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Theatre / A Dog's Life

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A Dog's Life is a one-act play by Pam Valentine. It follows a day in the life of four dogs in a pound when a human comes looking to adopt. The dogs are an old mongrel named Ben, a German Shepherd named Fritz, an incredibly overweight poodle named Fifi, and a hyperactive puppy named Ginger.

This play provides examples of:

  • Berserk Button: Fifi's is her weight, Fritz's is babies, and Ben's is insulting his human.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ben is a genuinely gentle soul... right up until you press the Berserk Button detailed above.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: While Ben and Fritz are discussing their pasts:
    Fifi: I fell in love with a greyhound once.
    Fifi: Nothing.
  • Brick Joke:
    Ginger: How many humans have you had, Fritz?
    Fritz: Seven. Or is it eight?
    some time later...
    Ginger: What's fuzz? Is it food? Is it? Is it?
    Fritz: Nine! I have had nine humans.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Hoo, boy...
  • Child Hater: Fritz. It's played for laughs.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The focus of the story is on Ben, not Ginger.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mostly Fritz, but Ben also gets in a few digs.
  • Dog Stereotype: Somewhat.
    • Fifi the poodle is very French and quite spoiled, but rarely snooty about it except where Fritz is concerned.
    • Fritz the German shepherd is neither heroic nor particularly skilled, and is actually something of a Jerkass for most of the play.
    • Ben the mongrel is Street Smart, Book Dumb, and functionally the Team Dad.
    • Ginger the puppy is very sweet, but completely hyperactive.
  • Dramedy
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Ben's last words are along these lines, with a fair bit less Narm than is usually present.
    It's gone very... cold, hasn't it? I can't remember ever feeling this cold...
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Fritz. He can be downright nasty, but he's had a pretty hard life. At the end, he comforts the dying Ben and offers him some of his uneaten biscuit.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ben, after biting the human who came to adopt a dog because the warden pressed his Berserk Button.
  • Na´ve Newcomer: Ginger.
  • Nice Guy: Ben.
  • No Name Given: The humans are not named.
  • Running Gag: What's a gag? Is it food? Is it? Is it?
  • Suicide by Cop: Ben biting the visitor is functionally this, given that it causes the Warden to schedule him to be put down even sooner.
  • This Is My Human: This is how the dogs refer to their owners, although the humans are still clearly in charge.
  • The Tramp: Ben's master was one. Referring to him as such in front of Ben, however, is a spectacularly bad idea.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Fritz and Fifi have something like this going on.