealed that Kelvin the labradoodle can't swim. In real life, all dogs are able to do so. His pigeon friends in fact express surprise at this inability.
  • Artistic License – Sports: A couple of examples, both hand waved via Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny.
    • In “The Ski Trip,” Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino would not be able to ski down a mountainside on a single pair of skis.
    • Usually averted in “The Baseball Game,” but played straight when honorary mascot Bolt enters the game as an active player. No baseball league allows this type of substitution.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Nearly everyone has a motive to kill the murdered Director in “The Murder Mystery.”
    • Mittens’s abusive adoptive family in “The Survivor” dies in a fiery drunk driving car crash after abandoning her in a Manhattan alley.
    • Bolt’s bigoted, murderous friend Duke is crushed by a truck while trying to kill a cat in “The Blood Brother.”
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: Referenced in-universe in "The Survivor." Bruce the Rottweiler apparently has been looking at his master's "word-a-day" calendar to spruce up his vocabulary. He tries to use the word "anomaly" in his description of Mittens's barbed witticisms, but goofs the word up. This leads to a Chain of Corrections which confuse things all the more, until Alastair the Welsh Corgi lampshades the calendar's usage and finally gets the word right.
    Bruce: [grinning] Meeeeow, girl! Most kitties have sandpaper tongues, but can’t say I ever met one with a mouth full of fishhooks before. You’re a true cat mutation, for sure. A regular… a regular… um, a regular "anemone," gotta say.
    Wayne: [laughing] What? I see whiskers on her face, not tentacles! You mean "homily," don’t you?
    Petey: [shaking his head] Always thinking about food, aren’t you? That’s "hominy."
    Alastair: [groaning] Geez! If you’re gonna use that word-a-day calendar your human has on his writing desk, you might wanna at least, you know, get it right? I’m pretty sure you meant "anomaly."
  • Autobiography: In the titular fic, Bolt attempts to memorialize his life story in response to the many unflattering fanfics written about him. When he tries to talk it into the computer using a speech program, it comes out as barking.
  • Backseat Driver: In "The Car," Penny's mom gives her daughter continual running advice during the latter's disastrous first driving experience. Given how badly the girl does, it's more than justified. Mittens, who is stranded in the back seat, adds plenty of snark of her own.
  • Backstory:
    • “The Seven” is Bolt's pre-canon fanfic, tracking him from birth in a puppy mill to Penny's adoption of him from an animal shelter. Includes information about his parents, his puppy friendships, and his rescue to the animal shelter.
    • “The Survivor” is Mittens's pre-canon story, tracing her from shortly after birth (with her mother in an animal shelter) until she meets Bolt. Includes information on her abusive adopted family, her canine friendships, and her abandonment in a Manhattan alley.
  • Bad Impressionists: In “The Funkmeister,” Rhino’s attempt to mimic James Brown’s athletic dance moves ends in failure, capped by his extremely inadvisable try to do the splits.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals:
    • The puppy mill owner in “The Seven” abandons his dogs and leaves them to starve.
    • Mittens’s adoptive family (especially Jack, the head of the household) in “The Survivor” is nightmarishly abusive to animals. Jack has a history of flushing or abandoning his daughter’s pets, tries to starve and kill Mittens, and has her declawed. His daughter Claire is depicted as neglectful (losing interest in the pets she acquires) rather than outright abusive.
  • Bandage Mummy: An injured Bolt ends up in a full-body cast after his harrowing dog fight with Ike in "The Wind." Rhino lampshades the similarity to Puffy in the film There's Something About Mary when he sees the dog.
  • Baseball Episode: “The Baseball Game” is a classic Single-A World Series Big Game story, with Bolt pressed into playing duty while serving as honorary team mascot. He scores the winning run as a pinch runner for an injured player, and later clinches victory when he pulls off a triple play manning second base despite lacking a glove and the ability to throw a baseball properly.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: The climactic fight scene between Bolt and Ike in “The Wind” is treated as a Colosseum-style spectacle by the latter’s fellow stray dogs.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Both Penny and Bolt feel that fanfiction depicting the two of them as lovers is perverse. Played with regarding Penny, as she finds the stories laughable instead of disgusting and pokes fun at them.
  • Beta Couple: Penny and OC Joe become sweethearts starting with "The Coffee Shop" and get married a year later in "The Rings," though their relationship is of secondary focus in the series. (Bolt and Mittens serve as the Official Couple.)
  • Betrayal Fic: Narrowly averted in “The Blood Brother” when Bolt finally realizes how badly he has been treating Mittens and apologizes to her.
  • Big Damn Reunion: Occurs with Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino in "The Gift." When Mittens dies and enters Nirvana, Bolt and Rhino, who have both predeceased her, run up and greet her with a big hug.
  • Big Eater: Penny’s mom becomes this in “The Baseball Game,” much to her daughter’s embarrassment. As a guest of honor, she takes full advantage of an offer of unlimited food and has three hot dogs, two bacon cheeseburgers, two chili cheese fries, a bag of peanuts, a bag of popcorn, cotton candy, two boxes of Cracker Jacks, a jumbo sausage with peppers and onions, two pretzels, a nacho plate, a couple corn dogs, a soft serve sundae in a souvenir batting helmet — and a diet soda.
  • Big Game: “The Baseball Game” concerns itself with one. In the final Single-A World Series game, Bolt is pressed into playing duty while serving as honorary team mascot. He scores the winning run as a pinch runner for an injured player, and later clinches victory when he pulls off a triple play manning second base despite lacking a glove and the ability to throw a baseball properly.
  • Big "NO!": Mittens and Rhino give a short but emphatic "NO!" (in unison, no less) in "The Ski Trip" when Bolt asks if they want to hear about the dead mouse he was rolling in the other day.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Describes Mittens's horrific adoptive family in "The Survivor." Their bad behavior is largely explained because of early childhood disorders and abuse for Jack (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, foster home abuse) as well as Emily and Claire (Borderline Personality Disorder and parental abuse, as well as possible Attention Deficit Disorder for the latter). Manifests in many ways.
  • Bird-Poop Gag: Deconstructed in "The Protection Payment." While it's never stated blatantly, Joey the pigeon considers his pooping on statues to be art.
    Joey: Hey! I ain’t some random seagull who fancies himself an artiste just because he tags everything. I’m a modern-day pigeon Picasso here. Texture, color, thickness — a true craftsman pays attention to what he does. That work I did on the Ulysses Grant Memorial Statue in Brooklyn was a classic. It takes planning to lay down decoration so it balances out in a Fibonacci Series pattern like that.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Many of these stories have outcomes that mix positive and negative elements.
    • “The Clouds”: Homeless bum Soapy finds his One True Love and a Happy Ending, but Mittens don't fare so well. The tuxedo cat ends up without friends or lovers and wondering what clouds, love, and life are all about.
    • “The Kippies”: The story ends with Bolt having comforted Mittens, though they realize they cannot have babies.
    • “The Paris Trip”: The story ends with Mittens realizing she is happiest not staying behind in Paris, though she will lose her connection with Berlioz.
    • “The Blood Brother”: The story ends with Bolt tearfully apologizing to Mittens for his bad behavior towards her, but he loses his friendship with Duke, who is killed by a truck.
    • “The Wind”: The story ends with Bolt returning home having survived a vicious dogfight, though his relationship with Mary is over.
    • “The Gift”: The story ends with Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino reunited in Nirvana for eternity, though the story has earlier shown the death of the first two characters.
    • “The Cameo”: The story ends with Bolt having met his father, 16-year-old Penny having had her first sexual experience, the two characters having enjoyed Los Angeles sightseeing, and their cameo filming session having been completed successfully — though Penny's first experience remains a disappointment and Bolt is unable to convince his father to come home and live with him.
    • “The Seven”: Young Bolt and the collie puppy get adopted at the end of this story (and it's implied the other five are as well), but not before they go through a harrowing experience at the abandoned puppy mill and lose their mothers.
    • “The Spaceship”: Rhino develops intermittent age-related dementia during this story and dies at the end, but before he passes away he enjoys a stunning view of the earth and moon from an orbiting spaceship, gets a chance to bid farewell to Bolt and Mittens, and spends his last hour or so watching his favorite TV program starring his hero and friend.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: In "The Spaceship," Bolt and Penny eat Elvis Presley-inspired peanut butter-banana-bacon sandwiches while watching Lilo & Stitch.
  • Black Comedy: Applies to the story “The Murder Mystery,” a whodunit spoof that finds humor in murder, Comedic Sociopathy, and Insurance Fraud.
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama: Played with in a complex way in "The Imaginary Letters." The story consists of several letters the white-furred dog Bolt makes up in his head while apart from his black cat lover Mittens, in which he lists all the things he loves about their relationship. At one point he mentions finding his white fur on her black fur to be sexy. While fur color has never been a prejudice hot button issue for Bolt, cats have been in the past — thus the fur color issue is treated symbolically.
    Bolt: Your smoldering, hot sexiness that never fails to get my juices flowing. There's just something about my white fur on your black fur that seems so primal, so animalistic, so steamy.
  • Blood Brothers: Applies to Bolt and Duke, complete with touching of ensanguined paws, in "The Blood Brother." Bolt's paw becomes infected shortly afterwards, and his blood-oath friendship with Duke ends badly.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Subverted in "The Blood Brother." Up to this point, Bolt's experiences with violence and death (via his television show) are described as being bloodless, sanitized, and cartoonish. Seeing his former friend's body splattered all over the road proves so wrenching that he vomits profusely.
  • The Body Parts That Must Not Be Named: In "The Makeover," Mittens agrees to a tryst with Bolt, but tells him he needs to have his "doggy lipstick" (a slang term for canine penis) all ready to go when they get together later. The dog misunderstands and decides to give himself a full (and hideous) facial makeover to fulfill the request.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: Kelvin the Labradoodle implies that this will happen to Mittens in “The Seer” via Bolt as payback for how the cat has treated Kelvin’s pigeon friends, and lampshaded as such.
  • Born Unlucky: Mittens has her share of bad luck in these stories and lampshades this in “The Mall” upon hearing the Cream cover of “Born Under a Bad Sign” by Albert King. Not surprising given that she is a black tuxedo cat.
  • Bratty Food Demand: After pushing Mittens into a cake, Bolt makes a peevish and ill-advised request for one of the title pastries in "The Cakes." The angry cat responds by dropping one on his head.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Mittens teasingly adopts an obviously fake Southern twang while paraphrasing a line from A Streetcar Named Desire in “The Paris Trip.”
  • Broken Bird: At the end of "The Survivor," Mittens winds up abandoned in an alley, bitter and distraught, and struggling to find food.
  • Brown Note: In "The Spaceship," Rhino blows on a dog whistle that proves intensely painful to both Bolt's ears and those of the dog-like aliens who try to abduct him.
  • Bubble Pipe: Penny tries to smoke a Sherlock Holmes-style calabash pipe in “The Murder Mystery,” but is thoroughly surprised to see bubbles emerge from the bowl.
  • Butter Face: Blaze describes his walleyed girlfriend Tracey as having an ugly face in “The Cameo.” He uses the phrase “two-bagger” while doing so, suggesting that Tracy is sexy as long as you cover her head in a doubled paper bag.
  • Button Mashing:
    • In "The Autobiography," first Mittens and then Penny are shown frantically pushing keys and clicking the mouse on the latter's computer. The cat manages to ruin Penny's computer while doing so, and the girl's later such actions prove ineffective when it acts up.
    • In "The Spaceship," the aliens frantically press buttons on the translating console in front of them trying to figure out what language Rhino is speaking. They unsuccessfully guess Croatian and Filipino before finally choosing English.

    C 
  • Canine Companion: Ordinarily played straight with Bolt regarding Penny, most notably in “The Walk” and “The Car.” The dog is clearly very devoted to his master. Inverted in “The Murder Mystery” when the dog tries to vaporize Penny with his laser eye beams (turns out it's All Just a Dream).
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Mittens has trouble admitting her feelings for Bolt to Rhino in “The Ship.”
  • Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin': In "The Clouds," Soapy's attempts to get himself arrested so he can spend the winter in a warm jail cell are continually thwarted. He tries vandalism, petty theft, and playing the caddish masher, all to no avail and at times resulting in his receiving Amusing Injuries.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Despite Blaze’s breadth of carnal experience, he is seemingly not very popular with the opposite sex.
    • In “The Seven,” Bolt’s mother has sex with him despite telling him he’s “not her type,” mistakenly thinking he's a stud male brought to the puppy mill for mating purposes. The three female dogs he first encounters there find him attractive initially, but express frustration when he can’t free them from their cages and tease him about his small size. As the story puts it in general:
      The little white mutt also fancied himself quite a ladies' man, and while he had been the cause of several unwanted surprise litters in the area, his brusque and truculent manner didn't make him universally popular with the opposite sex.
    • In “The Cameo,” his girlfriend Tracey says she’s attracted to him, but doesn’t like him very much and speaks disparagingly of him. Not without reason.
  • Catch Your Death of Cold: When Bolt comes down with a bad cold in "The Mall," Rhino blames it on the dog's jumping into the neighbor's pond to chase ducks on a cold day.
    Rhino: [scoldingly] Maybe next time you'll think twice about swimming in the neighbor's duck pond when it's 35 degrees out. It's like when people go outside with wet hair after they take a shower. Not smart.
  • A Cat in a Gang of Dogs: Applies to Mittens and her circle of dog friends in “The Survivor.”
  • Cats Are Mean: Mittens spends the first part of "The Blackbird" salivating over the thought of eating the title character. Subverted when Mittens feels sorry for the bird when it flies into a window and knocks itself out — she eventually wishes it well when it comes to and flies away.
  • Cat Up a Tree: An unnamed farm cat gets stranded in a tree in “The Blood Brother.” Duke chases him into the road trying to get him hit by an oncoming truck, but the cat escapes and ends up this way.
  • Celebrities Hang Out in Heaven: Bolt mentions having had a conversation with C. S. Lewis in Nirvana, in “The Gift.”
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: Penny and Bolt chafe under their former TV celebrity status at times, most obviously in "The Walk," where the girl discusses the issue in detail.
    Penny: Believe me, being famous isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You're always needed somewhere. People get jealous of you, even folks who don’t know anything about you. It gets real hard to tell if someone actually likes you or is just using you. Makes it tough to have friends — real friends, I mean. You haven’t got any privacy, either. Everyone gawks at you — and the nicest ones simply leave it at that. Others come up and pester you about all kinds of dumb stuff. If you're lucky, they just ask for an autograph, say how much they liked your show, and shake your hand. Like I'm telling you anything you don't already know, huh buddy? Could you believe that one weirdo we ran into at the mall last week? She insisted on getting a souvenir swatch of hair from your tail! You were awfully cooperative with that loony tune, big guy.
  • Chained Heat: Against her better judgement, Mittens attaches herself to the other end of Bolt's leash in "The Ski Trip," acting as the dog's de facto leash handler. When she fails to stop Bolt from skiing down a mountain trail, the cat tries to unhook her collar from the leash, but finds it won't budge. Much to her displeasure, she is dragged along on the harrowing ski run with Bolt and Rhino.
  • Chain of Corrections: Mittens, Petey, and Petey’s circle of friends engage in a hurricane of mistaken terminology fixes in “The Survivor.”
    Bruce: [grinning] Meeeeow, girl! Most kitties have sandpaper tongues, but can’t say I ever met one with a mouth full of fishhooks before. You’re a true cat mutation, for sure. A regular… a regular… um, a regular "anemone," gotta say.
    Wayne: [laughing] What? I see whiskers on her face, not tentacles! You mean "homily," don’t you?
    Petey: [shaking his head] Always thinking about food, aren’t you? That’s "hominy."
    Alastair: [groaning] Geez! If you’re gonna use that word-a-day calendar your human has on his writing desk, you might wanna at least, you know, get it right? I’m pretty sure you meant "anomaly."
  • Chasing a Butterfly: Young Mittens, just adopted out of the pound, is chasing a butterfly in the housing project's shared yard space when she does a Crash-Into Hello with Petey in “The Survivor.”
  • Cheer Up Episode: In “The Kippies,” Mittens gradually comes to the realization that she will never have kittens, being greatly saddened by this. Bolt tries to comfort her with a spooning hug, telling her that he won't have offspring either and to be happy for the advantages she has. He eventually succeeds in cheering her up.
  • Chekhov's Gag: In "The Wedding Reception," Mittens improvises humorous parody lyrics for Richard Wagner's bridal chorus from Lohengrin, making fun of the selection. At the end of the story, Bolt and Rhino teasingly serenade the badly hungover cat with spoofing lyrics of their own to this melody.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In “The Autobiography,” a half-open bottle of soda sits next to Penny’s computer at the story's start. Mittens manages to accidentally dump its contents into the machine near the end of the story, ruining the computer.
    • In “The Baseball Game,” Mittens eats a greasy plate of chili cheese fries just before the game’s start. The food works its way through her digestive tract quickly, causing the cat to have a bowel movement at an inopportune time.
    • When the three pets first enter the title venue in “The Supermarket,” they see grocery clerks preparing stacked displays of bananas, tomatoes, eclairs, and pies. The story ends with the three pets caked in squashed examples of the same foods after Bolt's ill-fated rush to the store exit while pushing a shopping cart.
  • Chekhov's Skill: An example is shown carrying over from the movie to one of the stories. In the film, Mittens teaches Bolt how to beg and do cute things to coax food from trailer park visitors, one of these being a charming roll-over maneuver while on his back. In "The Wind," Bolt uses the same spin move to get out of the way of his dog fight antagonist Ike, who charges towards him with head lowered. Ike doesn't realize Bolt has evaded him and crashes full force into a brick wall, breaking his neck with a loud crack, ending the fight.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Malcolm, the actor who plays Dr. Calico on Bolt’s TV show, teasingly describes the dog this way after Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino’s enthusiastic dance display in “The Wedding Reception.” Given that Malcolm's acting style on Bolt's TV show is very much over the top, one can assume he’s an expert in the matter.
  • Chez Restaurant: Bolt and Blaze mooch food from the back entrance of a fancy French restaurant called “Le Caniche Affamé” in “The Cameo.”
  • Classical Music Is Cool: Bolt, Mittens, Rhino, Penny, and Penny's mom are portrayed as avid consumers of art and culture in all forms, including classical music. This is particularly true of Mittens, who is often shown listening to this, as is Bolt at times. Even Rhino — much to his and Mittens's surprise — is entranced by a TV broadcast of Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin. Penny’s mom is presented as being a former high school teacher prior to the TV show’s run, with a specialty in cultural appreciation; she has a huge collection of vintage pop and classical music compact discs.
  • Cliché Storm: Bolt and Mittens trade off a string of hackneyed sayings in-universe at the end of "The Kippies." This descends from the cat's lampshading herself as a midlife crisis cliché.
    Mittens: [shaking her head and smirking] Sheesh — look at me, Bolt. Who’da thunk it? I'm a card-carrying midlife crisis cliché. If I were a bank CEO, I’d have bought myself a shiny new red sports car and dumped you for a studly tomcat half my age.
    Bolt: [chuckling] I guess so. Funny thing about clichés, though — they’re old and moldy, but they're usually true. Y’know, like "A stitch in time saves nine?"
    Mittens: Or, "There’s no use crying over spilled milk."
    Bolt: Uh-huh — and, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
  • Closed Circle: The entire cast and crew of Bolt’s TV show are gathered together on a movie studio set in “The Murder Mystery” after The Director is killed. All are suspects with plausible motives, and Penny monitors the proceedings.
  • Coffee Shop A.U. Fic: Played with in “The Coffee Shop,” which is not a typical example of this trope. It is not an Alternate Universe Fic, for one thing, and baristas do not appear as characters. Bolt spends his time hanging out in a coffee shop, begging for treats while trying to find a possible boyfriend for Penny. He does so in Joe, but has to make himself sick drinking coffee to get Joe to rush him to Penny's veterinary clinic and have the two of them meet.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Applies to Bolt and the other animals in the Black Comedy "The Murder Mystery." They engage in murder, sociopathic behavior, and Insurance Fraud, all Played for Laughs.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Frequently happens with Bolt, but occasionally occurs with other characters.
    • In “The Makeover,” Bolt misunderstands what Mittens means when she refers to “doggy lipstick,” resulting in the dog giving himself a hideously garish makeover. His thinking is that if Mittens enjoys doggy lipstick, she’ll like him even better if he’s wearing several other kinds of makeup as well.
    • In “The Wedding Reception,” Bolt misconstrues a joke by Mittens regarding "Pachelbel's Canon" and steps all over the punch line. He thinks Mittens's parodied title, "Taco Bell Canon," was the work's title all along after her quip.
    • In “The Cameo,” Bolt misunderstands Blaze’s The Empire Strikes Back I-am-your-father quote (wondering instead why he just called him Luke), as well as misconstruing his father’s description of his girlfriend as a “two-bagger” by thinking this means she plays baseball. Earlier, Bolt is thoroughly confused by the suggestive teasing from Penny and her friend in connection with a smut fic featuring him and his master.
    • In “The Coffee Shop,” Bolt expresses concern that the still-single Penny is never going to get married and that he won't have grandchildren, as well as thinking the word “kvetch” is “kwetch.” Mittens goes to a lot of trouble to correct him.
    • In “The Gift,” Bolt misconstrues Mittens’s question “How about sex?” as a come-on rather than an inquiry about whether beings in Nirvana have sex or not.
    • In “The Seven,” young Bolt misunderstands when one of his friends says that “even ‘Citizen Kane’ is no ‘Citizen Kane’.” His reaction is to ask “How can ‘Citizen Kane’ not be ‘Citizen Kane’ if that’s what it is?"
    • In “The Cakes,” Bolt misconstrues Mittens's evasiveness regarding her having gone to use the litter box, taking her "making a cake" euphemism literally.
    • In “The Spaceship,” Bolt misunderstands the meaning of the word "innuendo" when Mittens uses it, thinking it refers to a particular sex act.
    • In “The Protection Payment,” Bobby the pigeon misunderstands his friend Vinny when the latter refers to the Italian painter Caravaggio, thinking he's referring to a character from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
      Bobby: Caravaggio? What’s the Mutant Ninja Teenage Turtles got to do with anything?
  • Comic Trio:
    • Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino exemplify the trope in "The Ski Trip," "The Cakes," and "The Supermarket," with Rhino being the instigator, Bolt as the muscle, and Mittens as the Only Sane Man. The last eventually loses patience and morphs into a Not So Above It All active participant in retaliation during the first two stories.
    • Played with in the case of puppy mill females Corabell, Dorabell, and Mae in "The Seven" and pigeons Vinny, Joey, and Bobby in "The Protection Payment." While being trios of comic characters, they do not fulfill the trope’s most common stock roles.
  • The Confidant:
    • Bolt serves as a sounding board for Penny a few times.
      • In “The Walk,” for her Age-Appropriate Angst regarding a bad breakup and her not fitting in well at school.
      • In “The Car,” for her hopes and concerns as she enters college.
    • Penny and Rhino serve as advisers for Bolt and Mittens respectively in “The Ship,” offering their thoughts on the advisability of the dog and cat entering into a love relationship with each other.
  • The Conscience: While Rhino often plays the role of advisor and confidant for Bolt and Mittens, in "The Blood Brother," the hamster crosses into this territory by shaming Bolt into recognizing his increasing intolerance towards Mittens:
    "Just remember, Bolt," said the hamster purposefully. "I've always looked up to you in the past, and I really hope I can continue to do so in the future. In your heart, you know what needs to happen here."
  • Continuity Cameo: Penny and Bolt have a brief role in the movie version of their old TV show in “The Cameo.” It becomes a blooperfest.
  • Corpsing: Penny breaks up laughing during her filming session in “The Cameo,” spoiling numerous takes.
  • Cosmetic Catastrophe: In "The Makeover," Mittens agrees to a tryst with Bolt, but tells him he needs to have his "doggy lipstick" (a slang term for canine penis) all ready to go when they get together later. The dog misunderstands and decides to give himself a full (and hideous) facial makeover to fulfill the request.
  • Covered in Gunge:
    • Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino end up covered in the title pastry after a massive food fight in “The Cakes.”
    • The end of “The Supermarket” sees the three pets caked in squashed bananas, tomatoes, eclairs, and pies after Bolt's ill-fated rush to the store exit while pushing a shopping cart.
  • Covered in Mud: In “The Blood Brother,” Bolt’s friend Duke gets coated head to tail in muck after rolling in a mud puddle.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Happens between Mittens and Petey in “The Survivor.” She crashes into him while Chasing a Butterfly and makes the dog (a big Judy Garland fan) laugh when she asks him if he’s a good witch or a bad witch.
  • Creepy Cathedral: Inverted in “The Paris Trip,” where Penny, her mom, and the three pets greatly enjoy a visit to Chartres Cathedral. All but Rhino are in awe of the architecture and stained glass, while the hamster prefers seeing the gargoyles. Mittens and Berlioz also greatly like the stained glass at a visit to Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.
  • Crop Circles: After the Flying Saucer picks up a scarecrow from a nearby field in "The Spaceship," it leaves a crop circle behind.
  • Cross-Cast Role: Bolt references this in "The Imaginary Letters" when he mentions that the role of Lassie is played by a male dog:
    "Except it's not a her — she’s a he! For that matter, so was Lassie. He said female collies shed their ruffs seasonally, so that's always been a skirt role for a boy pooch."
  • Crying Critters: Happens frequently in this series.
    • In “The Seven,” the Jack Russell terrier puppy picks on her Labrador retriever puppy friend, making her cry.
    • In “The Blood Brother,” Bolt breaks into tears during his apology to Mittens, fearful that she may not forgive him.
    • In “The Wind,” Bolt, whose girlfriend has just run away to the city, sobs uncontrollably after listening to the Derek and the Dominos album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, most of whose selections contain lyrics about lost love.
    • In “The Survivor,” Mittens cries bitterly after being abandoned in a Manhattan alley.
    • In “The Rings,” a single tear rolls down Mittens's cheek when Bolt asks if she will accept him as her soulmate.
    • In “The Mall,” Mittens breaks into tears of relief after listening to "Bridge over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel, now feeling fully convinced that Penny and her family truly love her.
    • In “The Ship,” a single tear rolls down Mittens's cheek after definitively declaring her love for Bolt.
    • In “The Gift,” Mittens cries when Bolt collapses and dies.
  • Cutting Corners: In "The Spaceship," the aliens Rhino meets complain about belt-tightening policies because of budget cuts. They seemingly do maintenance patchwork style with duct tape or neglect it altogether. They also buy translating collars at a bargain-basement store.
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    D-E 
  • Dance of Romance: Bolt and Mittens dance together in “The Wedding Reception.” However, it does not bear romantic fruit until a later story, “The Ship,” where it is lampshaded.
  • Dancing with Myself: The climactic dance scene in "The Wedding Reception" at first features Bolt alone on the dance floor, backed by "Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)" by The Contours. Mittens and Rhino join him later.
  • Dark Fic:
    • “The Blood Brother” deals with the subject of bigotry and sees Bolt's murderous friend Duke die when he is hit by a truck.
    • “The Survivor” presents Mittens's Backstory living with her abusive owners, who abandon her in a Manhattan alley and later die in a fiery drunk driving car crash.
    • “The Wind” sees Bolt enter into a relationship with his addict girlfriend and nearly get killed in a harrowing dog fight trying to rescue her.
    • “The Seven” presents Bolt's Backstory, in which his mother dies and he and his puppy friends narrowly escape death in an abandoned puppy mill.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms:
    • In “The Imaginary Letters,” Bolt mentions using hotel throw pillows and a chair leg as a self-stimulus substitute for the absent Mittens.
    • In “The Cameo,” it’s implied that the issue of Dog Fancy magazine Bolt uses as a TV show prop ends up in his trailer for self-stimulation purposes. The dog in the centerfold is even named Rosie.
  • Daydream Surprise: “The Kippies” presents a scenario where Bolt and Mittens have mixed-species offspring. It is later revealed that this is a recurring daydream fantasy of Mittens.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mittens's dialogue is loaded with wisecracking, sarcastic zingers throughout the series, though Rhino, Mindy Parker, and The Director have their moments. An example from "The Funkmeister":
    Mittens: All well and good for you, at least, except that you’ve got an audience of one over here that can’t unsee your transgressions against terpsichorean excellence.
    Rhino: [waving his paw dismissively] Yeah, yeah — put the snark thesaurus away and make with the music already.
  • Death by Childbirth: Emily's mother dies in childbirth in "The Survivor." The girl's father blames his daughter for his wife's death, verbally and physically abusing her because of it.
  • Definite Article Title: Applies to every story in the series, with "The" being the first word: "The Seven," "The Survivor," "The Box," "The Wedding Reception," etc.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe:
    • In “The Baseball Game,” Rhino says he would look distinguished smoking a pipe. Or as he puts it, "Like Mark Twain or J. R. R. Tolkien, actually."
    • Subverted in “The Murder Mystery” when the Sherlock Holmes-style calabash pipe Penny tries to smoke emits soap bubbles.
  • Doctor's Orders: In “The Coffee Shop,” veterinarian Penny scolds Bolt for eating and drinking things that pack on weight and will jeopardize his health. She puts the dog on a diet, and he returns to fighting trim.
  • Dogs Are Dumb:
    • Normally inverted in these stories, except perhaps for Bruce the Rottweiler in “The Survivor.” Even Bolt, who is frequently depicted as Comically Missing the Point, is otherwise intelligent.
    • Played with in "The Spaceship." The aliens in this story closely resemble bipedal dogs (they even respond to Rhino's dog whistle), and they're quite stupid. Rhino is able to convince them that scarecrows are intelligent beings.
  • Dogs Hate Squirrels: Inverted in a few stories.
    • In “The Imaginary Letters,” Bolt’s reaction when he says the word “squirrel” is to laugh at this trope with the observation “Did I say squirrel? Who am I, Dug from the movie ‘Up?’”
    • In “The Seven,” the collie puppy’s prominent dead squirrel odor is noted by his friends, all of whom want to know where he found the source.
  • Dog Stereotype: Always inverted.
    • In “The Survivor” and “The Imaginary Letters,” the homosexual dogs are stereotypically masculine breeds such as Rottweilers, pit bulls, and collies.
    • In “The Blood Brother” and “The Wind,” the villains are stereotypically friendly breeds such as beagles, cocker spaniels, and golden retrievers.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: A literal example in-universe in “The Murder Mystery.” It is revealed that Bolt and the other animals from the TV show teamed up to kill The Director, and furthermore collected a double-indemnity life insurance payout afterwards.
  • Domestic Abuse:
    • In “The Survivor,” Mittens's first owner Jack mistreats the cat and is described as someone who when inebriated acts out destructively, taking it out on inanimate objects as well as family members who are within reach (when we first see his wife Emily in the story, she is described as having a bruise on her jaw). Emily also had an abusive father who berated and beat her.
    • In “The Wind,” Bolt’s former girlfriend gets slapped so hard by her present paramour that she falls over.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Soapy's attempts to get himself arrested so he can spend the winter in a warm jail cell are continually thwarted in "The Clouds." Among other indignities, he gets whacked repeatedly on the head with an umbrella by a woman whose groceries he tries to pilfer, which is Played for Laughs.
  • Downer Ending: Uniquely in this series, "The Seven" ends unhappily with no bittersweet leavening. Mittens is abandoned in a Manhattan alley left struggling to survive, her owners having died in a fiery drunken driving auto wreck and her dog friend Petey and his owner having moved away.
  • Down on the Farm: Most of the stories in this series are post-canon and have a rural setting in an unknown US state. It may or may not be located in Flyover Country. The clues given so far:
    • Pigeons, starlings, and crows live there as wild birds, and their winters are cold enough for snow ("The Blood Brother").
    • Sunflowers are grown there ("The Ship" and "The Kippies").
    • It's a reasonable commuting drive away from an unnamed large city which is home to a college with a veterinary school ("The Coffee Shop").
    • There's a freight train line in the very general vicinity, located between their house and the unnamed large city. A tornado also occurs in that city's outskirts ("The Wind").
    • It's several hours drive from the nearest ski resort ("The Ski Resort").
    • It's about a three-and-a-half hour drive away from Prairie City, a locale large enough to field a Single A baseball franchise ("The Baseball Game").
    • It's not near any of the cities named in "The Imaginary Letters."
    • Age of consent in the state where Penny lives is 16 years old ("The Cameo").
  • Down to the Last Play: Happens in “The Baseball Game,” thanks to the opposing team’s Epic Fail. Mickey Cleary, the Edgartown Heath Hens’ slugging designated hitter and the team's leader in home runs and runs batted in for the year, comes to the plate in the last of the ninth inning with two runners aboard and a chance to win the game and the Single-A World Series. He ends the game by hitting into a triple play to Bolt, who is playing second base despite lacking a glove and the ability to throw a baseball properly.
  • Dreadful Musician: In "The Blackbird," Mittens isn't impressed with the title character's singing ability.
    Mittens: Now he’s singing. “Pook-pook-pook! Pook-pook-pook!”/If you can call that a song.
  • The Drifter: Applies to Blaze, who lives as a street stray (the result of several failed adoption efforts), cajoles food from stores and restaurants, and has several girlfriends in various parts of Los Angeles. He refuses Bolt’s offer to adopt him into Penny’s family. Seen in both “The Seven” and “The Cameo.”
  • Drives Like Crazy: Penny's first time behind the wheel in "The Car" is a disaster. She tries to use separate feet on the brake and gas pedals as well as jamming on them hard, wrenches the car around by misgauging the power steering, stalls the car out, and turns on the wipers instead of the ignition when starting up again. She gets better after taking Drivers Ed classes, though.
  • Driving Song: "The Car" concerns Penny and Bolt's joy at driving to and from the local diner while listening to music, as well as showing a flashback to Penny's first horrible experience behind the wheel. They listen to several examples of classic driving songs on their way back and forth between the diner, culminating with them singing/barking along to "Roadrunner" by The Modern Lovers.
  • Drowning Unwanted Pets: Via flushing in "The Survivor." Jack is described as frequently flushing Claire's smaller pets, usually still alive, down the toilet.
  • Drugs Are Bad:
    • In “The Survivor,” Mittens’s first owner Jack has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and his abuse of alcohol and drugs intensifies his worst tendencies.
    • Mary, a beagle who is Bolt’s first girlfriend, tries to dry out after being adopted from the pound by a farm family but can’t shake her addictions in “The Wind.” She’s very indiscriminate regarding what she’ll ingest to get high.
  • Drunk Driver: Mittens's abusive adoptive family dies in a fiery drunk-driving car crash in "The Survivor."
  • Duct Tape for Everything: When Rhino is beamed aboard the title vehicle in "The Spaceship," he notices that the interior shows a fair amount of disrepair — among other things, that several of the chairs look like they have been repaired with duct tape. The aliens he encounters confirm his suspicions, and it appears they use the material to fix things in general.
    Cloyd: But... but... we had to buy extra duct tape for repairs!
  • Dumbass Has a Point: In "The Protection Payment," Bobby the pigeon normally says and does dumb things and is sometimes seen Comically Missing the Point. Once in a rare while, though, he's more perceptive than his pigeon pals — most notably when he begins to wonder aloud whether the declawed cat Mittens (who is extorting food from them in a Protection Racket) actually has the claws she claims to possess. In this specific instance, his aghast friends frantically shush him, not realizing he's right.
  • Dunce Cap: After Bolt’s Heel Realization in “The Blood Brother,” he invokes this trope, saying “Somebody really should stick a dunce cap with the word ‘stupid’ on my head, no question.”
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Depicted literally for the three pets in "The Gift," when they are reunited after death in Nirvana. Beings cannot enter until they have learned all their life lessons, thereby becoming complete and breaking free of the Karmic Wheel.
  • Ear Worm: Mittens is prone to getting tunes stuck in her head, though it happens to Bolt as well.
    • In “The Paris Trip,” Mittens has "Free Man in Paris" by Joni Mitchell running through her head while sightseeing in the city, as well as "And I Love Her" by The Beatles after she and Berlioz make love. This also happens to her with "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her" by Simon & Garfunkel during the cab ride to the airport at the end of the story, which makes her wistfully sad for her vacation fling with Berlioz.
    • In “The Gift,” Mittens has the song "Pay You Back with Interest" by The Hollies floating through her head at one point in Nirvana, which is appropriate given the tie-in with karma.
    • In “The Ski Trip,” Mittens has "Can't Buy Me Love" by The Beatles start running through her head at the beginning of her ill-advised downhill ski run with Bolt and Rhino.
    • In “The Ship,” both Bolt and Mittens mention having songs by Marshall Crenshaw running through their heads just after they declare their love for each other. For Bolt, it's "Cynical Girl," while for Mittens, it's "Brand New Lover."
    • In “The Imaginary Letters,” Bolt mentions having the song "Cinnamon Girl" by Neil Young going through his head when he and Penny are joyfully running through Harvard Yard.
  • The Elevator from Ipanema: A non-elevator example of piped-in canned music appears in “The Mall.” Occurring in the title venue, this irritates the music-loving Mittens no end — especially when she hears a tango-inflected version of a melody from Johannes Brahms’s Third Symphony, though it’s mostly pop music from the 1950s through the 1980s that gets this treatment.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Played with and indirectly lampshaded in “The Mall” by Rhino when Bolt starts talking funny after he catches a bad head cold.
    Rhino: [giggling] Boy, don't you sound hilarious! Kinda like a bizarro world version of Elmer Fudd or something.
    Bolt: [sneering peevishly] Very fuddy! Veeeery fuddy! Dod’t bake fud of be, or I’ll… I’ll… ahh-ahh-ahh-CHOO!... I’ll sdeeze all over you! That’ll show you!
  • Epic Fail: In “The Baseball Game,” Mickey Cleary, the Edgartown Heath Hens’ slugging designated hitter and the team's leader in home runs and runs batted in for the year, comes to the plate in the last of the ninth inning with two runners aboard and a chance to win the game and the Single-A World Series. He ends the game by hitting into a triple play to Bolt, who is playing second base despite lacking a glove and the ability to throw a baseball properly.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Mittens's adoptive family dies in a fiery drunken driving car crash in "The Survivor." Their automobile plows into a stopped oil tanker truck while traveling at 80 miles per hour, the latter exploding into a monstrous fireball that kills the family, the truck's driver, and six other people in immediately surrounding vehicles.
  • Everyone Can See It: Implied regarding Bolt and Mittens and their attraction for each other in “The Ship.” Rhino and Penny’s mom definitely suspect they have fallen for each other, and Penny has at least some inkling.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Bolt is normally very disapproving of Penny’s boyfriends, expressing this through dirty looks and grumbling — though for good reason, as she usually chooses unwisely. She sometimes ignores the dog’s instinctual character sense, always to her detriment.
  • Excrement Statement: In "The Baseball Game," bench-coach-for-a-day Mittens is sent out to stall for time, allowing the relief pitcher to finish warming up — and the manager tells her to get the umpire so angry that he is forced to eject her. Nothing works until the chili cheese fries the cat ate just before the game trigger a bowel movement, which is left on home plate complete with a smart-aleck's smirk.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: An inverted and comedic version of this trope is seen in "The Cakes," the ending of which depicts the pastry-covered Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino dashing for the doggy door with Penny's angry mom in hot pursuit.
  • Expy:
    • Berlioz in “The Paris Trip” is unambiguously based on his namesake in The Aristocats. A black cat who can play piano, he lampshades this by saying it’s a naming tradition in his family going back several generations.
    • Petey in “The Survivor” is clearly based on his namesake in The Little Rascals film shorts. He's a brown and white American pit bull terrier with a ring around the left eye. Except when Jack threatens Mittens or his master Darnell, he's very personable and friendly.
    • Soapy in “The Clouds” is clearly based on the homeless bum of the same name from “The Cop and the Anthem,” an O. Henry Short Story.

    F-G 
  • Face Palm:
    • Penny hides her face in her hand with mortification on a few occasions.
      • With embarrassment in reaction to her mom’s Big Eater binge in “The Baseball Game.”
      • With embarrassment when Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino are caught by security snitching a pair of skis, tearing up a freshly groomed mountain trail, throwing snowballs, and committing other transgressions in “The Ski Trip.”
      • With irritation upon discovering how badly fouled up her computer has become in “The Autobiography.”
      • With embarrassment at seeing her three food-covered pets just after they have smashed the front door of the title venue in “The Supermarket.”
    • Mittens covers her face with a paw when Bolt starts in on a Hurricane of Puns in “The Coyote.”
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: The unnamed bride in "The Wedding Reception" has an especially over-the-top gown, festooned with flowers and Styrofoam birds.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Duke is splattered all over the road after being run over by a truck in “The Blood Brother.”
  • Fantastic Racism: In “The Blood Brother,” Duke is a bigot who despises cats. He attempts to awaken Bolt’s dormant feline racism and nearly succeeds.
  • Fattening the Victim: While Mittens doesn't take a direct role in doing so, she greatly enjoys seeing the title character in "The Blackbird" gorge on caterpillars, seeds, and bugs — the better to make the bird fat and juicy if she can get hold of it.
    Mittens: There he goes, scarfing down bugs now. Good!/Get nice and fat, that’s it. Need more meat on your bones./Extra juicy — that’s fine. The best kind of blackbird.
  • Filthy Fun: Occurs in a few stories. Justified in that real-life dogs enjoy dirty, smelly things.
    • In “The Blood Brother,” Bolt and his friend Duke enjoy rolling in mud puddles.
    • In “The Ski Trip,” Bolt attempts to discuss his experience rolling in a dead mouse with Mittens and Rhino. He is resoundingly rebuffed.
    • Happens twice in “The Seven.” The collie puppy’s prominent dead squirrel odor is noted by his friends, all of whom want to know where he found the source. Also, when the Jack Russell terrier puppy mentions that it’s easy to get “all stunk up” at the puppy mill, one of the German shepherd youngsters expresses his approval.
    • When Kelvin the labradoodle is first encountered in “The Protection Payment,” he is seen rolling in the contents of a ripped-open trash bag.
  • Finger Wag: In "The Coffee Shop," Penny shakes her finger scoldingly at Bolt for his bad behavior.
  • First Love: Bolt's first romantic relationship, with a promiscuous and drug-addicted beagle in "The Wind," proves to be an utter disaster. His later relationship with Mittens, starting with "The Ship," proves enduring, with the dog and cat turning out to be each other's soulmate.
  • Fish Eyes: In "The Cameo," Blaze's Butter Face girlfriend Tracey is walleyed. It's shown to affect her vision, as she is heard crashing into a wall when trying to exit the doggy door. Blaze insensitively makes fun of this, calling her Ditzy-Doo — and Tracey is rightly not amused.
  • Flashback: Penny's disastrous first driving experience in "The Car" is told via flashback.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Partly played straight in “The Gift.” Mittens is reunited in the afterlife with Bolt and Rhino, who predecease her. There are checkout counter style lines for admission. It’s also an ideal place where one can call up all knowledge, art, or culture for enjoyment, and its residents mingle and talk in cocktail party fashion. Inverted in that it’s based on Eastern karmic principles (even referred to as Nirvana instead of Heaven) and beings can’t enter until they have learned all their required life lessons.
  • Flying Saucer: The aliens in "The Spaceship" employ a flying saucer.
  • Foodfight!: Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino engage in one in “The Cakes,” ruining Penny's mom's bake-sale pastries.
  • Forgiveness: Happens in "The Blood Brother." When Bolt realizes how callously he has treated Mittens, he tearfully apologizes to the cat and is forgiven.
  • Formally Named Pet: Subverted in "The Survivor." Upon adoption, Claire names her new tuxedo cat "Mr. Mittens." Mittens refuses to accept the "Mr." part of the appellation, however, because she's not male. As she tells Petey:
    Mittens: Geez, couldn't they have been bothered to turn me over and, y’know, taken a look before naming me? They didn’t exactly need a crystal ball to figure that out. I am after all missing those three vital pieces of equipment any Mister needs in his repertoire.
  • Formerly Fit: Describes Bolt during much of "The Coffee Shop." The dog has been in great shape most of his life, but in this story, he gets into bad habits when he starts accompanying Penny's mom to the title venue on a consistent basis. He develops a barrel-chested chubby look by begging for treats from coffee shop patrons, as well as raiding the home trash can for discarded leftovers. Penny eventually puts him on a strict diet, and he is back to his old svelte self by the end of the story.
  • Free Prize at the Bottom: When Bolt loses the title objects in “The Rings,” he and Mittens improvise using Cracker Jacks decoder ring prizes as replacements, tearing open several boxes in the process.
  • Free-Range Pets: Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino normally roam around outside unrestrained, with Penny often being negligent about keeping her dog on a leash.
  • Freudian Excuse: In "The Survivor," Mittens's owners' bad behavior is largely explained because of early childhood disorders and abuse for Jack (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, foster home abuse) as well as Emily and Claire (Borderline Personality Disorder and parental abuse, as well as possible Attention Deficit Disorder for the latter).
  • From Stray to Pet: Zig-zagged consistently.
    • Mittens in "The Survivor," who goes from stray to pet to stray to pet.
    • Blaze in "The Seven" and "The Cameo," who goes back and forth from stray to pet several times, ending up as a stray.
    • Mary in "The Wind," who goes from stray to pet and back to stray.
  • Fruit Cart: When Bolt frantically pushes a shopping cart containing his friends towards the exit in "The Supermarket," he plows it into displays holding bananas, tomatoes, pies, and eclairs.
  • Funk: Serves as the style basis for the dance music in “The Funkmeister.” Mittens and Rhino dance to selections by James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, and George Clinton that fall in this category.
  • Fun with Acronyms: A non-humorous acronym example in seen in “The Blood Brother” for the supremacist group “Caucasian Rights Endorsement, Education, and Protection Society.”
  • Gasshole: Bolt becomes gassy twice in "The Imaginary Letters," once after drinking soda (belching) and once after eating chili with beans. He is not amused about this, though Penny apparently finds the first instance funny.
  • Gay Best Friend: Mittens’s dog friend Petey in “The Survivor” is homosexual. By extension, also applies to Petey’s circle of friends, all of whom accept Mittens into their group.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Bolt, Mittens, Rhino, and Penny are portrayed as avid consumers of art and culture in all forms. Penny’s mom is presented as being a former high school teacher prior to the TV show’s run, with a specialty in cultural appreciation; she has a huge collection of vintage pop and classical music compact discs, and fondly remembers a summer backpacking trip through Europe visiting museums.
  • A Girl in Every Port: Blaze says he has sweethearts scattered throughout Los Angeles in “The Cameo.”
  • Girls Like Musicians: Part of what cements Mittens’s attraction to Berlioz in “The Paris Trip” is his ability to play jazz piano.
  • The Glomp: In “The Ship,” Bolt gives Mittens a flying-tackle hug to enthusiastically express that he returns her love for him.
  • Glory Days: Inverted regarding Penny's mom in "The Walk," given what her daughter says. She rightly has given Penny advice that secondary school will only be the high water mark for a certain subset of people.
    Penny: It's funny. I wish I fit in better at school, but mom says that doesn't matter any. Someone with big dreams and big plans like me will blossom out in the real world, she says, while for the cheerleaders and football jocks, this is as good as it’ll get. Their lives will just head downhill after this. I hope that's right about me, at least. It's no fun feeling like a freak, darn it.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: In "The Paris Trip," Bolt's sightseeing enjoyment on Day One is badly compromised by his limited color vision. Fortunately, Penny remembers that she brought a prototype set of glasses that lets the dog see colors like humans do. This changes Bolt's trip radically for the better, allowing him to discover a hitherto unknown love of visual art and stained glass. He continues to use them in later stories ("The Ship," "The Cameo," "The Imaginary Letters," and "The Gift") for this purpose, sometimes sharing them with Mittens.
  • Good Witch Versus Bad Witch: Mittens asks Petey if he's a good witch or a bad witch when they first do a Crash-Into Hello. Given that he’s a big Judy Garland fan, the dog finds this amusing.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: No one swears in this fanfic series.
    • The animals in these stories routinely substitute the word “dog” for “God” in phrases such as “Oh, my dog,” “Dog only knows,” and “For dog’s sake.”
    • Even when the worst foul-ups happen, the human characters don't swear, either. An example from "The Cakes," when Penny's mom discovers the three pets have ruined her cakes in a food fight:
      Penny's Mom: WHAT IN THE RAGING BLUE BLAZES IS GOING ON HERE??
  • Grade System Snark: Mittens comically grades out the humor-challenged Bolt's awkward joke attempt in "The Wedding Reception."
    Bolt: [grabbing his throat, doing an exaggerated eye roll, lolling his tongue out, and falling over backwards] Styrofoam? That’s my kryptonite! No wonder I’ve felt so powerless all day!
    Mittens: [quipping] B-plus for execution and C-minus for content. A-plus for effort, though.
  • Grand Finale: “The Gift” serves as the final wrap-up story for the series, with Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino reunited for eternity in Nirvana after their deaths.
  • Grass Is Greener: In “The Funkmeister,” Mittens regrets not remaining in Paris with Berlioz, the cat who was her vacation fling. When Bolt enters the room shortly after, Rhino suggests she look closer to home for a sweetheart.
  • Gratuitous Italian: In "The Protection Payment," pigeons Vinny and Joey pepper their speech with Italian-American words.
    Vinny: We ain’t scraped up enough grub to keep a cockroach alive, never mind makin’ her feline nibs happy. Not a cannoli crumb, not a mouthful of muzzarell’, not even a bite of bisgott’.
  • Grave-Marking Scene: Mittens regularly visits the gravesites of Bolt and Rhino in “The Gift,” leaving a single wildflower in front of their tombstones when she does.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: At the start of "The Clouds," Mittens has her angst and loneliness mirrored by clouds and sleet. Clouds and imminent precipitation are seen through the story, reinforcing its bittersweet nature and the cat's confusion and lack of hope.
  • Greasy Spoon: "The Funkmeister" and "The Car" reference a local cheap-eats favorite in Dinny's Diner. The latter story sees Penny and Bolt head there for apple pie and coffee.
  • Great Big Library of Everything:
    • In "The Gift," it's implied that there's some kind of nebulous all-encompassing repository of art, culture, and knowledge in Nirvana, its contents readily available for the imagining.
      Mittens: Do we get to experience any cultural or intellectual stuff? I know I'm gonna have a hankering for some good music sooner or later.
      Bolt: Absolutely. It's one of the best things about this place, actually. All you have to do is imagine it and you experience it. A Monteverdi madrigal? A Titian painting? The Amber Room? A Jane Austen novel? A Buster Keaton film? You can enjoy it all, under ideal circumstances, even things that vanished from earth for one reason or another. And all knowledge can be found, too — whatever your intellectual or artistic passion, it’s yours to call up.
    • Penny's mom has what appears to be a bottomless collection of classic pop and classical music compact discs, which is only further augmented by Penny's suddenly-appearing collection of (mostly) non-chart-oriented 70s and 80s pop music. Referenced in stories such as "The Paris Trip" and "The Ship," and lampshaded in "The Funkmeister:"
      The cat hoisted herself up onto her feet. “Okay, pal. Lemme see what Penny’s mom’s got in that magic CD rack of hers.” The two friends respectively padded and rolled off to the bookcases full of jewel-boxed discs.
  • Greeting Gesture Confusion: When first meeting, Mindy Parker and Penny twice offer each other a simultaneous hug and handshake before finally settling on a mutual hug, in “The Cameo.”
  • Guardian Angel: Rhino’s role in the series is revealed to be that of a guardian angel. Lampshaded by him in “The Gift,” even referring to the movie It's a Wonderful Life in the process. He was a fully-evolved soul in Nirvana who decided it would be fun to return to earth as a volunteer, assuring that Bolt and Mittens successfully achieve soulmate status.
    Rhino: Sometimes, though, we fully-evolved sorts decide it’d be fun to head back down to earth and serve as facilitators for those with especially challenging issues. I remember when you and Bolt made your weird pact, and I couldn’t resist volunteering. Keeping you two from straying too far away from the prize — well, let me tell you, I drew real pleasure from that. You remember the movie "It’s a Wonderful Life", don’t you? I was kinda like Clarence, the guardian angel for you two. Only I didn’t get wings or anything if I succeeded — just the satisfaction of knowing I helped two beings reach completion.

    H-K 
  • Hangover Sensitivity: In “The Wedding Reception,” Mittens wakes up with a killer hangover after a drinking bout, crawling under the covers to escape the light and noise. Inverted with Rhino, who is surprisingly immune to hangovers despite also imbibing, because of his fast metabolism.
  • Happily Ever After: Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino end up together in an ideal afterlife in “The Gift.”
  • Headbutt of Love: In "The Paris Trip," "The Rings," and "The Cameo," Mittens and Berlioz show affection by bumping heads as an alternative to kissing.
  • Healthy in Heaven: Those who enter Nirvana after their death in "The Gift" revert to a perfect physical state, which includes going back to what would be their ideal adult age. Bolt says he feels like a five-year-old pup again, while Mittens gets her claws back.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Played with in "The Clouds." Soapy abandons his life as an alcoholic bum when he meets his One True Love. He's always been a good guy regardless, just unmotivated to reform himself and clean up his act.
    • When Charlie, the title character in "The Coyote," is first portrayed, he's seen as a sneaky, lying, manipulative trickster who has been caught hanging around Bolt's yard, hoping to catch Mittens off guard and eat her. Bolt spares his life, lets him have a meal of leftovers from the garbage can, and sends him on his way. The coyote returns the favor when he encounters Bolt lying injured on the road after falling during a conditioning run, luring a nearby farmer to where the dog is located so he can be taken to the vet. Charlie explains his behavior to the dog.
      Charlie: Nah. I just kinda figured you might need a little help. Saw you lying there after you stumbled and fell. I knew that farmer would chase me out and happen onto you, hopefully would run you off to a clinic or something. Y’know, most members of my species woulda gone for your throat and made a fast meal of you when you’re down like that.
      Bolt: So — why didn’t you?
      Charlie: [chuckling] Funny thing. There was something you said back at your place that got to me. You remember, about appealing to my better nature and all that? Turns out I’ve actually got one. Who knew?
      Bolt: And you couldn’t bring yourself to kill me, am I right?
      Charlie: [asserting with a grin]' Not in a million years. You could’ve done away with me when we first met, but you didn’t. Instead, you took pity on me, helped me out when I needed it most. I’ve been thinking a lot about that ever since. Returning the favor was the least I could do.
  • Heel Realization: In “The Blood Brother,” Bolt finally realizes that he has been treating Mittens unfairly. He tearfully apologizes to the cat, who forgives him.
  • Heroic BSoD: Bolt stares in shock when he sees his former friend Duke dead in the road in "The Blood Brother." He is rendered unable to move or speak at the sight before eventually going off to vomit wrenchingly.
  • Hidden Depths: In "The Supermarket," it is revealed that Rhino has a talent for juggling. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Bolt.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: When Penny and Bolt repeatedly flub their lines during a filming session in “The Cameo,” Mindy Parker indicates that the footage will be used for an end-of-movie gag reel, saying “And the screw-ups? That’s blooper gold right there. Perfect for the end credits.”
  • Hilarity Ensues: Several examples of what would otherwise be unfortunate situations are Played for Laughs.
    • “The Car” finds humor in Penny's horrible first time out driving. She gets better after taking Drivers Ed classes.
    • “The Clouds” finds humor in Soapy's unsuccessful attempts to get himself arrested so he can spend the winter in a warm jail cell, involving Amusing Injuries and similar indignities.
    • A few stories in the series find humor in naughty pet behavior.
      • The three pets' destructive behavior in a grocery store (featuring breaking a store entrance door and much ruining of food) is Played for Laughs in “The Supermarket.”
      • In “The Ski Trip,” Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino ride up a chairlift without a ticket, snitch a pair of skis, erratically descend down a mountain trail while tearing up its freshly groomed surface, and engage in a snowball fight.
      • In “The Cakes,” the three pets engage in an all-out food fight, ruining the pastries Penny's mom had prepared for a bake sale.
      • In “The Autobiography,” Mittens wrecks Penny’s computer through a series of mishaps.
  • Hiss Before Fleeing: When the manager of Spender's Gifts tries to capture the lost Mittens and collect the reward for her return in "The Mall," the cat hisses at him as she frantically backpedals away. Luckily, she crashes into Bolt, who scares the man off.
  • Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis: Mittens experiences a midlife crisis in “The Kippies” when it finally hits her that she will never have kittens. Lampshaded by her, including references to the Mid Life Crisis Car and an Age-Gap Romance.
    Mittens: Sheesh — look at me, Bolt. Who’da thunk it? I'm a card-carrying midlife crisis cliché. If I were a bank CEO, I’d have bought myself a shiny new red sports car and dumped you for a studly tomcat half my age.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Mittens wrecks Penny’s computer through a series of mishaps in “The Autobiography.”
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Sixteen-year-old Penny's hormones kick in noticeably in “The Cameo.” Her first sexual experience proves disappointing and snaps her out of it.
  • How Do You Say: Berlioz uses this phrase in "The Paris Trip." His English is very good, though he's not sure of the right word for "grandfathered in."
    Berlioz: My human’s name is Jacques, and he's a jazz pianist. Plays in the house quintet at Chez Chaume Jazz Club. He's a sweetheart, too — really nice to me, treats me great. Only problem is, he's not allowed to have pets where he lives, so I have to stay at the jazz club. And I'm lucky to be there — they bent the rules to let me do so, kind of — how would you say it in English? — grandfathered me into the place.
  • Humanoid Aliens: The outer-space visitors in "The Spaceship" strongly resemble bipedal Funny Animal style canines. Given that they are based on dogs, they also count as examples of Intelligent Gerbils.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms:
    • In “The Cakes,” Mittens peevishly puts forth a blizzard of euphemisms for doing a bowel movement in Monty Python “Dead-parrot-sketch” fashion. Her litter box is located in the laundry room, and Bolt misunderstands her initial veiled explanations regarding why she was there. Once the dog finally figures things out, he supplies an unusual contribution of his own.
    • In “The Kippies,” Mittens offers several increasingly eccentric euphemisms to point out that Bolt cannot get her pregnant.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    • In "The Coyote," Bolt and Mittens engage in a music-based pun war, though Bolt is the more enthusiastic participant. Composer names, music terms, and musical instrument names are all included.
    • In "The Protection Payment," pigeons Vinny, Joey, and Bobby engage in a string of rear-end based puns when their friend Kelvin gets stuck in a dumpster with just his bottom showing.
  • Hurt/Comfort Fic:
    • In “The Blood Brother,” Bolt eventually realizes how callously he has been treating Mittens, following which he tearfully apologizes to the cat. Mittens forgives him.
    • In “The Kippies,” Mittens gradually comes to the realization that she will never have kittens, being greatly saddened by this. Bolt tries to comfort her with a spooning hug, telling her that he won't have offspring either and to be happy for the advantages she has. He eventually succeeds.
  • Hybrid Monster: Bolt and Mittens’s offspring are described as strange composite canine/feline beings in “The Kippies.” It turns out they’re a figment of the cat’s wish-fulfillment daydreams.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In “The Cameo,” Bolt vociferously expresses disgust at a porn fanfic featuring him and Penny, yet immediately after this tirade gleefully runs off to have interspecies sex with Mittens, his feline girlfriend.
  • I'm Going to Disney World!: Subverted by minor-league manager Jimmy Braun in “The Baseball Game” after winning the Single-A World Series when a reporter asks him if he's going to Disney World to commemorate the achievement. He says his salary only allows him to have a celebration meal at the local Mexican taqueria.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Applies to both the bride's tastelessly over-the-top Fairytale Wedding Dress and Penny's hideous bridesmaid's gown in "The Wedding Reception."
    Mittens: That dress. What was she thinking? It would've been more tasteful if she wore the wedding cake. It's got less flowers on it, and mercifully no Styrofoam birds. Though you’ve gotta admit, it’s better than Penny’s bridesmaid dress. She looks like a banana split, complete with sprinkles.
  • Incompatible Orientation: In "The Imaginary Letters," fellow male furry-con guest of honor Sassie propositions Bolt. The latter refuses, saying he's already in a relationship with Mittens, and besides, he doesn't "swing that way." Far from being upset, Sassie high-fives him, congratulating Bolt on having a sex life even more offbeat than his own.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: In “The Funkmeister,” Mittens claims to have imaginary medical conditions that prevent her from dancing with Rhino.
  • Innocent Bigot: Blaze calls his walleyed girlfriend Tracey "Ditzy-Doo" in "The Cameo." Played with in that he has apparently done this more than once, given Tracey's angry reaction.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: “The Wedding Reception” proves to be the catalyst for shipping Bolt and Mittens in a later fanfic. Made clear in “The Ship,” where this earlier story’s dance between the two characters is referenced as an establishing factor for Mittens’s growing attraction to Bolt.
  • Insufficiently Advanced Alien: Played with in "The Spaceship." The two outer space visitors Rhino meets are capable of space travel via flying saucer. However, they aren't very smart (Rhino is able to convince them that scarecrows are intelligent beings) and their equipment seems poorly maintained (their seats are patched with duct tape, their consoles have shorting lights, they buy translating collars on the cheap, and their shag-carpeted floors are worn and threadbare).
  • Insurance Fraud: In "The Murder Mystery," Bolt and his animal accomplices illicitly collect a double-indemnity life insurance payout after murdering The Director.
  • Intellectual Animal:
    • Bolt, Mittens, Rhino, and the various animal OCs all have a love of culture and the arts. While the three main characters enjoy a wide variety of media, Bolt prefers visual art, Mittens prefers music, and Rhino retains preference for anything that shows up on the television.
    • Taken to its most extreme level in "The Imaginary Letters." One of the TV star dogs Bolt meets at a TV-Con is Zaui, who is shown watching a question-and-answer TV quiz program (likely Jeopardy!), where he blurts out all the correct answers as the show airs. Ironically, the character Zaui plays on his TV show is that of a notably dumb pooch.
  • Intelligent Gerbil: The outer-space visitors in "The Spaceship" are clearly modeled after Funny Animal dogs. Given that they're bipedal and act like humans, they also qualify as Humanoid Aliens.
  • The Internet Is for Porn:
    • In “The Cameo,” Penny and her friend read and make fun of smut fanfiction featuring the former TV star and her dog.
    • In “The Autobiography,” Mittens inadvertently opens a porn website on Penny’s desktop computer. It immediately begins littering the screen with pop-ups and downloading a likely malicious file. Penny’s mom also may or may not be looking at porn on her personal laptop.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Usually played straight in these stories — particularly involving dogs and cats, who are almost always on friendly terms. Inverted in “The Blood Brother” with Duke, who has an extreme hatred of cats that turns murderous.
  • Interspecies Romance: The love relationship between Bolt (a dog) and Mittens (a cat) in later stories of the series, from “The Ship” onward, is an example of this trope. Its unusual nature is played straight in universe, often acknowledged as such.
  • Invention Pretension: In "The Spaceship," Rhino's dementia has him saying all kinds of outlandish things, including claims that he invented the telephone, the microscope, the Internet, and the steam engine, as well as assisting in the creaton of such things as radio, television, the electric lightbulb, the modern assembly line, and corn flakes.
  • It's Like I Always Say: Mittens humorously subverts the phrase in "The Funkmeister" regarding exercise procrastination.
    Mittens: Never put off tomorrow what you can put off today, like I always say sometimes.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: In “The Funkmeister,” Mittens says French cheese smells like feet.
  • Jealous Pet: Played with in "The Cakes," "The Walk," "The Cameo," and "The Ship." Bolt (and in one instance Mittens and Rhino) is portrayed as disapproving of Penny's love interests, but for good reason. The dog only wants his master to have the best, and Penny normally chooses unwisely. Moreover, Bolt goes no further than registering basic disapproval, usually via dirty looks and grumbling.
  • Jewish Complaining: Lampshaded by the snarky Mittens about herself in "The Coffee Shop" — she even uses the term "kvetch" to describe her mode of expression. Played with in that while Mittens comes from an urban New York background, she isn't presented as being Jewish.
    Mittens: Second of all, it’s "kvetch," not "kwetch." Remember me, the one from New York? Idioms like this are right in my wheelhouse. Besides, I know from kvetching — dog only knows, I do it enough.
  • Karma Houdini: In “The Seven” and “The Cameo,” the questionable actions (including dissolute sexual behavior and insensitive treatment of others) of Bolt’s father Blaze do not result in comeuppance. A notable exception in a series where Laser-Guided Karma is the norm.
  • Kindly Vet: In “The Coffee Shop,” Penny takes over her recently retired family veterinarian's practice, jokingly referring to herself as “Dr. Penny, Frontier Animal Medicine Woman.” Inverted by the uncle of one of Jack's construction job colleagues in "The Survivor," who is willing to perform any kind of animal surgery for the right price, including declaw Mittens.
  • Klaatu Barada Nikto: Rhino says this (among other phrases) in hopes that the aliens in "The Spaceship" can understand him.

    L-M 
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Has its own page.
  • Lethal Eatery: In “The Baseball Game,” more than half of the Prairie City Schooners baseball team is laid low with food poisoning the day of the final game of the Single-A World Series, thanks to dining at a sketchy barbecue joint the night before. Given that one of the menu items is called “Ptomaine Tasties,” they should have known better. When the team runs out of players, honorary mascot Bolt is pressed into playing duty.
  • Let's Duet: Near the end of "The Wedding Reception," Bolt and Rhino teasingly serenade Mittens, who is suffering from severe Hangover Sensitivity, in tandem with a humorous Song Parody of Richard Wagner's bridal chorus from Lohengrin.
  • Limited Social Circle: Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino form one on a consistent basis. Other examples in specific stories:
    • Young Bolt and his six puppy friends in “The Seven.”
    • Mittens, Petey, and Petey’s dog friends in “The Survivor.”
    • Pigeons Vinny, Joey, and Bobby (often joined by Kelvin the labradoodle) in “The Protection Payment.”
  • Liquid Courage: Mittens accidentally falls face first into a spiked punch bowl in “The Wedding Reception,” and drinks some of its contents. It lowers her inhibitions enough that she dances with Bolt.
  • Literal-Minded: Bolt is often seen as very literal-minded, which usually results in his Comically Missing the Point.
    • In “The Makeover,” he misunderstands what Mittens means when she refers to “doggy lipstick,” resulting in Bolt giving himself a hideously garish makeover. His thinking is that if Mittens enjoys doggy lipstick, she’ll like him even better if he’s wearing several other kinds of makeup as well.
    • In “The Wedding Reception,” he misconstrues a joke by Mittens regarding "Pachelbel's Canon" and steps all over the punch line. He thinks Mittens's parodied title, "Taco Bell Canon," was the work's title all along after her quip.
    • In “The Cameo,” he misunderstands Blaze’s The Empire Strikes Back I-am-your-father quote (wondering instead why he just called him Luke), as well as misconstruing his father’s description of his girlfriend as a “two-bagger” by thinking this means she plays baseball. Earlier, Bolt is thoroughly confused by the suggestive teasing from Penny and her friend in connection with a smut fic featuring him and his master.
    • In “The Gift,” he misconstrues Mittens’s question “How about sex?” as a come-on rather than an inquiry about whether beings in Nirvana have sex or not.
    • In “The Seven,” young Bolt misunderstands when one of his friends says that “even ‘Citizen Kane’ is no ‘Citizen Kane’.” His reaction is to ask “How can ‘Citizen Kane’ not be ‘Citizen Kane’ if that’s what it is?"
    • In "The Cakes," Bolt misconstrues Mittens's evasiveness regarding her having gone to use the litter box, taking her "making a cake" euphemism literally.
  • Lohengrin and Mendelssohn: In "The Wedding Reception," first Mittens and later Bolt and Rhino add humorous lyrics when singing the melody to Richard Wagner's bridal chorus from Lohengrin.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Bolt is unable to perform sexually in “The Wind” after eating uncooked bread dough, which releases copious amounts of alcohol into his stomach.
  • Lost in Translation: In “The Autobiography,” Bolt tries to memorialize his life story into a computer file using a speech program. It translates his attempts as barking sounds.
  • Lovable Jock: Nice guy Bolt goes on daily conditioning runs, is able to do full backflips, and remains in top shape well into old age. In "The Wedding Reception," Mittens refers to Bolt as "the closest thing I've ever seen to Bo Jackson in the dog world."
    • In "The Ski Trip," Bolt is able to downhill ski by standing on all fours on a pair of skis (with Mittens and Rhino in tow) despite never having attempted this before. His somewhat awkwardly executed success is attributed to "his crouched stance and decent sense of balance."
    • In "The Baseball Game," Bolt is pressed into playing duty while serving as honorary team mascot. He scores the winning run as a pinch runner for an injured player (demonstrating significant speed and leaping ability), and later clinches victory when he pulls off a triple play manning second base despite lacking a glove and the ability to throw a baseball properly (showing alertness and quick reflexes in addition to the qualities mentioned above).
  • Love Confession: Mittens nervously declares her love to Bolt in “The Ship.” They both mull the possibility over before deciding to take the plunge.
  • Love Triangle: A disagreement between Bolt and another male canine over a mutual love interest precipitates the climactic all-out dog fight in "The Wind." When his drug-addled ex Mary runs off to the city, Bolt follows, hoping to bring her back to the country and dry her out. He encounters her abusive current boyfriend Ike and the two battle to the death over her. The unappreciative Mary disappears with yet another dog, who can supply her with pills in exchange for sex.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Lampshaded by Blaze in "The Cameo" when he realizes that he's Bolt's father, even using the commonly misquoted version of the line. The younger dog not surprisingly misunderstands what his father means, asking Blaze why he just called him Luke.
  • Lying on a Hillside: A few instances occur, all variants of this trope.
    • Applies to Penny and Bolt after a lengthy jog in "The Walk," although they're lying in a fallow field instead of on a hillside.
    • Applies to Mittens and Berlioz, who lie in the grass in Luxembourg Gardens looking up at the stars after having sex in "The Paris Trip," although they're not likely on a hillside given that this park is flat.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: This trope pertains to Bolt and his six puppy mill friends in “The Seven.” Lampshaded in that they name themselves after the American movie version and discuss the merits of this film versus its Japanese predecessor.
  • Makeover Fail: In "The Cakes," Penny’s mom receives an ill-advised makeover that leaves her looking like Divine from Pink Flamingos.
  • Malaproper: Because of their malfunctioning translator collars bought at a bargain-basement store, the aliens in "The Spaceship" misspeak a lot when they talk to Rhino.
    Gidney: [peevishly] Budget cuts! Budget cuts! That’s all our Beerless Leader says to us anymore.
    Cloyd: [whispering] Not in front of the G-E-N-Y-U-S. We’ll make a terrible first compression on our guest of honor!
  • The Mall: Mittens is inadvertently abandoned in the title venue by Penny and her mom in “The Mall.” Other stories in the series reference Penny and her mother being away shopping at one.
  • Man Hug: Bolt and his father Blaze hug each other goodbye, complete with a few Manly Tears, at the end of "The Cameo."
  • Manipulative Bastard: Duke in “The Blood Brother” plays on Bolt’s dormant bigotry against cats, nearly turning him against Mittens. Bolt eventually realizes it, though, and terminates the friendship.
  • Manly Tears: Bolt and his father Blaze shed a few tears while giving each other a Man Hug goodbye at the end of "The Cameo."
  • Mascot. Bolt serves as an honorary mascot in “The Baseball Game.” He is later pressed into playing duty thanks to an arcane Single-A baseball rule when his team runs out of players.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": In "The Cakes," the three gunge-encrusted pets freeze with panic after Penny's angry mother discovers they have ruined her bake-sale pastries. They quickly make a beeline for the doggy door to try and escape.
  • The Matchmaker: In “The Coffee Shop,” Bolt introduces Penny to her future husband. The dog drinks a sufficient amount of the title beverage to make himself sick in an attempt to have his coffee shop human friend Joe rush him to Penny’s veterinary office and have the two of them meet. It works, and the pair are married a year later. Lampshaded by Bolt when he hums the song “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” from Fiddler on the Roof at the end of the story.
  • Maternal Death? Blame the Child!: Emily's father blames his daughter for his wife's Death by Childbirth, verbally and physically abusing her because of it.
  • Meet Cute: In “The Paris Trip,” Berlioz helps the hopelessly lost Mittens find Sainte-Chapelle after they engage in flirting banter. Afterwards, Berlioz becomes Mittens’s tour guide and then her vacation-fling lover.
  • Minimalist Cast: Bolt is the only character in “The Box,” trapped alone inside the title object.
  • Mirror Routine: Bolt's look-alike father mirrors his son's actions in “The Cameo” when they first meet. They even shout “Marx Brothers! Duck Soup!” to each other when they finish.
  • Mistook The Dominant Life Form: The two aliens in "The Spaceship" erroneously think Rhino is the epitome of wisdom on Earth; they have been watching him recently during the hamster's dementia episodes when he makes all kind of grandiose claims about his life accomplishments. They beam him aboard their Flying Saucer, intending to take him back to their home planet, but Rhino convinces them to take a scarecrow along instead.
  • Moby Schtick: In "The Rings," Mittens compares Bolt's intensely focused post-ceremony attempt to find the lost wedding rings to Captain Ahab's quest to find Moby Dick.
    Mittens: Hey, Captain Ahab! Let's head inside and have a munch. Then you can hightail it back out and harpoon the white whale. Those rings won't be going anywhere for a while yet. Don't worry so much.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Applies in part to Bolt’s mother and puppy mill resident Cheyenne in “The Seven,” given that she is twice Blaze’s age. Partly inverted however, given that Cheyenne only mates with him because she mistakenly thinks Blaze is a breeding stud, telling him he’s “not her type.”
  • MST: Happens in-universe in "The Cameo." Penny and her chem lab partner are described as mercilessly flaying a fictional piece of bad smut fanfic featuring the former TV star and her dog. They even reference Mystery Science Theater 3000 while doing so.
    Penny: [barely stifling a fit of giggles] Good evening. Welcome one and all to another episode of “Mystery Porn Theater 3000.”
  • The Münchausen: When dementia descends on him, Rhino boasts having accomplished all sorts of improbable deeds in "The Spaceship." These include winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, leading an army of elephants over the Alps to attack Rome, inventing the telephone and Internet, and being the trusted advisor to British Prime Ministers and U.S. presidents, among other things. It has unexpected consequences when two space aliens try to kidnap him, wanting him to head up their civilization's Brain Trust Committee.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Bolt eventually realizes how callously he has been treating Mittens in “The Blood Brother.” He tearfully apologizes and is forgiven.
  • My Instincts Are Showing: In “The Cameo” and “The Mall,” Bolt is depicted as unable to resist the urge to chase ducks.
  • Mystery Episode: “The Murder Mystery” is a whodunit spoof that finds humor in murder, Comedic Sociopathy, and Insurance Fraud.

    N-P 
  • Napoleon Delusion: In "The Spaceship," Rhino's dementia among other things has him imagining he is someone other than himself, most notably the Carthagenian general Hannibal. Subverted when Bolt tells Mittens that Napoleon is the only famous general he hasn't claimed to be lately.
  • National Anthem: Penny’s mom is the featured soloist for "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the start of “The Baseball Game.” It becomes a 14-minute long production number, complete with yodeling choir backup.
  • Nearly Normal Animal: All of the animal characters fit this description, belonging to the "Largely Normal Animal" subtype. They can talk to each other (but not to humans) and can perform a few human-like actions, but for the most part they act like their species normally would.
  • Noble Demon: Applies to Mittens in "The Blackbird." The cat spends the first part of the poem wanting very much to eat the title character if the chance presents itself. However, when the creature knocks itself out flying into a window, Mittens refuses to consider dining on the bird because it wouldn't be honorable to do so this easily.
    Mittens: I wanted you, blackbird, I did. But not like this.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Mittens hides E.T. style in a mall kiosk vendor's display of plushies to escape an angrily pursuing shop manager in “The Mall.”
  • No Name Given:
    • The puppies in “The Seven” do not get names until they are adopted, and we only learn the names of two of them in the story, Bolt and the collie puppy Prince.
    • The name of Penny’s science lab partner in “The Blood Brother,” “The Cameo,” and “The Cakes” is not revealed.
    • The five dogs who rescue Bolt after the dogfight scene in “The Wind” remain nameless.
    • Mittens's mother's name in "The Survivor" does not appear in the story.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • In "The Car," Mittens makes reference to, but does not further describe, some sort of unpleasant experience she had on a trampoline with Bolt a few months prior.
      Mittens: Haven’t been bounced about this much since I made the mistake of joining Bolt on that trampoline in the backyard a few months ago.
    • In "The Coyote," the title character Charlie implies he had a disastrous run-in with someone armed with a shotgun but does not describe the details. He mentions traveling alone and is missing the top of his right ear.
      Charlie: I’m well aware of what a shotgun can do, and I’m not keen to tempt the guy to use it. There’s a good reason why I’m traveling solo nowadays.
  • Not So Above It All: Mittens gives up her Comic Trio role of Only Sane Man a few times.
    • In “The Cakes,” Mittens initially tries to keep Bolt and Rhino from eating the title pastries until she is pushed into one of them and gets covered in frosting. She responds to Bolt’s continued angry insistence for cake by dropping one on his head, initiating an all-out food fight with the dog.
    • In "The Ski Trip," Mittens repeatedly tries and fails to stop Bolt and Rhino from hopping a chair lift, snitching a pair of skis, and slaloming down a mountain trail. When the three pets end up crashed into a snowbank, the cat starts a Snowball Fight out of exasperated anger.
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: Lampshaded teasingly by Mittens in “The Survivor” when she finds out that her friend Petey is gay. He recognizes that the cat is invoking a reference to the TV show Seinfeld and laughs heartily.
  • Obligatory Joke: In “The Kippies,” Bolt asks the obviously upset Mittens, “What's eating you, anyway?” She initially responds by saying, “I'm at the top of the food chain, Wags. Nothin's eating me, as far as I know. Well, maybe fleas — but Penny’s mom’s got a dip for that.”
  • O.C. Stand-in: Kelvin the labradoodle is a New York street stray mentioned briefly in the movie by his pigeon friends, but is not seen. He appears in “The Protection Payment” and “The Seer” in this series, characterized as a prognosticator with a highly-developed moral streak who vociferously disapproves of the way Mittens treats his avian pals. The cat mistakes him for a hot-headed Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • Odd Name Out: In “The Seven,” the three female dogs Blaze first encounters in the puppy mill are named Corabell, Dorabell, and Mae.
  • Official Couple: Bolt and Mittens, the main series characters, undeniably become a romantic couple starting with "The Ship." Foreshadowed in earlier stories, most notably "The Wedding Reception" and "The Funkmeister."
  • Off the Wagon: In "The Wind," Bolt's girlfriend Mary slides back into her former addictive behavior, becoming increasingly indiscriminate about the things she'll ingest to get high. She even runs away from her new farmhouse home to the city because her owners discover Mary's pilfering and lock up any possible offending substances.
  • Oh Crap, There Are Fanfics of Us!: In “The Autobiography” and “The Cameo,” Bolt and Penny are not happy to discover that there is fanfiction about them — especially given that the offending stories are smut stories featuring one or both characters.
  • Older Is Better:
    • Malcolm (Dr. Calico's actor) and Penny correspond with each other via letter in "The Wedding Reception." It's suggested this may because of the latter's discomfort with more contemporary means of communication such as email.
    • In "The Blood Brother" and "The Ship," Penny is presented as a devotee of contemporary fluff pop groups like *NSYNC, Hanson, and Britney Spears. Thanks to nudges from her biology lab partner and an ex-boyfriend, she is shown in "The Ship," "The Walk," "The Cameo," and "The Car" to have graduated to older but more substantial acts such as Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., The Modern Lovers, and The Replacements.
  • The Omniscient: In “The Seer,” Kelvin the Labradoodle can accurately predict the future and foresees Mittens’s karmic meeting with Bolt in the film.
  • One-Night-Stand Pregnancy: In "The Survivor," Jack and Emily hastily get married because of the latter's unexpected pregnancy, occurring shortly after they begin dating.
  • One Season Athlete: Bolt becomes an Unlikely Hero in "The Baseball Game" when he is pressed into playing duty by the Single-A Prairie City Schooners while serving as honorary team mascot. He scores the winning run as a pinch runner for an injured player, and later clinches victory when he pulls off a triple play manning second base despite lacking a glove and the ability to throw a baseball properly. It's his only appearance in professional baseball.
  • One True Love: Bolt and Mittens become the Official Couple of this series in “The Ship” and their soulmate status is overtly confirmed in “The Rings” and “The Gift.”
  • Only Sane Man: Mittens (relative to Bolt and Rhino) serves as the straight man when they function as a typical Comic Trio. In most cases, she grows sufficiently angry and becomes Not So Above It All, participating equally in the dog and hamster's bad behavior.
    • In “The Cakes,” Mittens initially tries to keep Bolt and Rhino from eating the title pastries until she is pushed into one of them and gets covered in frosting. She responds to Bolt’s continued angry insistence for cake by dropping one on his head, initiating an all-out food fight with the dog.
    • In "The Ski Trip," Mittens repeatedly tries and fails to stop Bolt and Rhino from hopping a chair lift, snitching a pair of skis, and slaloming down a mountain trail. When the three pets end up crashed into a snowbank, the cat starts a Snowball Fight out of exasperated anger.
  • Oral Fixation: In "The Walk," Penny plucks a stalk of grass and puts it in her mouth, chewing thoughtfully.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: In “The Seven,” Young Bolt and his six friends lose their mothers when the owner abandons the puppy mill they call home. They’re lucky to survive the harrowing ordeal, as most of the other dogs die on site or immediately afterwards.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: Having recently seen the Disney film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Rhino mistakenly thinks the Chartres Cathedral gargoyles can talk, in “The Paris Trip.” He’s actually hearing an unseen theater troupe of pigeons further up in rehearsal.
  • Our Slogan Is Terrible: Played with in “The Coffee Shop.” Penny’s mom jokingly refers to a pair of coffee shop franchises with slogans that are clearly not official in-universe.
    She much preferred [Queequeg's] to their chief rivals, Dippy Donuts ("Their motto should be ‘Our coffee’s stronger than a brown crayon dipped in hot water — but not much stronger’," she liked to joke) and Joe Orton’s (a brew she thought best suited to the Jolt Cola crowd, or as she would quip, "Hammer down a cup of Joe’s").
  • Paper Master: While scolding Bolt for his bad behavior in "The Coffee Shop," Penny threatens to spank the dog with a rolled-up newspaper if he continues to misbehave. It's an empty threat, as it's stated that she has never hit Bolt — but it has kept him in line in the past.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Happens a few times in these stories, in all cases expressed using the phrase “TMI.”
    • In “The Autobiography,” Penny is disgusted by the possibility that her mother may be looking at porn on her laptop.
    • In “The Cameo,” Bolt is embarrassed by his father’s dissolute sex life.
  • Parlor Games:
    • In “The Paris Trip,” Mittens flirtatiously has Berlioz guess her name via an impromptu game of charades.
    • In “The Ski Trip,” Rhino alerts Bolt and Mittens to what appear to be an abandoned pair of skis using the phrase “I spy.” It turns out they weren't abandoned at all, just set aside by a skier adjusting her boots and clothing.
      "Hey, look!" said the hamster with glee. "I spy with my little eye — something that’ll get us back down in a hurry." Rhino pointed excitedly at a pair of skis that looked like they had been abandoned by their owner. The three pets wandered over and considered their options.
  • Parody Names: Real brand names are almost never utilized in this series.
    • Used for the stores in “The Mall”: Office Despot, Spender’s Gifts, Moronica’s Secret, Gloomingdales, etc. as well as the social media website Farcebook.
    • Used for the social media websites in “The Car”: Bumblr, Dreddit, Twiddler.
    • Used for the franchises referenced in “The Coffee Shop”: Queequeg’s, Dippy Donuts, and Joe Orton’s.
    • Used for the franchise referenced in “The Protection Payment”: Krusty Kreme.
  • Percussive Prevention: Emily hits her husband Jack over the head with an aluminum pan to stop him from killing Mittens in “The Survivor.”
  • Pet Dress-Up: In “The Baseball Game,” Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino are dressed in baseball jerseys and caps as part of being in-game guests of honor. The usual mollified pet reaction is averted in that none of the characters mind wearing the outfits – Bolt admires himself in front of the mirror, and Mittens finds the dog sexy in his uniform.
  • The Pig-Pen: Applies to Bolt as well as other dogs at times. Justified, as real dogs enjoy being dirty.
    • In “The Blood Brother,” Bolt and his friend Duke like rolling in mud puddles.
    • In “The Imaginary Letters,” Bolt refers to being dirty as a typical state for canines: “Dogs and getting dirty just kind of seem to go together, and me with all my white fur, it’s a given.”
    • In “The Protection Payment,” Kelvin the labradoodle is first seen rolling in a ripped-open bag of trash.
  • Playing Sick: Mittens claims to be ill (saying she has "Tom Jones Tremens" or "Snu") as an excuse to avoid dancing with Rhino in "The Funkmeister."
  • Plot Allergy: Unlike Mittens’s owner Jack, his neighbor Darnell likes the cat, but cannot provide an alternative home for her because he has cat allergies in “The Survivor.”
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: In “The Mall,” Bolt’s normally keen sense of smell is fully compromised because of a bad head cold. He is thus of minimal use in helping to find the lost Mittens.
  • Police Are Useless: During Soapy's attempts to get himself arrested in "The Clouds," the two policemen who encounter him on the street pretty much ignore or disparage him. In one instance, they applaud and shout encouragement when a woman whose groceries Soapy tries to steal repeatedly whacks him over the head with her umbrella, driving him off. When Soapy tries to break a shop window and fails, they inform him that they've been replaced with unbreakable glass and refuse to arrest him because they've "got better things to do than play pinch the pinhead" with him, giving him a shove and telling him to "get lost and find a nice freeway to go play in." Later, when the woman Soapy tries to proposition angrily drags the man off to the police station, she is told they're short staffed and she'll have to wait; it seems the police are annoyed that she has dragged in yet another homeless person she wants brought up on minor charges.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The evil behavior of cocker spaniel Duke and his master Frank in "The Blood Brother" is motivated by bigotry.
  • Politicians Kiss Babies: Played with in "The Baseball Game." Bolt isn't sure what he should do in his honorary Mascot role. He decides to emulate the behavior of local politicians in the recent election by doling out sloppy-lick kisses to babies and old ladies, giving paw shakes to the men and boys, and similar actions. Several people say he has more charisma than the two gubernatorial candidates and make comments to that effect.
  • Poor Man's Porn: Canines seemingly consider the magazine Dog Fancy to be suitably titillating. Referenced in “The Cameo” and “The Seven.”
  • The Power of Friendship: An important recurring theme in these stories, with several examples.
    • In "The Seven," Bolt and his six puppy friends work as a team to survive their abandonment in a puppy mill and get adopted to loving homes.
    • In "The Survivor," Mittens's friendship with Petey and his circle of pals allows her to survive many of the worst excesses of her abusive owners.
    • Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino cement their friendship in the post-canon stories of this series, beginning with "The Blood Brother." It enhances their quality of life immensely and leads to Bolt and Mittens becoming a successful romantic couple.
    • Bolt and Penny's continuation of their close master-and-dog bond in post-canon (shown most clearly in "The Walk," "The Imaginary Letters," and "The Car") contributes directly to their happiness. It allows Penny to cope with school and life challenges, helps them enjoy a long book signing tour, and results in Bolt finding the girl's soulmate.
  • The Power of Love: Beginning with the "The Ship," Bolt and Mittens develop a romantic relationship which continues through all following chronological stories. In the final story, "The Gift," it is revealed that they are soulmates and their ability to become a couple helped them learn their last two main life lessons (tolerance and unconditional love respectively), allowing them to become complete souls and reside permanently in Nirvana's afterlife.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: In "The Protection Payment" and "The Seer," Kelvin the Labradoodle is able to predict the future, and from what the stories suggest, he's always right. He correctly prophesizes Mittens's imminent karmic meeting with Bolt, among other things.
    Kelvin: It’s a gift. I get these nagging sensations in my gut and my bones, and I see apparitions from the future. Among other things, I predicted Pluto would be demoted to a dwarf planet, Kosovo would declare its independence from Serbia, and Carrie Underwood would win ‘American Idol.’ Haven't missed with a single prophesy yet.
  • Protection Racket: Labradoodle Kelvin and pigeons Vinny, Joey, and Bobby spend most of "The Protection Payment" trying to scrape up food offerings for Mittens's Mafia don style shakedown.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: While these stories frequently mention non-public-domain song titles, several examples (usually classical music) of this are referenced, including the lyrics to the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts."
  • Purple Prose: Applies in-universe to the smut fanfic referenced in “The Cameo,” described as “featuring some of the most overripe prose since Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s heyday.” The few oblique references made to the writing fully support this.

    Q-S 
  • Quest to the West: In "The Coyote," Bolt strongly recommends that the trickster title character head off to the west, where he'll find better surroundings such as a wildlife preserve, national forests, and a national park. Charlie the Coyote decides to do so.
  • Raging Stiffie: In “The Cameo,” Blaze mentions an instance where Bolt gets an erection onscreen, occurring when the latter is pretending to read an issue of Dog Fancy magazine while shadowing a villain.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!":
    • Bolt invokes this trope in “The Rings” when he realizes he has lost the titular objects.
      “No no no no no!” stammered the pooch. “They've got to be here someplace!”
    • Mittens puts forth one of these when she realizes Penny and her mom have accidentally abandoned her at the title venue in “The Mall.”
      “No — no no no — oh please, please, no!” wailed Mittens in dismay. “Not again! For the love of dog, not again!”
    • Vinny the pigeon rapidly repeats a series of “nos” in “The Protection Payment” to keep Mittens from becoming angry.
      Vinny: No no no no no — don’t listen ta Bobby Boombots over here, Mittens!
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder: In “The Murder Mystery,” the story is revealed to be Penny’s jalapeno and pepperoni pizza-fueled nightmare. The dream is far more cohesive than real-life examples, though some surreal touches occur, such as Penny’s classic private eye props containing unusual properties (the calabash pipe she “smokes” emits soap bubbles, and her deerstalker-style hat sports antlers).
  • Really Gets Around:
    • Corabell, Dorabell, Mae, and Cheyenne in “The Seven” have clearly had a lot of sex in their day. Justified in that they are residents of a puppy mill, and their primary life purpose is to produce offspring.
    • Applies to Bolt’s promiscuous love interest Mary in “The Wind,” who among other things seduces four of the dogs who later rescue Bolt. Lampshaded by their female friend.
  • Regional Speciality: Penny and Bolt encounter several regional culinary delights during their trip in “The Imaginary Letters,” including Cincinnati chili, Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwiches, Memphis BBQ, and pizza from Chicago and New York.
  • Reincarnation: Implied in "The Gift" for those who have died but not evolved enough to enter Nirvana. They are sent back to earth via down escalators to a new life existence in order to learn further lessons.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Bolt and Mittens go from friends to lovers in “The Ship.”
  • Resentful Guardian:
  • Right Through the Wall: In "The Spaceship," Bolt expresses concern that his tryst with Mittens may have been overheard.
    Bolt: [anxiously] Y’know, we were pretty noisy just now. Think anybody heard us?
  • Romantic Candlelit Dinner: Played with in “The Cameo” when the restaurant dishwasher brings out a plate of returned steak frites for Bolt and Blaze to share, and indirectly referenced by him when the man makes an allusion to Lady and the Tramp.
  • Rousing Speech: Rhino gives a spirited pep talk to Mittens in “The Ship” to get the waffling cat to definitively admit her love for Bolt. It's reminiscent of a similar speech the hamster gives to Bolt in the film, urging him to put aside his indecisiveness and rescue Mittens from an animal shelter where she is incarcerated.
  • Rule 34: In universe for the porn fanfiction featuring Penny and Bolt in “The Cameo” and “The Autobiography,” and for Penny, Bolt, and several of their fellow TV show characters in “The Paris Trip.” Lampshaded in the first of these stories.
  • Running into the Window: A non-comedic example occurs in "The Blackbird" when the title creature flies into a window and knocks itself cold.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: In "The Spaceship," Rhino has bouts of advanced-age cognitive impairment, at times suffering from paranoia, anger, and delusions.
  • Screaming at Squick: In “The Cameo,” Bolt pointedly expresses revulsion after reading a porn fanfic he appears in.
    “Yuck!” the shepherd exclaimed, sticking his tongue out in distaste. “Me? Having sex with my human? That’s just gross! What kind of sick, disgusting, loathsome little degenerate do they think I am? Who comes up with this stuff, anyway? I’ve got a good mind to… to… ”
  • Second Love: Mittens becomes Bolt's second love interest in this series, beginning with "The Ship." The dog's first romantic relationship, with a promiscuous and drug-addicted beagle in "The Wind," was an utter disaster.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Occurs in the climactic dog fight scene between Bolt and Ike in "The Wind." Bolt, who is beginning to get the worst of the battle, uses a spin move to get out of the way of his antagonist Ike, who charges towards him with head lowered. The latter doesn't realize Bolt has evaded him and crashes full force into a brick wall, breaking his neck with a loud snap.
  • Self-Induced Allergic Reaction: In “The Coffee Shop,” Bolt drinks a sufficient amount of the title beverage to make himself sick in an attempt to have his coffee shop human friend Joe rush him to Penny’s veterinary office and have the two of them meet. It works, and the pair are married a year later.
  • Series Fic: While all these stories are one-shots, they interlock chronologically and maintain continuity.
  • Shiny-Looking Spaceships: The Flying Saucer Rhino encounters in "The Spaceship" fits the trope, on the outside if not inside.
    Hovering about sixty feet above the ample side yard was a large flying saucer. It gleamed with an eerie silver glow, studded with twinkling azure lights and emitting a quiet thrumming noise.
  • Ship Tease: Occurs between Bolt and Mittens during “The Ship.” They spend almost the entire story deciding whether they want to begin a relationship with each other before finally taking the plunge — perhaps not surprising given that they are different species.
  • Shoot the Television: Bolt and Penny tour Graceland in "The Imaginary Letters" while in Memphis. The dog describes their visit, making reference to Elvis's penchant for shooting out TV sets while doing so.
    Bolt: Elvis sure had funny ideas about classiness, too — like the "Jungle Room," all festooned in shag carpet, or another room loaded with installed televisions. He was known to shoot his TV sets sometimes when he got angry, so I guess it made sense to have a bunch on hand.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • The Show Goes Hollywood: In “The Cameo,” Penny and Bolt return to Los Angeles to film a brief Continuity Cameo role in the movie version of their old TV show, which becomes a blooperfest. Along the way, the pair does extensive sightseeing in the city, Bolt is reunited with his father, and the 16-year-old girl has her first sexual experience with a teen heartthrob she has long had a crush on (this last turns out to be a bad one-night-stand experience for her).
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Several behaviors performed by Bolt, Mittens, and the other animals are species appropriate, including their avoidance of toxic human foods and their ability to see color in an accurate way.
    • "The Baseball Game" has an in-universe example. In preparation for his stint as honorary bench coach, Rhino is shown intently poring over a copy of the Single-A baseball rulebook. This comes to fruition during the game when the hamster points out an obscure rule to manager Jimmy Braun allowing him to use honorary Mascot Bolt as a substitute player. The dog scores the winning run as a pinch runner and seals victory when he pulls off a triple play while manning second base.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": In "The Wind," the dog fight between Bolt and Ike ends when the latter charges at Bolt trying to end the struggle. The shepherd executes a spin move while on his back, and Ike (not realizing Bolt has eluded his path) crashes headfirst into a brick wall, breaking his neck with a loud snap.
    Luckily, the shepherd cleared his head at the last minute. Vaguely remembering what he had done when begging for food scraps with Mittens on their cross-country trip, he spun quickly onto his back just out of the way of the attacking retriever. Ike never looked up to realize Bolt had rolled out of reach and crashed headfirst into the brick wall. A sickening crack reverberated through the alley as Ike dropped on his stomach like a sack of cannonballs, landing face first into a pothole filled with murky water. He didn't move after that.
  • Sign of the Apocalypse: When Mittens finds Rhino sitting in front of the TV watching the opera Porgy and Bess in "The Wind," she uses this phrase to register her extreme surprise at the sight.
    Mittens: You're watching opera, rodent? Wow, isn't that one of the seven signs of the apocalypse?
  • Single Tear:
    • In “The Rings,” a single tear rolls down Mittens's cheek when Bolt asks if she will accept him as her soulmate.
    • In “The Ship,” a single tear rolls down Mittens's cheek after definitively declaring her love for Bolt.
  • Ski-Resort Episode: In “The Ski Trip,” Penny, her mom, and the three pets vacation at the title venue. Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino, however, engage in naughty pet behavior by riding up a chairlift without a ticket, snitching a pair of skis, erratically descending down a mountain trail while tearing up its freshly groomed surface, and engaging in a snowball fight. As punishment, they are banished to the hotel room for the last two days of the trip, but luckily find comedy movie marathons featuring the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges on television to help pass the time.
  • Slapstick: Exaggerated physical comedy conspicuously occurs in a few stories.
    • In “The Ski Trip,” Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino ride up a chairlift without a ticket, snitch a pair of skis, erratically descend down a mountain trail while tearing up its freshly groomed surface, and engage in a snowball fight.
    • In “The Cakes,” the three pets engage in an all-out food fight, ruining the pastries Penny's mom had prepared for a bake sale.
    • “The Supermarket” sees the three pets make a mess of the title venue. Bolt and Rhino break eggs and olive jars while juggling; Mittens pushes pumpkins off a shelf to ward off an intruder, knocks over a stacked can display, and scatters apples off a bin she jumps onto; the three pets cause tables offering free food samples to overturn; and Bolt makes a run for the exit door while pushing a cart into assorted food displays and smashing into the front glass door.
  • Small, Secluded World: In “The Box,” the entire story is set inside the title container in which Bolt is first trapped and then shipped to New York.
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: Sixteen-year-old Penny falls for a teen heartthrob actor in “The Cameo.” It turns out to be a bad one-night-stand experience for her.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Applies to Mittens in "The Survivor," a female cat who is friends with Petey and his circle of four male canine pals.
  • The Snack Is More Interesting: In "The Car," Penny and Bolt are sitting together on the patio area at Dinny's Diner, the girl enjoying coffee and both munching on apple pie. Penny talks to the dog about various subjects, but Bolt is far too focused on his plate of pastry to pay any attention to her.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Mittens and Rhino trade wisecracking zingers in “The Funkmeister.” They’re friends, so it’s all in good fun.
    Mittens: All well and good for you, at least, except that you’ve got an audience of one over here that can’t unsee your transgressions against terpsichorean excellence.
    Rhino: [waving his paw dismissively] Yeah, yeah — put the snark thesaurus away and make with the music already.
  • Sneeze of Doom: Bolt issues a few explosive and splattery sneezes in these stories.
    • In "The Mall," the dog has a bad cold and frequently sprays his friends as a result.
      • Rhino complains that the dog is getting mucus all over the floor, and that he's happy to be in a plastic ball at this point.
        Bolt: [sneering peevishly] Very fuddy! Veeeery fuddy! Dod’t bake fud of be, or I’ll… I’ll… ahh-ahh-ahh-CHOO!... I’ll sdeeze all over you! That’ll show you!
        Rhino: [chuckling] Lotsa luck with that, pal. I've never been happier to be rolling around in a plastic ball than I am right now.
      • Mittens gets covered in flying dog snot a couple times which elicits copious snark from the cat.
        Bolt: [shouting joyfully] Bittens! Bittens! I… I… ahh-ahh-ahh-CHOO!... I bissed you, Bittens! I bissed you!
        Mittens: [laughing while cleaning off her face] Actually, you didn’t. But I’m happy you’re here just the same.
        Bolt: I’b so glad I… glad I… ahh-ahh-ahh-CHOO!... glad I foud you! Thang dog you’re here! We were so… so… ahh-ahh-ahh-CHOO!... so worried aboud you!
        Mittens: [thinking] Sheesh! When did the weather forecast change from partly cloudy to scattered showers? Somebody really needs to get Mr. Sneezy-face an antihistamine or something.
    • In "The Imaginary Letters," a fellow bleacher-seat fan at a Cubs baseball game keeps trying to get Bolt to drink some of his beer from a cup. The fumes make the dog sneeze explosively into the glass, calling a halt to the man's attempts to interest the pooch in his beer.
  • Snowball Fight: Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino engage in a big snowball fight in "The Ski Trip." It's the last in a series of transgressions for the three pets, not least because Bolt manages to hit a ski resort security guard in the face with a snowball. They're confined to Penny's hotel room for the rest of the trip as punishment.
  • The Sociopath: Duke from “The Blood Brother” is a hot-headed, manipulative bigot who turns murderous and tries to include Bolt in his scheme.
  • Song Parody: In "The Wedding Reception," first Mittens and later Bolt and Rhino add humorous lyrics when singing the melody to Richard Wagner's bridal chorus from Lohengrin.
  • So Proud of You: Blaze tells his son he is proud of him just before they bid farewell to each other in "The Cameo." Their short visit has its share of disagreements, but the older dog clearly holds Bolt in high regard.
    Blaze: One more thing before I take off, son — just know I love you, and that I’m really, really proud of you.
  • Species Surname: Occurs overtly a few times, with the suggestion that this type of last name is a common circumstance for pets. With dogs, the last name is their breed rather than their species.
    • In “The Rings,” Mittens’s full name is revealed to be “Mittens the Cat.”
    • In “The Seer,” Kelvin says his full name is “Kelvin Cayce Nostradamus the Labradoodle.”
  • Standalone Episode: Every entry in the series qualifies as a standalone story, as they can be read singly without the context of other episodes, or together as a cohesive entity.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers:
    • Applies to Mittens and Berlioz in “The Paris Trip.” The two cats hit it off well, culminating in their having sex the night before Mittens is to return home. Mittens cannot remain behind, however, because she would have no place to live in Paris; Berlioz cannot stay with his owner because the building where he lives does not allow cats, and he unofficially resides at the jazz club where his owner performs (and only because he's grandfathered in). They emotionally bid farewell to each other just before Mittens leaves for the United States.
    • Describes Bolt and Mary in “The Wind.” Their relationship starts off promisingly, but soon goes sour when Mary proves unable to shake her substance abuse addictions. She eventually runs off to the city, and Bolt's attempt to rescue her proves unsuccessful.
  • Starting a New Life: After Darnell and Petey are attacked and injured by Jack in “The Survivor,” they decide to move from Brooklyn to Minneapolis, where they enjoy a far better existence.
  • Stink Snub:
    • Played with in “The Ski Trip” when Bolt’s attempt to discuss his experience rolling in a dead mouse is resoundingly rebuffed by Mittens and Rhino.
    • Inverted twice in “The Seven.” The collie puppy’s prominent dead squirrel odor is noted by his friends, all of whom want to know where he found the source. Also, when the Jack Russell terrier puppy mentions that it’s easy to get “all stunk up” at the puppy mill, one of the German shepherd youngsters expresses his approval. Justified in that canines enjoy strong odors.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: In "The Seven" and "The Cameo," Bolt and his father Blaze are described as looking exactly alike.
  • Stylistic Suck: Applies in-universe to the porn fanfic referenced in “The Cameo,” described as “featuring some of the most overripe prose since Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s heyday.” The few oblique references made to the writing fully support this. Also frequently implied in-universe with regards to Bolt’s former TV show, and treated as a Running Gag; an example from “The Imaginary Letters:”
    Bolt: You know how I feel about "Bolt" — glad I did it, but a little embarrassed at how earnest I was on such a silly program. Rhino was a great guy, but wow — his devotion to my show was puzzling, gotta say.
  • Suddenly Bilingual: In “The Autobiography,” Bolt attempts to talk his life story into a computer file using a speech program. It all comes out as a series of barks and woofs, except for one interpolated “meow.” Mittens asks if he has been taking foreign language lessons.
  • Sweet Tooth: Bolt is shown to have a liking for apple pie in "The Car," and his hankering for the title pastry precipitates a massive food fight in "The Cakes." He also heads off to the bakery section during "The Supermarket" to snitch free sample pastries.

    T-Z 
  • Take That!:
    • Several works of art and culture are mentioned in “The Seven” as examples of guilty pleasures, or as the story describes it, “artistic statements that fall short in some abstract sense of ‘taste’ or ‘quality,’ yet are still worth experiencing anyway. Though perhaps we don't readily admit to it.” Examples include the musical work Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 by George Enescu, the poem "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer, the painting Washington Crossing The Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, the TV show Gilligan's Island, the films The Magnificent Seven (1960) and Ghostbusters, and the novel On the Road by Jack Kerouac.
    • In “The Walk,” Penny is portrayed as disliking a song by Miley Cyrus — which is ironic given that Cyrus is Penny's voice actor in the movie.
      Penny: So what am I supposed to do, pretend Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” is the greatest song ever just ‘cause Jenny the majorette thinks so? Sorry, but that’s not my style.
    • Baseball talk shows are lampooned in “The Baseball Game.”
      Rhino: Oh, just wanted to make sure. Baseball games on TV — real or not?
      Bolt: [reassuringly] No, no — those are real. When it comes to sports, it's just WWF wrestling that's fake.
      Rhino: [earnestly] Hmmmm — and baseball talk shows?
      Mittens: [laughing] Jury's still out on that one, Rhino. I’d guess there's a cocktail weenie of truth wrapped in a great big bun of show-biz malarkey there.
    • The fanfiction Penny and her friend make fun of in “The Cameo” lampoons real-life Bolt and Penny smut stories on the Internet.
    • In “The Paris Trip,” Rhino sees a listing for TV-Con presentations related to Bolt’s TV show. Many are porn fanfic readings (including a “four-part trilogy” of Bolt/Penny smut), with the rest being paper presentations featuring absurd comparisons between the TV show and scholarly topics such as “‘Bolt’ and the Berlin Wall: the ideal metaphor” and “Freudian imagery in ‘Bolt’: sometimes a helicopter is just a helicopter.” The hamster decides he isn’t interested.
    • In “The Car,” Penny says that her unsatisfying English class experience was probably dumbed down for the Jurassic Park film series crowd.
    • In “The Clouds,” Mittens speaks disparagingly of the film Meet the Robinsons, saying her jaunt to New York City's Chelsea neighborhood to dumpster dive was the biggest waste of time since she snuck into a theater to watch this movie.
  • Talk to the Hand: When Mittens flirtatiously has Berlioz guess her name via an impromptu game of charades in "The Paris Trip," his first answer is "Talk To The Hand." The snarky Mittens teasingly replies, "Appropriate maybe, but no. Try again."
  • Tears of Remorse: When Bolt finally realizes that he has wrongly mistreated Mittens because of his re-awakened latent prejudice against cats in "The Blood Brother," he tearfully apologizes to her. Mittens forgives him.
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    • In “The Paris Trip,” Mittens has sex with Berlioz the night before she leaves for home. During the airport cab ride the next morning, Bolt asks a clearly sad Mittens “What’s gotten into you anyway?” She breaks into a mischievous smile, thinking that sometimes the best jokes are unintentional.
    • In “The Coyote,” Bolt inadvertently lets slip to Charlie the Coyote that he and Mittens (who the coyote is hoping to catch and eat) are sexual partners.
      Charlie: [with a knowing look] Ohhh, now I see. You’re fattening her up, saving the choice kitty bits all for yourself.
      Bolt: [blustering] Will you puh-leeze drop the subject already? I guarantee you, nobody’s gonna taste her choice kitty bits but me. Mittens is MINE, darn it! MINE!
      Charlie: [blinking incredulously] Um, hang on a sec. Are we even talking about the same thing anymore? You’re actually saying you have feelings for… a cat?
      Bolt: [eyes widening as he shifts uncomfortably] That’s enough! You’re getting me all discombobulated — I can’t even think straight! Look, none of this matters, okay? You just get your shabby carcass outta here and leave my cat alone!
  • Their First Time:
    • In “The Cameo,” 16-year-old Penny's first sexual experience proves to be an unpleasant one-night-stand.
    • While it's implied that Bolt's first sexual experience in “The Wind” is enjoyable, his subsequent relationship with Mary goes sour fairly quickly.
  • Thinking Out Loud: In these stories, Bolt talks to himself when alone rather than thinking.
  • This Is Not My Life to Take: In "The Seer," Kelvin refuses to harm Mittens as payback for her bullying mistreatment of his pigeon friends, saying it's not his place to do so — that Bolt will be the one to dole out karmic justice for her misdeeds. It is implied that this in fact happens the following day when Bolt and Mittens first meet.
  • This Means War!: Lampshaded in so many words by Bolt in “The Cakes” after Mittens drops one of the title pastries on his head.
    Bolt: [growling] Of course, you realize that this outrage will not go unavenged!
  • Those Wily Coyotes: The title character in "The Coyote" is shown to have trickster qualities, engaging in distraction and lying to try and get Bolt to leave him alone. Bolt even references this when he says "Don’t you dare try to distract me, got it? You guys all come complete with a loaded bag of tricks. Everybody knows that!" There are further allusions to the Trope Codifier Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner in some of the dialogue.
    Bolt: [asking if Charlie eats them or not] How about roadrunners?
    Charlie: [frowning] Seriously? That’s bottom-of-the-barrel stuff. One of my uncles ate one once when he was desperate — said it was too gamy, nothing resembling the acme of food experiences. Told me it took forever to catch the darned thing, too.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: The trope applies to Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino in all the stories where they appear together. Once Bolt and Mittens make up after "The Blood Brother," the three pets remain inseparable friends, and in Bolt and Mittens's case, lovers.
  • Three Stooges Shout-Out:
    • Played with regarding Corabell, Dorabell, and Mae in “The Seven.” The first two examples play the trope straight, being names of the Stooges’ wives in Dizzy Doctors and The Sitter Downers. Subverted in that the third dog’s name is Mae instead of Florabell.
    • Invoked in “The Baseball Game” for the outfielders' names.
      The heart of the Schooners batting order was its outfield. Consisting of Larry Kuselias, Moe Petrie, and Sam “Shemp” Guranovich, the hard-hitting trio had been dubbed "The Stooges" by the enthusiastic fanbase.
    • Mittens disparagingly compares the pigeons Vinny, Joey, and Bobby to the trio in “The Protection Payment.”
      Mittens: Those knuckleheads make the Three Stooges look like quiz kids, but at least they always manage to come through with the goods.
  • Through His Stomach: Penny takes Bolt with her to Dinny's Diner for apple pie as a treat in "The Car," lampshading the trope in the process:
    Penny: [giggling] You’re like every other guy I know — your pathway to happiness runs directly by way of your tum-tum!
  • Timmy in a Well: Invoked by Bolt in "The Imaginary Letters" regarding the Lassie TV show.
    Bolt: You remember Lassie, the famous collie who had that show where her human boy was always falling down a well and had to be rescued?
  • Toilet-Drinking Dog Gag: In “The Survivor,” Mittens catches her dog friend Petey drinking from the toilet.
  • Toilet Humor: Occurs several times in these stories, often at Mittens’s expense.
    • In “The Baseball Game,” Mittens eats a greasy plate of chili cheese fries just before the game’s start. The food works its way through her digestive tract quickly, causing the cat to have a bowel movement at an inopportune time.
    • In “The Cakes,” Mittens puts forth a Hurricane of Euphemisms for producing a bowel movement in Monty Python “Dead-parrot-sketch” fashion. Bolt is slow to catch on and offers up an especially unusual contribution of his own.
    • In “The Mall,” Mittens debates offering up a bowel movement to a group of teenage boys as an alternative to the fake poop they consider buying. Later, Bolt is seen in a Facebook picture relieving himself.
    • In “The Survivor,” Mittens catches her dog friend Petey drinking from the toilet.
    • One of Bolt’s puppy friends finds this to be particularly funny in “The Seven.”
    • Bolt twice achieves Gasshole status in “The Imaginary Letters,” once after drinking soda (belching) and once after eating chili with beans. He is not amused about this, though Penny apparently finds the first instance funny. He also makes a joke about ordering a Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwich “wit” whiz, saying “Not that kind of whiz! Cheese whiz! I could have provided the other kind myself on any old fire hydrant.”
    • In “The Protection Payment,” Joey the pigeon treats his pooping on statues as art.
      Joey: Hey! I ain’t some random seagull who fancies himself an artiste just because he tags everything. I’m a modern-day pigeon Picasso here. Texture, color, thickness — a true craftsman pays attention to what he does. That work I did on the Ulysses Grant Memorial Statue in Brooklyn was a classic. It takes planning to lay down decoration so it balances out in a Fibonacci Series pattern like that.
  • Toilet Paper Trail: When Mittens first enters Nirvana after her death in "The Gift," she sees thousands of creatures milling around and chatting with each other. They stop once they see her and smile. Turns out they're aware she's coming and want to celebrate her entrance into Nirvana, given that she has successfully completed her especially difficult life task — but the cat thinks they're amused at something about her instead. She jokingly evokes this trope as a possible reason.
    Mittens: [thinks] What? I've got a stream of toilet paper stuck to my foot or something?
  • Too Desperate to Be Picky: The title character in "The Coyote" says he'll happily leave Bolt's yard if the dog can spare him anything to eat, even if it's leftover spaghetti tossed into the garbage.
    Charlie: Look — I’ll make it easy for you. If there’s any way — any way at all you can spare me a mouthful of food and a sip of water, I’ll be on my merry way. Anything will do. Honest.
  • Too Much Information: The phrase “TMI” is used a couple times in these stories to express Parental Sexuality Squick.
    • In “The Autobiography,” when Penny is disgusted by the possibility that her mother may be looking at porn on her laptop.
    • In “The Cameo,” when Bolt is embarrassed by his father’s dissolute sex life.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Bolt's sociopathic Manipulative Bastard friend Duke reawakens the former's latent prejudice against cats in "The Blood Brother." Bolt eventually realizes it, though, and makes amends to Mittens.
  • Translator Microbes: The two aliens Rhino meets in "The Spaceship" are able to speak English using translation collars. Or at least eventually, anyway — they first try Croatian and Filipino, misunderstanding the hamster when he tries to speak what he believes to be outer-space language. The collars prove faulty and provide a lot of malapropisms, though, because they were purchased on the cheap.
  • Tropey, Come Home: Mittens’s being accidentally abandoned and subsequently found in “The Mall” fits the trope description. Penny even creates a lost cat poster trying to get her back.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: Played with in “The Coffee Shop.” Mittens tells Bolt that Joe, the boyfriend he found for Penny, reminds her of himself.
  • Unlikely Hero: Bolt becomes an unexpected hero in “The Baseball Game” when he is pressed into playing duty while serving as honorary team mascot. He scores the winning run as a pinch runner for an injured player, and later clinches victory when he pulls off a triple play manning second base despite lacking a glove and the ability to throw a baseball properly.
  • Unnamed Parent: These stories continue the canon no-name practice regarding Penny’s mom.
  • Unreliable Narrator: In the first person point-of-view story "The Box," Bolt has no idea what has happened to him (he's trapped in the title object), thinks his show is real, and believes he has superpowers. Between his confusion and mistaken assumptions, his account of what is occurring bears little resemblance to reality.
  • Unsuccessful Pet Adoption: Repeated attempts to adopt Blaze normally prove unsuccessful, referenced in both "The Seven" and "The Cameo." Something almost always seems to go wrong: a careless nip, fits of barking, piddle accidents, scratching up curtains and furniture, or a combination of these — and he's a perpetual stray as a result.
  • Unusual Animal Alliance: The dog/cat/hamster trio of Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino are a most unusual grouping. Once Bolt and Mittens make up after "The Blood Brother," they remain inseparable friends, and in Bolt and Mittens's case, lovers.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • The animals in these stories routinely substitute the word “dog” for “God” in phrases such as “Oh, my dog,” “Dog only knows,” and “For dog’s sake.”
    • Kelvin the labradoodle's stock exclamation of anger is “Horse biscuits!” Found in “The Protection Payment” and “The Seer.”
  • Utopia: In "The Coyote," Bolt recommends that Charlie, the title animal, leave their yard and head to a more ideal place to the west, such as a state wildlife preserve, national forest, or national park. The coyote does so, singing the song "Big Rock Candy Mountain" (which describes such a perfect place) as the story ends.
  • Vacation Episode:
    • Penny, her mom, and the three pets go to Paris for a TV-Con autograph signing session and do an extensive amount of sightseeing in “The Paris Trip.”
    • Penny and Bolt tour the United States and sightsee voraciously on a book signing jaunt in “The Imaginary Letters.”
    • Penny and Bolt find time for sightseeing during their Los Angeles film session trip in “The Cameo.”
  • Virtual Soundtrack: Given the sizable number of music references in the stories, a virtual music underscore is frequently implied. This is especially true in fics that involve dancing such as “The Wedding Reception” and “The Funkmeister,” or ones where the characters are listening to music such as “The Car,” “The Mall,” “The Walk,” “The Cameo,” “The Blood Brother,” “The Paris Trip,” “The Ship,” “The Survivor,” “The Rings,” “The Seer,” “The Spaceship,” and “The Coffee Shop.”
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Happens to Bolt a few times, with the descriptions not being graphic.
    • In “The Wind,” Bolt tells Rhino he vomited on his girlfriend Mary after eating raw bread dough. Referenced only, not directly depicted.
      Bolt: Though I can't imagine she much liked me throwing up on her, either.
    • In “The Coffee Shop,” Penny says she'll have to induce vomiting on Bolt so he can clear leftover coffee from his stomach. Earlier, Joe says the dog threw up in his car twice on the way over to the veterinary clinic. Referenced only in both cases, not directly depicted.
      Penny: What am I gonna do with you, you little scamp? Oh well, first things first. Gotta make you throw up again, see if there’s any remaining coffee we can clear from your stomach.
      Joe: Poor little guy threw up in my car on the way over here. Twice, actually. I don't know what got into him, but it's definitely trying to get back out again.
    • In “The Box,” Bolt says he has had trouble keeping food down lately because of extreme stress. Referenced only, not directly depicted.
      Bolt: Hope the sandwich stays down, though. Been vomiting up food about half the time nowadays.
  • Wedding Episode: In “The Rings,” Penny and Joe get married, while a later private marriage-style ceremony officially unites Bolt and Mittens as soulmates.
  • We Need a Distraction: In "The Baseball Game," manager Jimmy Braun sends honorary bench coach Mittens out to the field to stall the umpire for time while relief closer Dave Burkitt finishes warming up. Mittens has trouble fulfilling the manager's order to get herself ejected from the game until her earlier chili cheese fries snack triggers a sudden bowel movement.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Mittens and Tom have a mostly enjoyable day together in "The Clouds," complete with a night of lovemaking, but the tomcat abandons and ignores her the next morning. They have an unpleasantly testy exchange when they accidentally meet each other again on the street later.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Rhino calls out Bolt’s callous treatment of Mittens in “The Blood Brother.” The dog later repents and tearfully apologizes to the cat.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole?: Nearly everyone has a motive to kill the murdered Director in “The Murder Mystery.”
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: After Mittens watches a television episode in which a character deliberately makes himself sick to create a diversion, she expresses doubts that anyone really would do something so dumb. Turns out Bolt does exactly that in order to get Penny and Joe to meet.
    Mittens: Though I gotta say, as good as that peanut episode was, it does stretch credibility juuuust a tiny bit. Who in their right mind would even consider putting themselves that much in harm's way to create a diversion like Howard did? It would take a special kind of idiot to go to those lengths, don’tcha think?
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Played with in "The Car." Mittens jokingly references this quote when she is jolted awake in the back seat during Penny's first driving attempt. She goes crashing around the back seat area with each mistake the girl makes behind the wheel.
    Mittens: [groaning] Ugh — why did it have to be teenage drivers? If I had claws, I could hold onto the back seat and simply ride it out. I’ll pretend this is a rodeo and I’m on a Brahma bull or bucking bronco.
  • Wiper Start: Penny's disastrous first driving experience in "The Car" shows her making several mistakes, including this one. After stalling the car out, she turns on the windshield wipers instead of cranking the ignition for a restart.
  • With This Ring: In “The Rings,” Bolt loses the titular objects he has been entrusted with on Penny’s wedding day, and he and Mittens improvise with Cracker Jacks decoder ring prizes as replacements. Later, Bolt and Mittens stage their own private marriage-style ceremony using the newly-found wedding rings, placing the title objects over each other’s rolled up right ear.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: In "The Spaceship," the aliens show their appreciation to Rhino by placing him on the dashboard of their craft and circling the earth and the moon twice in their flying saucer, giving the hamster an impressive bird's-eye view of both heavenly bodies.
    After a brief stop in a neighboring field to beam aboard an especially promising-looking scarecrow (as well as leaving a perfectly symmetric crop circle calling card behind), Cloyd picked up the little rodent and placed him at the front edge of the spaceship’s dashboard. Rhino stood transfixed as the flying saucer circled the moon and the earth twice each, providing a stunning view of the two heavenly bodies from an ideal vantage point. Snow-capped mountains, heaving oceans, glittering deserts, waving grasslands, yawning craters, stony lunar plains — the wonders of the world and its satellite were Rhino’s to savor and enjoy.
  • World Tour: Penny and Bolt tour the United States and sightsee voraciously on a book signing jaunt in “The Imaginary Letters.”
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Applies in universe to an unnamed fictional fanfic author at the TV-Con in "The Paris Trip." A poster advertising a tag-team fanfic reading includes a Bolt and Penny smut story series described as a self-styled "four-part trilogy."
  • Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: When Mittens gets lost trying to find Sainte-Chapelle in “The Paris Trip,” she invokes this trope, saying “I think I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque instead of Pont des Artes.”
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Common Yiddish-derived words occur prominently in a few stories.
    • Mittens uses the term “kvetch” in “The Coffee Shop.” Bolt misunderstands the term as “kwetch.”
    • Blaze uses the words “schlep,” “canoodle,” and “verklempt” in “The Cameo.” His girlfriend Tracey refers to him as a “putz.”
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Rhino expresses his extreme skepticism to Mittens in “The Funkmeister” when she claims to have imaginary medical conditions that prevent her from dancing with him.
    Mittens: [with a weak chuckle] Um — oh! Oh that! I’ve… uhh… I’ve been sick with a nasty virus lately. And it’s been makin’ my foot break out in spasms. Maybe it’s Tom Jones Tremens, or Snu, or something.
    Rhino: [snickering, looking dubiously askance at Mittens] You’re puttin’ me on! What’s ‘Snu,’ pussycat?

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