Eyes of an Angel (also known as The Tender) is a movie starring John Travolta and released in 1991 (i.e., the lowest ebb of his career). But the real star is arguably the Dobermann Pinscher that the movie focuses on.
Travolta plays a down-on-his-luck guy named Bobby, who works hard (with gangsters) to earn a living for both himself and his sort-of adoptive daughter (Ellie Raab). Said daughter finds the aforementioned dog, who's in bad shape due to injuries sustained during a dog fight and being thrown into a river by its owner, and cares for it until it's fully recovered. The dog eventually begins following her home. However, Bobby won't have any of it, as he's gotten in trouble with gang leader Cissy (Tito Larriva), and both father and daughter have to run away from Chicago to California. The dog follows them.
- Androcles' Lion: The girl is the first person to treat the Dobermann with kindness and care, with him being injured, cold and abandoned at the time. So he devotes himself to her completely.
- Based on a True Story: The opening credits claim the film is based on a true story. However, what that story might be hasn't been documented.
- Beastly Bloodsports: Cissy's gang, which includes Bobby, is involved in a dogfighting ring. This environment is where the Dobermann comes from.
- Canine Companion: Nothing will stop the Dobermann from being with the girl. Not trains, not the pound, not Bobby's distaste for him, and certainly not the fact that Bobby takes the girl to the other side of the country to escape Cissy while leaving the dog behind.
- Deconstruction: Of family-friendly dog movies. Although this has a Happy Ending.
- Foreshadowing: The Dobermann chasing the girl through the train tracks foreshadows just how far he will go for her. Later, he chases her all the way cross-country.
- Good Is Not Soft: The Dobermann is loyal and kind to those who treat him with dignity, especially to the girl and later Bobby. When it comes to Cissy, who's a threat to them all, the dog tears into him and only stops short of killing him, with his fangs around his throat as a warning.
- Light Equals Hope: After a series of events that end up in Bobby losing sight of the girl, he is at his lowest and collapses crying inside a tunnel. Then the Dobermann shows up at one end of the tunnel, with the streetlights behind him. He makes Bobby pucker up and takes him to the girl.
- Morality Pet: The girl plays this role to the dog, in a sort of inversion.
- No Name Given: Both the girl and the dog.
- Ship Tease: The Dobermann and a farm dog from the middle of the movie. Too bad for her.