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Literature / Dogs of the Drowned City

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Dogs of the Drowned City is a book trilogy written by Dayna Lorentz in 2012, the same year that two other apocalypse dog series were published.

Shep is a German shepherd living a good life as a pet in Miami, Florida, playing with his Boy and his best friend Zeus the boxer. But one day, the humans evacuate when a hurricane is on its way, and Shep and many other dogs are left by themselves. When Shep and another dog named Callie escape and explore the city, they realize that other dogs need their help. They eventually help these dogs, and they have to brave many dangers like wild dogs, alligators, and the storm itself.

The three books in the series are The Storm, The Pack, and The Return, all published within a month of each other.


Dogs of the Drowned City provides examples of:

  • A God I Am Not: Ever since hearing more about Shep's stories about the Great Wolf, they often make him a hero by telling stories of him being the Great Wolf. Shep is insulted that they'd use the Great Wolf like that and tries to keep those stories to a minimum.
  • Afraid of Blood: Thanks to being in pit fights, Shep develops a fear of "lifeblood", which is why he's reluctant to hunt at first.
  • Animal Talk: The dogs only talk with each other, and Shep can understand some things his Boy says. He's incredulous and angry that Fuzz the cat can speak dog, because he believes that dogs spoke to only dogs and no other animal.
  • Berserk Button: The small dogs hate being called "yappers" by the big dogs.
  • Bullying the Dragon: Frizzle the French bulldog decides to try and pick a fight with Zeus. Zeus snaps his jaws close to him, making Frizzle pee on the spot.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Brilliant!" for Callie.
    • "Hang it all!" for Higgins.
    • "Oh dear," for Boji.
  • Cats Are Mean: Shep really dislikes cats because of their ornery and grumpy behavior. Fuzz initially seems to be one, but he subverts the trope when he starts becoming loyal to the dogs after his friend Honey dies. He even lives with Shep and the Boy once the humans come back.
  • Cool Old Guy: Dover the Labrador retriever is an "old timer" who often gives Shep encouraging pep talk and sometimes advice.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Shep used to be a pit fighting dog before he came to his Boy in the city. He's not proud of the fights he had had there, and he doesn't hunt wild animals at first due to not wanting to taste blood again.
  • Debate and Switch: Shep's humble honesty is contrasted with the comforting yet sacrilegious lies that Oscar spreads to unite the survivors. It's a compelling conflict that is never resolved because the humans' return interrupts everything before it becomes an actual problem. And then it turns out in the next book that Oscar was just power hungry and never believed any of the crap he was spewing, thus freeing the author from needing to explore any validity his pragmatism may have had. Convenient!
  • Disc-One Final Boss: A wild dog named Kaz is searching for a Worthy Opponent to fight, and she sees it in Shep when he fights her briefly in the park. She shows up again at the end of The Storm and is finally killed off, to make way for antagonists like Zeus and Blaze.
  • Evil Former Friend: Zeus becomes this to Shep at the end of The Storm, disgusted that Shep would side with yappers over him. It gets uglier when they fight at the end of The Pack and lingers on still during most of The Return. By the end of the series, however, Shep and Zeus slowly become friends again.
  • Full-Boar Action: In The Pack, Shep hunts down a wild pig to impress Blaze and the rest of the pack.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Higgins has the attitude of a grumpy posh old dog, but he makes up for it by helping Shep out often in The Pack.
  • He Had a Name: When Snoop the greyhound gets run over by a car in The Return, Zeus scoffs and says that "the dog" should have looked where he was going. At this, Shep lets out a furious roar of "His name was SNOOP!"
  • Killed Offscreen: While Shep looks for Honey and Fuzz in The Pack, he comes back to find out that Higgins and Virgil were killed by Zeus and his pack.
  • Leave Me Alone!: In The Storm, Shep says this to Callie when she worries for him and even calls her and the other dogs "yappers". He stews around for a while until he witnesses Frizzle's death, snapping him out of his funk, and decides to help all of the other dogs from now on.
  • Mr. Muffykins: The small dogs ("yappers") fit this trope pretty well, often yapping orders at the bigger dogs. To Callie, being called a "yapper" is one of the worst things a bigger dog could call a small dog.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Alligators show up as enemies in The Pack. Their first appearance involves attacking the dogs while they're swimming, killing Cheese the English setter. Shep later uses the alligators as soldiers to attack Zeus's dogs when the latter besieges Shep's pack.
  • Noble Wolf: Shep's personal god is called the Great Wolf, which he carries with him from the pit fights to his home.
  • Oh, My Gods!: The dogs often say stuff like "Chew my rawhide!", "Bless my treats!", or "Thank my master!" in exasperation, shock, or relief.
  • Only Sane Man: In The Return, while Shep sees that the other dogs either want to go home or scold him for being mean to humans, Fuzz sticks by his side, bluntly saying that while Shep's made mistakes, he's doing his best.
    Shep: At least the cat's honest.
  • Parental Substitute: Daisy (a pug) acts as one to Oscar (a dachshund puppy) when the latter is bought from a pet store.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero:
    • Shep is a loyal and Heroic Dog, but he's also got his prejudices against small dogs and cats. He grows out of this mindset in the first two books.
    • Downplayed with Blaze since she acts more like an Anti-Hero than an actual hero, but she shares Shep's former disdain towards smaller dogs.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: There are snakes that come around in The Pack. The worst case was when one snake bites a puppy on the paw, and because the dogs don't have knowledge of medicine, the puppy dies in a few minutes.
  • Stray Animal Story: The trilogy tells about how many abandoned pet dogs band together during a hurricane and surviving the aftermath.
  • Was Too Hard on Him: Discussed between Shep and Daisy in The Return. After Oscar causes the pack to get attacked by Zeus, Daisy is flat-out strict with Oscar and often scolds him coldly. Shep asks if Daisy's being too hard on him, and the pug responds by saying that Oscar wouldn't have done bad things if she had been harder on him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Shep gets plenty of these throughout the trilogy. In The Storm, he gets called out for not being sympathetic to other dogs' misery and his prejudice to "yappers". In The Pack, Callie calls Shep out for always taking the advice of Hot-Blooded Blaze over any other dog in the pack. And in The Return, he gets this from most of the pack for attacking humans that get near them.
    • Oscar gets this too for leading Zeus's pack against Shep's pack. He gets these the most for Daisy, who had acted as a Parental Substitute for the dachshund pup.
  • Worthy Opponent: In The Storm, Kaz is looking for a strong dog to fight, and she gets that with Shep. She sees him as worthy to fight and promises a rematch. She appears again near the end of the book and has her rematch with Shep, who ends up killing her in their fight.
  • You No Take Candle: Fuzz speaks in this way due to his cat language being different from the dog language.