A Heroic Pet Story is a show or story that stars a non-anthropomorphic animal that regularly engages in heroic acts. Such animals are almost always pets or companion animals, however a few examples are about animals have no permanent owner but still choose to help people. Such animals are always physically normal, and in live-action shows are potrayed by real animals. They also do not talk or otherwise display sapience, nor do they have supernatural powers.
They do, however, tend to be shown as being somewhat smarter and more aware that most real life animals, and generally demonstrate a remarkable ability to follow specific instructions, usually along the lines of "Go get help, Tropey" or "Take the rope to Trope-tan, Tropey!" They will also often take the initiative to do whatever needs to be done to rescue a person. This phenomenon is known as Timmy in a Well.
Most Heroic Pet Stories center on a family that owns the pet. In these shows, the daily lives of the human characters will play an important role. However, it is the animal that will always get the title billing, and the animal will perform some act of heroism at least once an episode. Such stories will often feature A Boy and His X, in that there will be a child who has the most interaction with the animal. The child is often the character who ends up needing to be saved.
Often the pet is an outright Action Pet.
- Rex the Wonder Dog is a pet dog who is a superhero in his own right.
- Air Bud is a cross between a Heroic Pet Story and a Sports Story. Instead of saving lives, the titular dog helps a basketball team win a game.
- Beethoven: The eponymous dog saves Emily from drowning, Ryce from being raped, the family from being swindled, as well as other feats of heroism.
- The Benji series of movies is about the titular fictional dog. The eponymous canine character is a small, lovable mixed-breed dog with an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time, usually to help someone overcome a problem. In the first movie, the dog helps free kidnapped children. Latter movies have similar acts of heroism.
- Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood in an parody of the genre.
- The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin is a Western Series about a orphaned boy and his heroic German shepherd living in the wild west.
- Flipper is about a Heroic Dolphin who is adopted by the family of a Florida park ranger.
- Gentle Ben a is about young boy and his adventures with a lovable 650-pound American black bear named Ben
- Here's Boomer was an American series that followed the adventures of Boomer, a stray dog that traveled around helping people in trouble.
- Inspector Rex is an Austrian (and later Italian) series about a cop-canine partnership that combines the the Heroic Pet Story and Buddy Cop Show genres.
- Lassie is a long-running television series the featured the exploits of heroic collie dog Lassie.
- The Littlest Hobo is a Canadian television series that chronicled the journeys of an unnamed heroic German Shepherd who travelled from town to town, helping people in need.
- Katts and Dog is a Canadian series about Canine Officer Hank Katts and his canine partner. It combines the Heroic Pet Story and Buddy Cop Show genres.
- Parodied in The Hidden Almanac, with an account of a heroic border collie who woke a family in a burning house and herded them directly into the blaze, which later investigation determined the collie had started himself. (But it turned out the family were all members of a forbidden cult, so that was all right.)
- Animaniacs has the "Buttons and Mindy" shorts, which are a parody of Lassie. In these stories, Buttons goes through great pains to keep the infant child Mindy safe, only to have his exploits go completely unnoticed by Mindy's mother, who always finds a reason to scold Buttons for being a bad dog at the end of the story.
- Milo Murphy's Law has Diogee, who follows the title character around nearly every episode. ("Diogee, go home! He's not supposed to be at/in/on ________.") However, in several episodes he saves Milo when he inevitably gets into life-threatening danger, with the implication that he's consciously tailing Milo in order to protect him.