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Disaster-Dodging Dog

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Oh, Crap! The army has stated Godzilla and his fellow Kaiju are burning Tokyo to the ground! Volcanoes are erupting as never before! Walls of water the size of buildings are approaching coasts worldwide! Panic ensues, people run for their lives, and, much to their chagrin, tropers like you won't spend their vacation as planned.

And then, in the middle of the chaos, as soon as everyone starts running for their lives, we see it. A small, innocent, cute dog. But this is not an ordinary dog. It is the first character on screen to notice the incoming danger, and the audience will immediately start rooting for its survival and forget about the hundreds if not thousands of humans nearby.

If the dog is never seen again after the disaster sequence, this trope leads to What Happened to the Mouse?. Not to be confused with Post-Apocalyptic Dog (though it might become one once the disaster ends). Compare Improbable Infant Survival.


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    Films — Animation 
  • In The Powerpuff Girls Movie, a dog keeps wandering into harm's way during the big battle at the end, and the girls have to keep rescuing it. It is later revealed to be the talking dog from the show, as he is among the citizens who thank the girls at the end.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • As the title implies, this trope is a common sight in disaster movies:
    • Armageddon (1998): During the initial meteor shower that destroys most of New York, a barking little bulldog survives falling down a meteor hole (his owner, who also survives, manages to keep hold of his leash and the little guy is wearing a harness so he doesn't strangle). Especially curious as apparently the meteor smashed into the guy standing right in front of them.
    • Dante's Peak: For some reason, the main characters' dog, Roughy, gets trapped between two lava rivers. Unlike many other examples, it took a fire-proof car driven by Harry Dalton and surprisingly good timing to save its skin.
    • Twister has two examples. In the movie's opening sequence Toby the dog makes it inside the family storm cellar as the F5 tornado arrives. Later in the film, an F4 tornado destroys Aunt Meg's house, but her golden retriever escapes harm. The dog helps locate Aunt Meg immediately after.
    • Volcano: As the lava flow destroys Wilshire Boulevard, a woman forgets her dog in her house. Much to her relief, it manages to run unscathed with its bone to safety.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron: As a Sokovian town is being evacuated towards the end of the film, a dog can be seen escaping from the chaos and boarding the rescue ship.
  • The titular Cute Kitten of Keanu begins the movie by running for his life as the Allentown Brothers blast up a church converted into a drug lab.
  • Godzilla (2014): Upon detecting the Male MUTO, the King of Monsters heads to Honolulu and the following movement of water generates a local tsunami. As the first wave floods the beach, a dog snaps its leash (which was tied to a palm tree) and outruns a few panicked tourists.
  • Independence Day: At the end of the movie's main disaster scene, Jasmine Dubrow (Will Smith's character's partner) forgets her dog Boomer, who is locked in her car mere seconds away from being incinerated from the incoming wall of fire. Much to our relief, Boomer manages to Outrun the Fireball and reaches its master's shelter in the nick of time.
  • In the Bad Ending of Little Shop of Horrors, there are two shots of a small dog fleeing Audrey II's rampage.
  • The Meg: A small white dog named Pippin is shown to be in peril as it swims around in the water as the titular Megalodon arrives on the scene. Pippin looks like it gets eaten, but apparently the Meg was more interested in the large crowd of beach-goers nearby; we only discover Pippin survived at the end of the movie when The Hero looks incredulously at the dog paddling away beside him. Likely a Shout-Out to Jaws, where the similarly-named pooch Pippet was not so lucky.
  • Van Helsing: During the fight with Dracula's brides, one of them picks up a whole cow and chucks it through a building with a comical "MOO!" When the fight ends, the cow emerges from the wreckage completely unharmed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The first episode of BBC docu-drama End Day centers around a megatsunami triggered by a massive eruption of the volcano Cumbre Vieja and spreading across the Atlantic. As it reaches New York, one of the first scenes has a dog getting out of a car after being abandoned by its master.
  • In the second part of the M*A*S*H episode The Bug-Out, after a shell explodes 75 feet away from Hawkeye, Radar, and some recon troops, a dog is heard barking, and a German Shepherd runs past in the background.

  • Unsounded: Dogs tend to leave right before their owners end up in horrific situations or seem to escape during battle. The author has admitted that she doesn't like killing off dogs since she considers dogs more innocent than humans.

    Web Videos