Follow TV Tropes


Literature / The Last Dogs

Go To

The Last Dogs is a book series written by Christopher Holt, first published in 2012.

The book series begins with The Vanishing, where a Labrador retriever named Max escapes from the vet's kennel and sees that there are no humans left in town. After a fierce encounter with a pack of wolves (led by their aggressive alpha, Dolph), Max and a dachshund named Rocky team up together to set out and find their owners. Along the way, they encounter a group of kibble-loving dogs led by a poodle named Dandyclaw (and where they meet their third traveling companion, Gizmo the Yorkshire terrier), a house full of cats, a gang of rats led by their rhyming king, and a gang of dogs called the Corporation, who want to let society be ruled by dogs and dogs only. All the while, Dolph and his wolves trail Max and his friends, determined to kill them.


The books that come after include Dark Waters (published in 2013), The Long Road (also published in 2013), and Journey's End (published in 2014).

Positively not to be confused with The Dogs.

Compare and contrast Survivor Dogs or Dogs of the Drowned City, which have similar themes.

The Last Dogs provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital Awakening: Max had spent two weeks alone in an abandoned veterinarian's kennel. When he finally gets out, he find that he has company: Rocky (whose owner is the veterinarian) and a pack of hungry wolves.
  • A Cat in a Gang of Dogs:
    • Inverted with Buddha, a Chihuahua who lives with a house of cats. He even starts acting like a cat, though the other dogs have caught him eating regular dog food instead of cat food.
    • Played for laughs when the dogs leave the house of cats. A kitten named Phoenix tries joining them on their adventure, but her family eventually calls her back.
  • Advertisement:
  • Adipose Rex: Flicktail from The Long Road is a big fat albino rat who's pretty pompous.
  • A God Am I: Dandyclaw boasts about how he's the "savior" of all dogs by recruiting as much dogs into the Enclave as he can.
  • Agony of the Feet: Max flat-out breaks a paw in Journey's End while leading the wolves and coyotes away from Rocky and Gizmo. It doesn't stop him from facing them, though.
  • Animal Testing: Eighteen animals had been used for the Praxis experiment, thus making them as smart as humans. It's succeeded with Madame Curie the Labrador retriever, Gertrude the pig, Mortimer the elephant (AKA The Mountain), and an off-screen dolphin.
  • Animal Stampede: Near the start of Journey's End, the dogs are nearly trampled by a herd of horses escaping the "silver wall of doom".
  • Anger Born of Worry: In Dark Waters, when Rocky had been separated from his friends, Rocky is later seen at the zoo, eating hot dogs with Barbs the hyena. Max's first thing to do at seeing this is snapping at Rocky for making them worry, even accusing him of abandoning his friends. But Gizmo tells Max that there's no need to yell at Rocky (whom she says is making the best of a bad situation), and Max sees how afraid Rocky was of him at the moment and apologizes, explaining that he was just worried for him and had blamed himself for Rocky disappearing. Rocky accepts the apology and apologizes too for making Max and Gizmo worried for him.
  • A Pet into the Wild: All pets in the series become strays after the people are forced to abandon them. While most of the pets try to retain their ties to humanity, a few want nothing more to do with humans (namely Dandyclaw and the Chairman).
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: This is Dolph's way of handling obstacles: just attacking them. One such obstacle includes an African elephant (which is many times bigger than Dolph and his wolves), and Dolph decides to attack him. The result is The Mountain thrashing the wolves pretty easily.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Thanks to Praxis, animals affected by it become smarter. The Mountain even relates the dogs' life story by from body shapes or scars and even on Dolph, leading to taunting him for his flaws.
  • Babies Ever After: In the epilogue for Journey's End, it's revealed that Rocky and Gizmo became mates and have had four puppies together, something Max's owners call "Dorkies" because of their parentage. And thanks to the two having Praxis still in their genes, it's hinted that these puppies may have inherited it from their parents.
  • Badass Boast: At the climax of Journey's End, Max ends up delivering a pretty awesome one to Dolph and his pack.
    Max: You have no idea what I'm capable of. I'm NOT just some house pet who got lost. I have summoned blazing fires to destroy my enemies. I have made giant mountains come alive to trample those who'd dare to attack my friends. A cloud of bats came at my friend's call, swarming Dolph's pack and tossing them into a chasm. Dolph knows what I can do. When he asked for my help when he was starving, I gave it. But every time he attacks, I strike back even harder. You came after me...and now I make the noise to drive you crazy! ... You have underestimated me. Now you will find out what I'm truly capable of!
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • The first one happens in The Vanishing, when Rocky shoves a gumball machine onto Wretch the wolf to save Max. He saves Max once more in Journey's End by flat-out jumping onto Dolph and biting whatever he can reach.
    • Another happens in Dark Waters, where The Mountain is on a rampage due to being alone, but the elephant saves Max and his friends just in time by fighting the wolf pack by himself.
  • Big Damn Villains: Dolph and his pack surprisingly pull one at the end of The Vanishing and The Long Road. Special mention goes to The Long Road, where, after Max persuades the police dogs to let the wolves eat some dog food, Dolph saves Max from Belle and her crazy dogs, believing that they're even now.
  • Big Eater: Rocky is always hungry and looking for something to eat.
  • Bonding Over Missing Owners: Max manages to get Spots to open up by mentioning that his owners would have loved seeing the train museum, adding that Emma wanted to be a conductor when she grows up. This makes Spots, who had lost his owners and his brother, feel a little hopeful again as he finally tells him and the others about the wall he and Dots went to.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In Journey's End, Rocky asks this at one point:
    Rocky: Is it Dolph? Is it food? Is it Dolph eating food?
  • The Bus Came Back: After having been attacked by the wolf pack in The Vanishing, the cats from the Crazy Cat Lady house reappear in The Long Road, as they moved down to the Gulf Coast, where Dr. Lynn takes care of them and other pets at the beach.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Gizmo mentions meeting and falling for a wiemaraner named Gunther, who had come from Europe but had since learned the language of American dogs.
  • Calvin Ball: The dogs on the Flower Of The South boat seem to take an interest in playing poker. But since the dogs aren't as knowledgeable about card games as humans are, they make up their own rules such as yelling "Bingo!" or flinging their cards on the table.
  • Character Development: Out of the main trio, Rocky gets the most development, going from a fat spoiled dog to a braver dog willing to help others. He even lampshades his development when Max tells him and Gizmo that they're his family.
  • Cool Old Guy:
    • Boss the Australian shepherd from Dark Waters leads a boatload of dogs alongside a Dalmatian named Zephyr. Though at first wary of Max and his friends, he shortly warms up to them and helps them on their quest to find the lab where Madame Curie lived. He even knows some zoo animals, who jovially greet him like an old friend.
    • Spots from Journey's End could also count, once Max and his friends get past his grumpy shell.
  • Cool Old Lady:
    • Madame Curie, another Labrador retriever, had become Max's friend in the kennel, giving him friendly advice. Besides his owners, Madame is also on list of friends to find. They eventually find her with the Corporation near the end of the first book, but she had been beaten badly and left for dead by The Chairman.
    • Madame Curie's owner in The Long Road definitely counts as well, being a friend to any pet looking for shelter and helping Max and his friends understand the Praxis situation better.
  • Cowardly Lion: When the trio first meet Georgie, he would often cry about whatever situation they're in being hopeless. Over the course of The Long Road, Georgie starts being braver, leading his friends to Baton Rouge and even standing up against Belle's pack of mutts to let his friends escape.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Max and his friends come upon a house where a crazy cat lady must have lived, for she had left behind dozens of cats. And a Chihuahua. But the trope is subverted when one of the cats reveals that most of these cats actually come from all over the neighborhood.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Rocky always has something to remark about in a situation, often being sarcastic.
    • Gertrude the pig always talks down to the dogs in a snide and condescending manner.
  • Defiant to the End: On their way to get revenge on Max, Dolph and his wolf pack attack the house of cats that Max and his friends visited. Their leader Raoul tries to fight them off while the other cats escape, but the wolves kill the leader cat anyway.
  • Detective Animal: Max and his friends come across a sanctuary for lost pets in The Long Road, and they're mainly run by German shepherd police dogs who patrol the town.
  • The Determinator:
    • Max is very determined to find his humans again, even if he has to travel across the entire country.
    • Dolph has the same determined nature, only he's determined to kill Max and his friends.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Broken and beaten, Madame Curie has been left in a cold room by the Chairman to die alone. Max and his friends find her just in time and stay with her, Max even embracing her, before she dies.
  • Dog Stereotype:
    • Max is the heroic and kind retriever.
    • Rocky is the spunky and stubborn dachshund.
    • Gizmo is the yippy and excitable little terrier.
    • Dandyclaw the poodle is snooty and a little psycho.
    • The Chairman and his fellow Doberman pinschers are fierce attack dogs. Fester (a Rottweiler whose breed is known to be as fierce as a Doberman) subverts this: acting tough at first, but being more friendly and cooperative when Max beats him in a duel.
    • Julep and Dixie, two of several German shepherds, are capable police dogs.
  • Don't Split Us Up: After finally finding the humans and Max is reunited with his owners, Dr. Lynn talks about sending Rocky to Florida to be with his owner. The trio is horrified and sad at the thought of being split up, and Max decides to run away with his friends so that they'd never get separated. Fortunately, Dr. Lynn figures out that they don't want to be separated, and Charlie and Emma decide to adopt Rocky and Gizmo.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome:
    • Boss gets one when he's on the burning boat, ready to explode. When it explodes, it wounds Boss greatly, but he survives long enough to get everyone to safety. And when he dies, the dogs praise him on being a great dog, and Captain gently rests his captain's hat onto Boss's head.
    • Raoul the cat gets a milder example when he tries fighting off a wolf pack until they kill him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In The Long Road, Dolph realizes that they're too weak to fight police dogs, and he grudgingly decides to ask Max for help. When one of his wolves tries attacking Max and some livestock, Dolph berates said wolf for his recklessness and threatens to exile him if he tried anything like that again.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Gizmo may like many animals, but she doesn't really like certain animals like the red panda sisters and Gertrude. She also declares that she really hates the Chairman and the alligators, even saying that she usually never hates anyone.
    • Max prides himself on being a good boy, being friendly with other animals, but he draws the line with Dandyclaw's pompous attitude and (of course) Dolph the wolf.
  • Evil vs. Evil: At the end of the first book, it's Dolph and his wolf pack against The Chairman and his Corporation of Doberman pinschers. Dolph ends up winning, though his second-in-command, Wretch, ends up dying in that battle.
  • Genki Girl: Gizmo is a fun-loving little terrier, always ready to make new friends no matter what species they are (ranging from tiny mice to a giant elephant).
  • Gone Mad From The Isolation: Being alone without any humans has taken its toll on Belle, making her desperate and lonely. Hearing that Boss left overnight finally pushes her over the edge.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Dolph is recognizable with three long scars crossing over his muzzle, making him look even more intimidating than he already is. Over the course of the series, he gets even more scars in his wild attempts to destroy Max, even getting burns from the burning riverboat in Dark Waters.
  • Graceful Loser: In The Vanishing, Fester the rottweiler and Max fight for leadership of the Chairman's prisoners. When Max wins, Fester takes his loss pretty well, following Max wholeheartedly and giving him a nickname (Fleetfoot).
  • Heinous Hyena: Mostly averted with Barbs the hyena in Dark Waters. The worst she does is laugh at inappropriate situations, but she means no harm to the dogs.
  • Honorable Elephant: Mortimer the elephant in Dark Waters is one, though he refers to be called "The Mountain". He had come from a laboratory where animals were experimented on to make them as smart as humans (along with him were Madame Curie and Gertrude the pig), with a kind of drug called Praxis. Though he is honorable, he's prone to throwing wild temper tantrums (due to having been away from his fellow elephants for a long time), though he does save Max and his friends from the wolves during one of his tantrums.
  • Honorary Uncle: Max becomes this to Rocky and Gizmo's puppies at the end of the series, watching TV with them and telling them about the adventures he and their parents have had.
  • Horrifying the Horror: During a cave-in, Georgie lets out such a long, loud, and mournful howl that the alligators chasing him are scared out of their wits. To this day, the animals in the swamp refer to Georgie as the "Mudlurker".
  • Horse Jump: One of the horses in Journey's End, Savannah Rose (AKA Rosy), mentions that no animal can jump over the great silver wall. Even she should know, she adds, for she's been an award-winning show jumper.
  • The Hyena: Barbs the literal zoo hyena always laughs even in serious situations.
  • Hypocrite: The Chairman talks a lot about order and progress, saying that every dog must obey his commands. Yet as Gizmo demonstrates, The Chairman is very eager to obey simple commands like "Sit" and "Roll over". Earlier, he boasts about how he's leading a civilized dog society, only for Max to call him out for savagely beating Madame Curie and leaving her to die.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Dandyclaw doesn't like having his name messed up by Rocky, who snarkily calls him silly names like "Dandypuff", and he's growl "It's Dandyclaw" and others like that. But when Rocky finally calls him Dandyclaw seriously, Dandyclaw starts barking "It's Dandy-", but then he realizes that Rocky actually said his name right.
    • In the same book, Dandyclaw prefers that the dogs go by the names he gives them instead of the names their owners gave them ("Softspike" for Gizmo and "Sturdystep" for Brahms).
  • Intergenerational Friendship: The young adult Max is able to make friends with old-aged Madame Curie, always liking to listen to her wisdom and advice.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Buddha the Chihuahua seems to have been raised around cats all his life, even going so far as to act like a cat.
  • It's Personal: Dolph believes that the feud between him and Max got personal when Max had injured one of his pack members.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Rocky is a major example in the series. He may be unwilling to do extra work and may be snappy, but he's still loyal to his friends and will help them with helping anyone.
    • Captain, a pompous hat-wearing schnauzer in Dark Waters, acknowledges that Boss was the best alpha a dog could ask for.
    • Hank the possum from The Long Road is a gruff and sneaky possum who directs the dogs towards the alligators' waiting jaws to keep his kids safe. He does have a change of heart, though, and helps them escape the alligators.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • As a case of another dog kicking the dog, The Chairman beats Madame Curie badly to the point where she's permanently crippled. He then refuses to let anyone help her and forces her to die alone in a cold office room.
    • Dolph shows he's serious in destroying Max by attacking the house of cats and killing Raoul.
  • Killer Gorilla: Willa the zoo gorilla threatens to kill Barbs the hyena for taking his food. But after a talking-to from Gizmo, Willa calms down and lets Barbs have some food as long as she doesn't steal it anymore. After that, he's rather reasonable with the dogs.
  • Lame Comeback: In The Vanishing, Max introduces himself to Rocky and admits that he kept calling him "sausage dog" in his mind to avoid offending him. Rocky ends up offended anyway and retorts that Max is a "giant golden". He even admits that he's got nothing.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: This is Gizmo's Fatal Flaw, which got her separated from her humans, having chased after a squirrel without a second thought. The series shows her trying to struggle against rushing headlong into dangerous situations.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Gertrude the pig leads Max and his friends to the lab where she, Madame Curie, and The Mountain came from to help her save the lab...and then she uses the Praxis experiment on the three dogs.
  • My Greatest Failure: Dr. Lynn sees her Praxis experiment as this, the virus being the reason why the people and birds disappeared. So she spends the rest of the series working hard to find a cure.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile:
    • In Dark Waters, Gizmo wants to explore a crocodile's zoo exhibit. Max and Boss are immediately against the idea.
    • In The Long Road, the dogs are ambushed by three alligators in the swamp. They seem to subvert this trope when the head alligator says that they just wanted to invite Max and his friends to a party they're hosting. But Gizmo thinks that they're double subverting the trope, and the alligators indeed do that by telling them that there's no escaping the swamp, adding nastily that their humans no longer love them, until Max retorts that they're wrong. Because of this, the alligators switch back to trying to chase them down.
  • Nice Guy: Max prides himself on being a good dog, being friends with humans and animals. Only Dolph, Dandyclaw, and the Chairman make him believe that this isn't always the case.
  • Nice Hat: Captain the schnauzer wears a ship captain's hat, to show his gruff bossy nature whenever Boss isn't around. He later sets this hat gently on Boss's grave after the dogs hold a funeral for him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Max tries averting the wolves from their trail by scattering dog food before them. All this does is give the tired and hungry wolves more fuel to chase them. Max even thinks that this wasn't the brightest idea he's had.
  • Nice Mice: In Journey's End, the dogs encounter a gang of mice, whose leader named Samson pretends to be a giant monster to scare away predators. When the dogs tell them that they're not going to eat them, the mice become more helpful... at least until the wolves show up, then they get mad at the dogs for leading the wolves to probably eat them.
  • Noble Wolf: Very very downplayed in The Long Road. Dolph is still eager to hunt Max down, but he doesn't approve of needlessly attacking livestock, even scolding a wolf for breaking this rule. Once he and his pack eat enough dog food, they leave the dogs alone for a while before returning for their Big Damn Villains against Belle.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: This is how the dogs communicate with Dr. Lynn, Madame Curie's owner, in The Long Road. Being injected with the Praxis serum, they're able to understand her language, so she asks them questions using this trope: barking once for no and twice for yes, for instance. This is how Dr. Lynn finds out about her dog's death.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: Oliver the zoo owl is helpful to the dogs and tries to warn them about trusting Gertrude the pig.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Max being this kicks off the series, wanting to help his child owners Charlie and Emma. He wants to be with them and help them so much that he crosses half of the country to find them again.
    • The reason that Hank the possum leads Max and his friends to the alligators is that the gators had threatened to eat his children if he didn't get them anything to eat. He ends up helping the dogs escape the gators later with some help from his children.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Rocky is the jokester of the trio, always providing a snarky line to a situation. He even says at one point that he's the comic relief of the trio.
  • Properly Paranoid: Gertrude rants about how she needs protection while on the trip to the Praxis lab, saying that animals will see her as a walking ham lunch. Max thinks she's full of hot air, but when he later sees Gertrude surrounded by Dolph and his wolf pack, he sees that the pig was right in asking for protection.
  • Psycho Poodle: Dandyclaw the poodle runs the Enclave, a group of dogs that believe that kibble is like gold. He runs the pack with an iron paw, manipulates the other dogs into thinking all of their owners abandoned them, and has No Sense of Humor.
  • Pyromaniac: The bad people in Dark Waters plan on setting the Flower of the South riverboat on fire, along with the dogs inside it, so that they can get the money in the riverboat's safe.
  • Rascally Raccoon: Tiffany the raccoon in Journey's End likes to boast about how she's the "Silver Bandit", an international outlaw who steals "bobcat eggs" and likes to disguise herself.
  • Really Gets Around: Samson the mouse tells the dogs that most of the younger mice in his area are his children, around a hundred and sixty seven. "Go big or go home" seems to be his take on the trope.
  • Red Baron: The animals near the swamp tell of a monster called the "Mudlurker", a great beast that frightens even alligators with its unearthly deep howls. When Max and his friends encounter the Mudlurker, it turns out to be anything but terrifying: the Mudlurker turns out to be a sad and lonely Saint Bernard named Georgie.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent:
    • The alligators from The Long Road are sinister antagonists to the dogs when they go through the swamp.
    • A milder case in the same book is the boa constrictor, who won't let the dogs pass until he gets to eat one of them. Fortunately, Rocky tricks the big snake into jumping into the river, thus letting them pass.
  • Rolling Attack: One of the four baby armadillos curls up into a ball and plays a game with Rocky and Gizmo, pretending that he's the ball.
  • Sanity Slippage: The humans' disappearance had not been kind to Belle, who slowly went from being the sweetest dog in Baton Rouge to a callous and snooty dog. She's started living in filthy squalor in her mansion and hires some stray dogs to beat up other dogs and make them her "pets". Fortunately, she gets a Heel Realization near the end of The Long Road and strives to be a better dog.
  • Savage Wolves: Ever since the confrontation at the Vet's office, Dolph and his wolf pack want revenge on Max. So much so that they pretty much cross half of the country to hunt him and his friends down. Max ultimately decides that this trope is subverted, saying in Journey's End that not all wolves are savages and that it was mainly Dolph who was the troublesome wolf.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The four-book series must really love shout-outs to The Wizard of Oz. In the first and second books, Rocky mentions seeing a movie with his owners about yellow bricks on a road, most likely referring to the movie.
      • A pretty good example in Journey's End is when a mouse yells into a megaphone to scare away predators. When found out by Max and his friends, the mouse (named Samson) declares, "Pay no attention to the mouse behind the booth!"
      • A minor example in the same book is Rocky mentioning that he's afraid of encountering lions and tigers and bears on their journey.
    • Gertrude the pig is smarmy, intelligent, sly, and manipulative, like Squealer from Animal Farm. Unlike Squealer, though, Gertrude's way of doing things is understandable if not entirely noble.
    • The way Phoenix the kitten tries following the dogs on their journey is somewhat similar to Figaro trying to follow Pinocchio to school.
  • Ship Tease: There's several intimate moments between Rocky and Gizmo throughout all four books, and it finally ends with them becoming mates and having four puppies.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Panda and Possum, the cat sisters, are about as different as day and night. Panda is gentle and kind, while Possum is snarky and brash.
  • Smelly Skunk: Stripes the skunk uses her stink to keep any invading wolves at bay, and she threatens to use it on Spot the coonhound when he gets too aggressive towards Max and his friends.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Max and his friends encounter a large boa constrictor in The Long Road, which tells them that he'll help them as long as one dog stays behind to be eaten. Rocky manages to trick him by making him jump into the river to prove that boa constrictors weren't too fat to swim.
    • Averted with the garter snake in Journey's End. It seems to like having the dogs chase it, but it warns them that they have to cut the game short because of the hurricane.
  • Spirit Advisor: Madame Curie and Boss act as this to Max after they died in the first two books.
  • Spock Speak: Raoul often speaks like this in a stoic tone, to either other cats or dogs. He breaks this speech a bit when he shares his story about how he was separated from his old lady.
  • Spoiled Brat:
    • Scarlet and Rose, the twin red pandas, seem to enjoy making fun of Barbs the hyena and pestering other animals around the zoo.
    • Tiffany the raccoon (who likes to call herself the "Silver Bandit") is this as well, though she's mostly full of hot air and turns out to not be all bad.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: A fire at a vet's office? It won't stop Dolph from tracking Max. Broken glass and dog food? No way. A rampaging elephant? Dolph even fights the elephant. A pack of German shepherd police dogs? Not a chance would they stop him in his revenge.
  • Swarm of Rats: Max and his friend encounter some at an abandoned subway station. The big boss rat named Longtooth speaks almost entirely in rhyme, but then he reveals that he's faked his rhyming persona and supports the dogs after Rocky impresses him. They do meet another swarm of rats in The Long Road, whose king named Flicktail had heard from Longtooth's rats about Rocky.
  • Those Wily Coyotes: Along with the wolves, Max and his friends encounter an angry pack of coyotes in Journey's End. The coyotes soon form a temporary alliance with the wolves to take down Max, but they start fighting with each other when they corner Max, competing over who gets to kill him.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Georgie in The Long Road slowly goes from a timid and lonely defeatist to a determined and braver dog.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Max thinks at first that the junkyard rats in The Long Road had mangled Whitey's fur. Whitey reassures him that he was just born this way, saying that he got it from his poodle mother.
  • True Companions: Max eventually considers Rocky and Gizmo more than just his best friends after all they've been through. He considers them family, and he's very happy when his owners decide to adopt Rocky and Gizmo.
  • Verbal Tic: Barbs the hyena often laughs, as expected of a spotted hyena.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Dandyclaw is angry that some dogs are trying to leave his Enclave and does a Motive Rant, ranting on how humans had abandoned their dogs and how he was the savior of dogs. When the wolves arrive, he suddenly starts crying and how he needs Precious (AKA the Chairman) with him.
    • Dolph at the end of the series is outraged at the humans interrupting his final showdown with Max and is ready to attack them. But one tranquilizer dart later, and Dolph is knocked out.
  • Wangst: In-Universe, where Rocky starts whining about how Max got his owner's home on fire and how he's now forced to be a stray. He stops as soon as Max mentions that there's food at the farm where he lives.
    Max: Weren't you just howling about how I ruined your life?
    Rocky: I just get a little cranky when I'm hungry.
  • Was Too Hard on Him: While Max is scolding Rocky and accusing him of abandoning his friends in Dark Waters, Gizmo pipes up that there's no reason to be hard on him since he was making the best of a bad situation. Max looks over at Rocky, who now looks ashamed and scared of him, and he apologizes, saying that he should've paid more attention to his friend.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The end of the series shows most of the pets being reunited, on a TV show that Max and his nephews and nieces like watching. Several endings include:
    • Panda and Possum, the two cat sisters in the house of cats, reuniting with their man.
    • Georgie and Belle reuniting with their owners and helping them clean up with filthy mansion.
    • Zephyr and the other Dalmatians being hailed as heroes for looking after the other dogs.
    • Julep and Dixie the German shepherd police dogs returning from their trip to the Praxis laboratory.
    • Spots reuniting with his brother Dots, as well as Stripes the skunk becoming a part of their family. Along with that, Tiffany the raccoon finally got recognition as a master thief.
    • Dolph the wolf having been relocated to a wildlife park, most likely giving up his quest for vengeance.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: While mostly a Black-and-White Morality story, it ultimately becomes this when Max thinks that most animals have a chance to be good. He even feels sorry for animals like Dandyclaw and The Chairman for being separated from their owners. The only exception is Dolph and his pack, whose anger keeps them going in their revenge on Max, though Max decides that not all wolves are bad.
  • You Dirty Rat!:
    • Subverted with Longtooth and his gang of subway rats in The Vanishing. He Rhymes on a Dime and is bigger than the other rats, but he's swayed when Rocky starts boasting about their long journey so far. This impresses Longtooth so much that he admits that he's faked his rhyming dialect and shows his support for the traveling dogs, even promising to spread the word to his fellow rats.
    • It's played a little more straight in The Long Road, with Flicktail and his rats. They've heard of Rocky and the tales he told and worship him like a god. But Flicktail doesn't want the dogs to leave so that they can hear stories, so they keep the traveling dogs (and a labradoodle named Whitey) as prisoners-slash-guests.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: