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Pet the Dog

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Nazis with kittens 5152

Blitzkrieg can vait, it'z time to pet ze kitty!


"You let one of them go, but that's nothing new. Every now and then, a little victim's spared... because she smiled, cos he's got freckles, cos they begged. And that's how you live with yourself, that's how you slaughter millions, because once in a while, on a whim, if the wind's in the right direction, you happen to be kind."
The Doctor (giving us the straight dope), Doctor Who

This term was coined by cynical screenwriters, basically meaning: show the nasty old crank petting a dog, and you show the audience, aw shucks, he's all right after all. Often used to demonstrate that a Jerkass is really a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, or, if more limited, that the character is goal oriented rather than sadistic and/or thoroughly evil. If used as an Establishing Character Moment then you skip right past the Jerkass phase. The term "Save the cat" is an alternative.

Note that the pet always survives thanks to this treatment.

A kitten is frequently substituted, especially in anime. No one who likes cats is totally evil, and no one who is mean to them is actually good.

Of course, this doesn't mean specifically petting a cute animal, but it is any sign of nobility within a morally ambiguous character.

Sub Tropes include Photo Op with the Dog, Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas, Morality Pet (a character's entire relationship with a villain is one long Pet the Dog moment).

Compare Licked by the Dog. A few ways to pet the dog include: being an Anonymous Benefactor, I Was Just Passing Through, and Even Evil Has Standards. Demonstrating Moral Myopia can also do the trick, by proving the character is not actually It's All About Me but does regard at least someone else as having rights.

Contrast Kick the Dog, Must Make Amends (when a character tries to undo or atone for having Shot The Dog), Bait the Dog (when this is darkly Subverted).

Truth in Television when you look at some public figures... or if you have an older brother.

Examples of Pet the Dog include:


Advertising Edit


Anime & Manga Edit

  • Sebastian Michaelis from Black Butler is a demon who owns the soul of the main character and will collect it someday, and has a huge soft spot for cats. Especially black ones.
  • Hiruma from Eyeshield 21:
    • He's the bossy, trigger-happy, insult-spouting Magnificent Bastard quaterback/captain of the Devil Bats, but he gets a Pet the Dog moment or two. In episode 14, Hiruma is impressed enough by the determination of Yukimitsu during the "Tower of Hell" try-outs that he lets him on the team, even though the huge bag of ice Yukimitsu had been carrying to the top of the tower had melted.
    • He and the Ha-Ha Brothers (the juvenile delinquents who used to harass Sena) get one later in the manga when they attempt to protect Mamori and Suzuna from the freakishly big and strong Gaoh (who wasn't specifically intending to hurt them, but was single-mindedly stomping up into the stands to confront a heckler).
    • Even Agon, whose described by Sena as flat out evil, shows that he's actually capable of compassion. It's implied that he wanted his brother by his side during the World Cup, despite his supposed dislike of "talent-less" people.
    • Clifford D. Louis, Jerk Jock and egomaniac gets one when he invites Sena to play at Notre Dame after the final arc.
    • Gaou's honest admiration for Marco and open liking for Worthy Opponents (like Banba, Kurita, Riku) help to humanize the massive Blood Knight.
    • Even the montrous Mr Don has a moment where he stops a stampede of fans just so he could sign a little boy's football and give him a speech about what it means to be an athlete. He passes off a chance to flirt with an attractive girl and it's not to show off. The little boy was honestly in line first and that mattered to Mr Don.
  • ~Sonic The Hedgehog: The Movie~: When Metal Sonic "kills" the real Sonic, he gives Old Man Hoot the clothes that he was apparently planning to leave him in his will.
  • Galvatron, of all people, gets one in Transformers Headmasters, part of the Takara anime series. He's moved to genuine sorrow and anger when Soundwave is killed, suggesting there's something halfway decent beneath the arrogant psychopath he normally appears as.
  • One Piece:
    • When we first meet Captain Smoker, we're led to assume he's a ruthless commander. However, to show he's not such a bad guy, we get a scene with a little girl accidentally spilling her ice cream cone on Smoker, and the girl's father freaking out because a superhuman monster has just been offended by his daughter, and Smoker leans down... and almost worriedly says, "Oh gosh. My pants ate your ice cream. They're so mean--here's some money to buy some more, okay?" And he hands her the series' equivalent of fifty dollars, or some other ridiculous amount.Smoker winds up as more of a respectful antagonist of the Straw Hats than the Knight Templar or corrupt government agent archetype that most One Piece Naval captains fit.
    • Zoro's own moment way back at the beginning is played in a very similar way. Up until then, he was hyped as a heartless monster, but when he eats a poorly-cooked and filthy rice ball a sweet little girl he saved earlier made for him, and asks Luffy to tell her it was good, you know he's a massive softy at heart.
    • In chapter 650, Akainu and Aokiji had a death match to decide who would become the Fleet Admiral. After a massive battle that lasted ten days, Akainu emerges the victor. But he decides to spare Aokiji despite the latter vehemently opposing his ideals and promotion.
  • Subverted in Azumanga Daioh with the Dirty Old Man Mr. Kimura. The characters spot him picking up trash and feeding stray animals, and suspect he may not be so bad after all... then they overhear an inappropriate comment of his and decide nope, he's still a pervert.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Riza Hawkeye's softer side is best shown whenever she's around her beloved pet dog, Black Hayate. Although her training methods are a bit harsh...
    • Roy Mustang also has a moment in the same episode. "Dog, huh? ...I LOVE dogs!" This is a subversion, as he explains that he likes dogs because you can "treat them like a jerk and they'll still love you".
    • Manga Pride shows...something at least close to affection for Mrs. Bradley. He tells a story at one point of Mrs. Bradley risking her life to save him from a car (not knowing that he would have been unhurt). The selflessness of the action shocked Pride, and he remarks that he'd never before known what it was like to have a mother, and called the time he'd spent with her "pleasant".
    • Scar in the manga, who first appears as a hypocritical murder who goes around killing alchemists and then turns out to be a cat (and apparently, panda) loving person.
  • Alluded to in the Digimon Adventure 02 series, when the homicidal BlackWarGreymon takes a fondness for a flower and a child Agumon. He is not evil, so much as angsty, and is destroying things to find a purpose for his synthetic life.
  • Psychopath Desty Nova from Battle Angel Alita gets this sort of moment only in unreality, when he's in Alita's mind trying to remake her memories and trap her in virtual reality. Part of the illusion puts him in the role of her father figure. They share a truly empathic moment where Nova no longer seems insane, and he wishes that the moment could last forever... then he tries to defend Alita from the approaching "monster" even though (in the virtual-reality) it seems to be working toward a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • In Ranma One Half, Bumbling jerk of a dad Genma is shown tucking in a sleeping Ranma like a small child in one story. It subverted later, however, when Ranma wakes up and notices his food all eaten with a sign left saying "Yum!"
  • Doctor Clive in Haré+Guu is kind to Marie, even wearing the ridiculous outfits she gives him.
  • Hellsing: Alucard gets one when he pats Seras on the head and smiles fondly at her.
    • Anderson acts very friendly towards the children back in the orphanage, and hoped he could bring them to the museum where Maxwell and Integra had their talk.
  • Subverted in Monster. Sure, it looks like Johan has a soft spot for children, volunteering at an orphanage between murdering in cool blood and preparing himself to become the next Adolf Hitler, but that's only until you hear the disturbing ideas he's planting in their impressionable little minds...
    • Subverted again at around the same time: Johan reuniting Schuwald with his long lost son was heartwarming...until it became immediately apparent that he did it to stall the investigation into the death of Schuwald's original suspected "long lost son" (who he killed). And when the private investigator tries to pursue the case anyways, he Mind Rapes the guy and pushes him to his death. Yeah, Johan's kind of a dick.
    • He also has a touching moment just before this where he sheds Tender Tears over Karl's Orphan's Ordeal, which will really do your head in by Fridge Horror once you get a few issues further into the story. The possibility the tears might still be real only adds Mind Screw to the already fairly Mind Screwy characterization.
    • Johan has Dissociative Identity Disorder. One is the title character and the other is a kind soul who sincerely wants to stop the monster inside him. The problem is that the two personalities are very similar and you can never tell which is in charge. However, he has a genuine moment of Pet the Dog when he buys a balloon and gives a prostitute money to get her life back in order. Right after his monster personality had a woman killed because she thought she could screw him over.
  • Gash Bell:
    • Subverted in one episode, Kiyomaro and Gash see a giant-sized young man carting along a boy holding a spell book. The giant is shown helping kids in trouble, fixing a broken-winged bird, and helping little old ladies; they assume the giant is a kind "mamodo" (demon), but then are confused when they see him and the boy conjuring up a plan to destroy an elementary school. As it turns out, the boy was the mamodo, and he was downright rotten.
    • Played straight during the Faudo Arc during Rodeux's final moments when it was revealed that he had been trying to get his human partner to overcome her depression over an eye injury. Up to that point he had been shown to be a plain Jerkass.
  • Kyon in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Generally said, his treatment of Yuki Nagato, going so far as to threaten to use Haruhi to reconstruct the universe because of her. Given to that he previously was presented as an apathetic cynic, this is a good way to go.
  • Spiral's Eyes, Kousuke and Rio are originally portrayed as sociopaths, perfectly comfortable with killing anyone that gets in their way... and rather violently, especially in the manga. Eyes recalls killing several animals, culminating in a husky he strangled with a wire. There is a slight twist when Eyes is completely unaffected by the death of the cat he and Kousuke had just fed, but the camaraderie they show towards each other in later episodes, and their mutual concern for Rio while she's in the hospital somewhat negate it. Once Ryoko, Kanone and the Hunters are thrown into the mix, it becomes apparent that the Blade Children aren't inherently evil; they're just trying to survive. Twisted, but not evil.
  • In Deadman Wonderland apparently Ax Crazy Senji (aka Crow) cheers for Ganta at the latter's second match and gives Ganta's move's a name despite having had an eye surgically removed because he lost to Ganta at his first match. Meanwhile, mole You's brutal behavior is because 1) he's in prison and 2) he needs to save as much money as he can to buy his little sister's freedom. Ironically she probably doesn't deserve it. Genkaku, shown in a flashback to his past, was revealed to have a humanizing moment while taking care of a small, wounded kitty. Unfortunately for everyone, it dies.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Piccolo was pure evil. Then he gets stuck raising his archenemy's adorable little son, who doesn't understand why people don't think he's just awesome. Piccolo develops a soft spot for Gohan, performs a Heroic Sacrifice on his behalf, and, despite some early denial, is an official good guy from there on out. Some fans even believe Piccolo to be a better parent than Goku or ChiChi, Gohan's biological parents. Piccolo also got the chance to pet many other dogs after that, most notably Dende and the planet Namek, which he actually started caring about. The original Piccolo wouldn't have given them a second thought.
    • Vegeta gets several, becoming more and more obvious, but the first that was definitely intended as such is when he gets together with Bulma; has a son, Trunks; reacts to protect his son's life; and is then is later motivated by the lives of his wife and son throughout the Buu Saga.
    • Same thing happens to Fat Buu with an actual dog, and earlier than that, him healing a blind kid.
    • Android 16 is revealed to be a Friend to All Living Things, despite being on a mission to murder the kindest person on the planet.
  • Fakir from Princess Tutu has what you could call a "Pet the Duck" moment--when the typically cold and angry boy finds Ahiru (in her duck form) in his locker, he sneaks her under his coat, takes her outside, and then proceeds to feed her bread. He smiles at her before walking away. This happens a couple other times, until he's crying next to a lake and she swims up to him, where he actually HUGS A DUCK... which becomes priceless in another manner entirely when he finds out that said duck was his classmate.
  • Paul von Oberstein in Legend of the Galactic Heroes is, if not evil, an unashamedly unlikable guy, to the point of letting a planet of people die because it would be good propaganda (in the anime anyway). However, in the second season we learn that he has taken in and dotes upon an elderly dalmatian he found in the street. Though we only see it once on screen it's mentioned a few more times, most notably his last words are to request someone take care of the dog. In his case, it doesn't indicate his underlying heart of gold. He's just a jerk who really likes his dog.
  • In The Prince of Tennis, Ryoma Echizen and Kaoru Kaidoh are aloof, asocial, and kind of jerks sometimes. But the episode "Karupin's Adventure" showed that they both adore petting the cat, since Ryoma freaks out when he realizes his beloved Himalayan cat Karupin has been out of home and almost cries when his sempai return it to him, and a scene prior to the return has Kaidoh playing with the kitten and later blushing when one of his sempais notices he's in a good mood despite not dropping his antisocial facade.
  • Berserk:
    • The Count, the first major demon we see, has a young daughter named Theresia, the one thing he still cares about. When he's dying from Guts's attack, the Godhand give him a chance to be regenerated... if he sacrifices her. Anyone who makes a deal with the Godhand is destined to go to Hell when they're destroyed. The Count's choice: he dies, rather than give his daughter to the Godhand.
    • Father Mozgus is a Complete Monster, obsessed with torture and execution of "heretics". His assembled inquisitorial squad is composed of freaks...freaks that he personally rescued and gave a chance at something better. The man's priorities are backward, but he does have a charitable side.
    • Even post-Eclipse Griffith has a pet the dog moment when he saves none other than Casca from some falling rocks when his new lackey Nosferatu Zodd was fighting Guts and caused their cave home to collapse.
    • Also Gambino, who literally pet the dog... at the same time kicking the dog several seconds later. That poor dog.
  • For a large part of Petite Princess Yucie, Beth doesn't seem to be an overly sympathetic character--until you find out how she lets her fairy assistant spend the night.
  • Subverted in Tekkaman Blade II, where the new Tekkamen are shocked to see the alien Tekkamen they've been fighting mourn the death of one of them during a battle. They're actually reluctant to finish the battle once they realize the enemy is human (so to speak), until Aki transforms into a Tekkaman herself and proceeds to brutally slaughter the aliens herself.
  • Detective Conan:
  • Jinnai to Ifurita in the last episode of El Hazard: The Wanderers: "You did a good job." Too bad she wasn't awake to hear it.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima:
    • Chachamaru literally Pet The Cat(s) when she - after performing many acts of kindness in town from catching errant balloons stuck in trees to helping old ladies cross the overpass - rescued a stray kitten in a box going down a river, which followed her afterwards implying she knew the animal. From this the heroes tailed her to discover that she feeds and takes care of a number of stray cats in her spare time. This made for quite a very happy scene, so naturally, the pair of heroes said (with Tender Tears) "Aww! She's not so bad!". The more Cynical Chamo (who has a Heart Of Gold as well) reminded them she's a robot.
    • Known Jerkass Tosaka turned his character around a bit when he protected Ako from giving up her slave rights to safety, called off his blackmail of Negi, saying he was just bored, and later told Negi in all details that his Missing Mom, Princess Arika, was a really sweet person whom he looked up to. He denies being a good character in almost every appearance thereafter... Even right after his biggest Pet the Dog moment ever: his Heroic Sacrifice to save Ako's life.
    • During his fight with Rakan, Fate pets the dog. In a flashback anyway. Turns out his minions' loyalty stems from the care he gave them as orphans from the great war, and they are just the ones who chose to stay with him--he sent the other 57 off to school. Even Rakan notes that it's surprisingly nice of Fate. Granted, Fate's boss is the one who caused the war in the first place, but taking care of the war orphans is far from the more normal Big Bad tactics of killing everyone. Combined with his sudden growth spurt and visible emotions, Fate seems quite different.

 Anon #1: Fate Tertium Averruncus promotes destruction of entire civilizations, squishing innocent passerby with giant monoliths, and completing primary education. What a nice chap.

Anon #2: Well it's only fair that they have a future before he destroys it.

  • Inuyasha:
  • Subverted by Precia Testarossa in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. After many episodes of Fate insisting that her mother, Precia, had a good side deep within her, we finally get to see Fate's precious memory of a kind Precia playing with a younger her. Then we get to the end of the episode, where Precia reveals in a thoroughly nasty way that even when this moment truly happened... Fate is a clone, said precious memory wasn't hers but of her original, Precia's daughter Alicia, oh, and that she had always hated Fate for not being a perfect Replacement Goldfish of poor Alicia and would prefer it if she died, effectively turning her Pet the Dog moment into a Moral Event Horizon.
    • Other villains in the series get straighter Pet the Dog moments. Even Mad Scientist Jail Scaglietti got one in StrikerS Sound Stage X when all he requested in exchange for important information on the current incident's Big Bad and Mysterious Waif was enough wine for one so he can properly honour the death anniversary of one of the Numbers. Just shows how much of a monster and absolutely over-the-top case of Love Makes You Evil Precia is.
    • Fate, during her early days as an antagonist, has a straight and often literal example with Arf. She, encountering a dying wolf cub, risks her life with her self-taught skills in forming contracts with familiars to save her. When Arf learns that familiars vanish after fulfilling their contracts, Fate decides to leave the terms of the contract open so that Arf can stay alive. Arf thus follows Fate out of personal loyalty and a debt of gratitude.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Nakago gets one of these in a flashback revealing he rescued Soi from being gang-raped.
    • Suboshi also gets a major Pet the Dog moment when he gives his twin older brother Amiboshi a potion that will make him lose all memory, including memory of Suboshi himself, so that Amiboshi can live a happy, innocent life. Given that Amiboshi is Suboshi's last living family member, and that Suboshi had been absolutely devastated when he earlier thought Amiboshi to be dead (enough to slaughter the whole family of the guy he thought of as the murderer), it's actually one of the most legitimately moving sacrifices in the series.
    • Soi's moments of vulnerability with Nakago, of all people, serve this function.
  • In the Osamu Tezuka manga/tokusatsu Ambassador Magma, Goa likes children despite being the Big Bad of the series.
  • Xanxus in Katekyo Hitman Reborn gets one with a touching families stick together speech in the Future Arc... Right before blasting an enemy apart.
    • Hibari, who treats fellow humans like trash, is a softie when it comes to his cute pets. And in the recent chapters, he clarifies that he compared his companions to small animals not as insults because he believes that small animals have upstanding ways of living and surviving.
  • Touka in Saki initially appears to be an arrogant Alpha Bitch. The series then proceeds to throw so many Pet the Dog moments at her, that by the end, she probably qualifies for sainthood.
  • Vanilla from Kaiba is a corrupt and callous ship's sheriff who takes bribes as a matter and is perfectly willing to summarily execute stowaways. (In Kaiba, people's memories can be stored on chips and transferred to other bodies, so this is not quite as bad as it seems, but Vanilla still shows no remorse for the execution even after the stowaway was found not to have transferred her memories to a chip.) His lecherous infatuation with Chroniko (Kaiba in a young girl's body) is also really creepy. Eventually, though, it is revealed that Vanilla became a sheriff in order to raise enough money to buy a body for his mother, and that deep down he genuinely cares about Chroniko, to the point that when they are being shot at by police, he transfers Kaiba's rather than his own memories to another body, sacrificing himself in the process.
  • All Diclonii and Slipets in Elfen Lied are dog petters by default. Diclonii will kill anyone, men, women, children, their own parents. However, not one instance is ever noted of one harming an animal, with the anime showing a dog even biting a diclonius, and the diclonius just petting it to make it feel better.
  • In Darker Than Black, Dolls are a frequent outlet for characters to do their dog-petting. Dolls are people who have been left shells of their former selves, and it's indicated that Complete Monsters enterprising people are fond of selling them as sex slaves. Both the protagonists and their more sympathetic antagonists treat the Dolls they work with kindness, and some of those characters evidence a willingness to kill anyone who harms those Dolls.
  • Light Yagami gets a couple of these in Death Note, both with family members. He offers to run an errand on his sister's behalf, with no apparent ulterior motive - this gets him into position to commit one of his most heinous acts of the first arc, when he tricks and murders Naomi Misora. Much later, in the manga, he talks his father out of quitting his police job; the motive is purely that Soichiro has risen to the top of his profession and Light can't let him give it all up. Again, this is despite the fact that Light's own actions are responsible for the Kira case, which is destroying Soichiro, and that in a few chapters' time Light will rationalise, accept and plan for Soichiro's murder, although he never has to carry it out. While over in animeland that doesn't happen, Light is so far gone by the same point in the anime that when he can't go through with the murder of his sister, it manages to come off as a Pet the Dog!
    • Can't Shoot The Dog?
  • Dr. Franken Stein. Violent. Borders on Insane. Repeatedly stated, once by himself, to be incapable of love. Hugs Marie and lets her cry into his chest when her New Old Flame B.J. dies.
  • Keith Green of Project ARMS is completely bloodthirsty and loves killing people...and falls in love with Katsumi when he's secretly holding her prisoner (she thinks he's just protecting her from further harm). And when he finds out that she'll be used for some dangerous purpose, he tries to help her escape.
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Rich Bitch Eva Ushiromiya is shown to truly love her husband Hideyoshi, and gets several touching scenes with him- their conversation in the first arc in particular. Arguably their relationship in itself counts if only for how happy they are together.
  • Gendou Ikari, of all people, gets some in Rebuild of Evangelion. It was helped along by a hallucination, but that he actually wishes to reconnect with Shinji says a lot for a man like him.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, Russia may be a Psychopathic Manchild, but he does truly care about his older sister Ukaine (his scarf that he wears all the time was a gift from her). And there was that one time Lithuania falls asleep and wakes up on a relatively sane Russia's shoulder.
    • Prussia, who has Jerkass tendencies, gave Hungary his cloak when her shirt was ripped.
      • And he also fawns over what/who he finds cute, like his pet chick and North Italy.
    • Switzerland would be a lot less likeable if it wasn't for the fact that he dotes on his adopted sister all the time.
    • In Chibitalia's stories, Austria is portrayed as the Stern Teacher. But when Holy Roman Empire left and Chibitalia was late for work because he was saying goodbye to HRE, he told Chibitalia to take the day off. And later he and Hungary were seen doing his chores for him.
      • Austria gets another, somewhat lesser, one in regards to Chibitalia earlier on when he lets Chibitalia sit and listen to him practice piano instead of sending him off back to work when he notices him listening at the door.
  • Genjou Sanzo from Saiyuki gets a ton of these. One that particularly works well is when, during "Burial" arc of Reload, he comes upon a sleeping Goku, smiles, and comments that Goku looks like a "daifuku." (A Japanese dessert, made of soft glutinous rice with some sweet filling within. He's saying Goku's got cute baby fat.) He then decides to let the kid sleep for a little longer.
  • In Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai, Midori knows that Akira, although very reserved, has a soft side since the day she saw him take home an abandoned kitten.
  • In Beauty Pop, Ozawa gets one by returning the scissors that his boss had stolen from Kiri. Sure, they were busted anyway, but it's the thought that counts.
  • Yakushi Kabuto from Naruto, an affable, manipulative, magnificent and sadistic bastard, yet he has several instances of this, like healing Hinata while being disguised as an ANBU, willingly providing information about Orochimaru's lair to Naruto as well as information of Akatsuki to Konoha, and recently it is hinted that he deliberately guided Konoha's intelligence team to Madara's base of operations. Although his true motives are still unknown.
  • A manga Expanded Universe tie-in to Star Wars gives Darth Vader a rather bizarre sort of Pet the Dog moment shortly before the events of Return of the Jedi. He massacres a group of Jedi survivors but takes a boy named Tao from the group as a secret apprentice (gamers may remember how badly this worked out for him last time). He tries to make Tao hate him and through hatred embrace The Dark Side but ends up finding both Tao's and his own hatred rather lacking. Eventually Palpatine catches him, and having somewhat better memory than Vader, is furious and forces Vader to cut him open with his lightsaber to cause a lingering, painful death. Vader secretly smuggles back to his ruined homeworld and gives him a dignified burial complete with a grave marker, and shows actual bona fide sadness and remorse. Now keep in mind, this is Darth fucking Vader, and the events that would redeem him haven't happened yet. The canonicity of this manga is for now indeterminate but rather dubious.
  • Subverted in Parasyte when Shinichi's girlfriend starts worrying that he's slowly becoming a sociopath (a side effect of the parasite Migi partially breaking off into his bloodstream), she is adamantly relieved when she finds him comforting a dying puppy. Looks like her fears are unconfirmed after all...At least until he casually tosses its corpse into a trashcan.
    • Doubly subverted, though, when after his girlfriend leaves Shinichi realizes how cold and inhuman he was becoming, pulls the pup dog out of the trashcan, and finds a tree to bury it under instead.
  • In Attack of The Prehistoric Pokémon, Ash thought that his Charmeleon evolved into Charizard to rescue him from an Aerodactyl, only for Charizard to Flamethrower him in the face, indicating that Charizard's attitude hasn't changed upon evolution. However, when Aerodactyl was put to sleep by Jigglypuff's singing, he drops Ash, and Charizard quickly saves Ash from falling to his death. Next time Charizard appears, he's still a disobedient Wild Card. Makes one wonder...
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Then-Dragon Kisara is shown petting the dog, or rather cat, thus endearing her to fellow rabid cat-lover Miu and eventually leading to her break with Ragnarok and joining the side of good.
    • Much more recently, Saiga Furinji had his very own Pet the Dog moment by disabling attacking opponents without actually killing them, administering medicine for one ally's paralyzed arm, and commending Kenichi for his effort in protecting Miu.

  Saiga: (to Kenichi) A man like you is worth trusting.

  • Great Teacher Onizuka: Tomoko serves this purpose for Miyabi and Urumi (rather literally in Urumi's case, as the first thing Urumi does upon reuniting with Tomoko after a long absence is to make her sit, beg, and roll over).
    • It's played more straight when the picture that Urumi hid behind a massive firewall was a picture of a young Miyabi, Tomoko and Urumi as friends.
    • Also with the Vice Principal Uchiyamada who loves his daughter more than anything.
  • In Durarara, despite being a HUGE Jerkass, Izaya only shows to care for Shinra the most. This might have to do with something that happened during middle school (which is implied to be Izaya stabbing Shinra who tried to befriend him during that time) and Izaya regretting what he did because the mention of what happens sends him into silence. In retrospect, Shinra is not really involved in any of his plans (might have to do because he’s The Medic). Finally, during the Valentine’s extra in the novel, Shinra is depressed during Valentine’s Day because Celty wouldn’t want chocolate because she wouldn’t be able to eat it. Izaya comes over and convinces him to go out and buy chocolate for her because it was the thought that counted.
    • His whole past in volume 9 is full of this. He befriends Shinra because he's interested in "observing" him. However, the two really seem to hit off a good friendship in middle school. And then Shinra takes a knife wound for him when a student named Nakura tries to stab Izaya. Izaya panics the entire time until he gets it together and asks Shinra to lie about who stabbed him so he can get revenge on Nakura for causing him harm. To everyone else outside of this event, they label Shinra as his only friend.
  • "You... you... bastard son! Do as you wish! I DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT IT!"
  • In Tiger and Bunny, the first hint that Barnaby isn't really the Glory Hound he often acts like is when he saves Kotetsu's daughter Kaede out of view of any cameras or witnesses other than Kotetsu himself in the second episode.
  • Cross Marian from D.Gray-man is a Trickster Mentor towards protagonist Allen, also being a Heroic Sociopath and Mooching Master. However, he's shown to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold when he embraces Allen after he told the latter that he was implanted with the Fourteenth's memories and it will eventually overwrite Allen's personality.
    • Also, in chapter 208 where Cross did the laundry and cooking (despite his annoyance and frustration) for an unresponsive Allen when he first found the boy. Keep in mind Cross is a very vain and arrogant man who even stated out loud that he only lets beautiful people near him. The fact he was willing to clean and cook for Allen is very touching.
    • And let's not forget that Cross was genuinely sad when he learned that his ex-girlfriend Anita had died, and the only thing keeping her sort-of alive was Miranda's powers, and he praised her strength.
  • In the Ace Attorney manga, Robin Wolfe's treatment of his Hikkimori spider fanatic brother Bobby subverts this. Robin built a guest house called the "Den of Spiders", full of Bobby's collection of spiders and spider books, and it is revealed that it took a considerable amount of money to get all this and feed the spiders. However, the Den is also equipped with a chair with restraints, supposedly to protect Bobby from harming himself, but actually to keep him out of sight. Robin apparently sent Bobby on an errand to another city to give him work experience and confidence (which pleased him to be useful to his brother), as no company would hire him, but it was actually a ruse to get him away from home so he could use the Den of Spiders to torment Eddie Johnson, driving him to suicide. Bobby sees through most of Robin's attempts to seem like a loving older brother, and realizes Robin hates him. However, Lira, while saying that she hated her father for killing Eddie, but once loved him as her father, recalls a fond memory of him (badly) drawing her picture.


Comics Edit

  • The Cartoon History of the Universe discusses the concept of selective kindness in talking about inter-cultural relationships: tender to their own people, callously brutal to everyone else.

  Barbarian Chief, doting over his wife while being surrounded by piles of corpses: Ooh, honey, did you hurt your finger?

  • Kingdok from Bone prepares and brings food to the two stupid rat creatures for inadvertently doing him a favor. Unlike most examples, Kingdok actually retains most of his scariness and menace as he's doing this.
  • Lobo of The DCU parodies this: he is a relentless killing machine who often kills his bounties instead of capturing them, yet at the same time has a soft spot for "space dolphins". But he did once spare Aquaman's life because he felt he couldn't hurt somebody who loved dolphins as much as he did.
  • Vril Dox has a couple of these in L.E.G.I.O.N. Right before he is raped and killed, he confesses to his unconscious teammates that he really does care about them, but he doesn't really know how to express that. When Lyrissa Mallor dies, he mourns for her, believing that without her, L.E.G.I.O.N. would not have gotten as far as it did. When Vril Dox finally gets to see his son, after Stealth believed that he would become just as controlling as he was of the rest of the group, Vril remembers his father being a controlling jerk, and himself being controlling to the Durlan. So he lets the mother have the child. awww.
  • Catwoman obviously can't pet a dog without ruining the motif, but she's been subjected to a number of Pet The Cat moments, a prime example being the ending of this web-toon. She's not the least bit disappointed that she wound up saving kitties instead of stealing gemstones.
  • Edward Blake in Watchmen has a couple of moments like this. The first is when he is talking to a teenaged Laurie and tilts her chin up to look at her eyes, which he says are like her mother's. It turns out that she's his daughter, and he looks a little sad when Sally Jupiter drags her daughter away from him. The second instance of this for him is when he cries after finding out about Adrian Veidt's plan to achieve world peace by killing millions worldwide. He even cries when talking about this to an old archenemy, who he says is "the closest thing I have to a friend." Considering that Blake has several instances where he could be said to cross the Moral Event Horizon, these moments are probably sorely needed for his character.
  • Hellboy is a huge demon with enough strength to tear a car in half. He is the Badass to end all badasses. As such, his action figure comes with the following props: A six-pack of beer, a revolver, and a... kitty?! Yes, the son of Satan is a cat-lover.
    • Also in the film Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Prince Nuada had a literal pet the dog moment. Justified by the fact that his big problem is with humans overrunning the planet and pushing out other species, so it's natural that he's a lot nicer to dogs than humans.
  • Artist Katie Cook [1] draws figures like Darth Vader and General Grievous playing with kittens in her Star Wars: Clone Wars comics.
  • In Negation, the Saurian party member subverts her pet the Kaliman retriever moment when she names him "tasty treat" in her people's language.
  • In one Far Side comic, a band of unruly Vikings, after successfully sacking a castle and stealing its women, are eagerly awaited at their ship by the crew's dog. As Gary Larson says on this in The Prehistory of The Far Side:

 "...I was trying to suggest that it doesn't really matter what you do for a living or how big a jerk you are, your dog still likes to see you come home."

  • In Punisher War Journal, the Rhino has a few. First, he writes an apology letter to the widow of a cop he had accidentally killed and sends her money with each score he pulls off. Second, in the last issue he convinces the Punisher to leave the Stilt-Man gang alone (on Christmas no less) because he could tell they were just stupid, not evil.
  • Dr. Octopus from Spider-Man has gotten a few pet the dog moments over the decades, including trying to save Aunt May from Hammerhead and trying to develop a cure for AIDS in order to save his ex girl friend.
  • In the climax of the Drowning Man arc, Deadpool shows us that he's given up on redemption by locking Blind Al in The Box, severely beating Weasel, and... petting Deuce the Devil Dog on the head.
  • When Gotham City is destroyed by an earthquake, usual Batman villain Poison Ivy takes over the city park and makes it a haven for the city's orphaned children, caring for them like her own children. When the police see her as a dangerous terrorist and try to take back control, the herbicidal chemicals they use poisons one of the girls inside, and Poison Ivy chooses to give herself up to save her life.
  • While Emma Frost of the X-Men is still a bitch after joining the team, she gets more than enough Pet the Dog moments around X-23/Laura Kinney. While at first seemingly hostile to the younger girl due to her being a female clone of Wolverine that was created solely as an assassin. It's eventually revealed that this is because Emma see's the same capacity to hurt others in Laura that she had when she was younger with the main difference being that the latter has no choice in the matter due to her conditioning to a "trigger scent" (which sends X into a berseker rage). Later on, we see Emma eventually warm up to Laura to the point where whenever whenever we see Emma in one of X-23's books, it more often than not involves her lamenting on how they've failed to treat her right.
  • Seen in both Garfield and Get Fuzzy, where the cats in those comics are horrible to their owners and the dogs they live with, but lavish affection on their stuffed bears, Pookie and Smacky, respectively.
    • Bucky himself gets the rare one now and then. One that stands out in particular is when Rob and Satchel leave to go donate blood. They return to find that Bucky had baked cookies for them and decorated the living room with balloons and a banner welcoming them home.
  • In the beginning of the Punisher: Max comic Kitchen Irish, Frank is eating lunch in a diner when a bomb goes off in the pub across the street. People all around him get butchered when the diner's large window shatters, and once the debris settle he finds a man whose chest had been shattered, revealing his heart, giving the following Pet The Dog moment from Frank.

 Injured Man: "help me."

Castle: So I do. For no reason I can pin down it becomes very important that this guy makes it. Maybe he has a wife and kids. Maybe he wants to see them again like nothing else on Earth.

    • Frank works on keeping the man's exposed heart from bleeding out, and when a rookie EMT gets there they spend an hour working together on the man before finally succeeding in stabilizing him.


Fan Works Edit

  • Luminosity: Santiago works for the Volturi, who are...not nice people. And yet, she appears to genuinely care about everyone she works with, to the point of giving children dance lessons and needing Chelsea to cut a bond to a human so she doesn't mourn too much.
  • ~I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC~. Green Goblin seems to actually care for Harley Quinn, and gets angry whenever the Joker hits her.
  • The My Little Pony/Sonic the Hedgehog Crossover Chaotic Harmony: Sonic is a huge Jerkass thanks to no action over the course of a year. He completely ruined Cream's birthday party, split all ties with his friends, and thought about deserting his friends in Ponyville after they were transported via Chaos Control. But even after all of that, he couldn't resist helping Rarity finding her missing goggles that she needed to finish her design. (That Sonic helped model, no less.)


Films -- Animation Edit

 Ursula: BABIES! MY POOR LITTLE POOPSIES!

  • A more heroic example - throughout the beginning of Tangled, Flynn steals a tiara from the royal family (one which is so highly valued because it belonged to the king and queen's kidnapped daughter, no less), betrays and abandons his partners in crime to keep it for himself, and constantly tries to weasel out of his deal with Rapunzel, which leads to him taking her into a bar full of thugs to try to scare her into going home. When the thugs find out that he's got a bounty on his head and trap the pair in the bar though, Flynn shields Rapunzel from them.
  • The Lorax. During the Once-ler's Villain Song "How Bad Can I Be", he sings: "Just look at me petting this puppy."


Films -- Live-Action Edit

  • Ilsa, Indy's Bond Girl and the perfect embodiment of an Aryan antagonist in The Last Crusade, reveals herself to be a villain when she tricks Indy into giving up an important Plot Coupon. She's a Nazi, but she's also a dedicated scholar and archaeologist who earns our sympathy when she weeps at the sight of her countrymen burning books. Doesn't save her from a Karmic Death, mostly because of her being Too Dumb to Live.
  • In the movie Sin Nombre we see the protagonist bringing a child to be violently initiated into a local gang. So far he seems evil, but he soon pets the dog when he visits his girlfriend, with whom he appears to have a loving relationship.
  • Face Off, Troy tying his dead brother's shoes; and to a lesser extent, beating the shit out of the boyfriend.
  • Clint Eastwood's character in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, despite being "the Good" did lots of morally ambiguous or out-right wrong things. However, we are shown a seconds-long scene of him petting a tiny kitten, and before the climax he is shown comforting a dying soldier, so he may be merely a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • Another one is a scene after the two stay at the monastery. Tuco leaves after an intense argument over their chosen lives with his brother who became a monk. Tuco is visibly saddened, though upon seeing Blondie he praises his brother greatly and tells him what a great dinner he had. Blondie, being the smarter of the two, is not fooled but he plays the game saying something along the lines that there's nothing like a good smoke after a good meal and offering Tuco one of his trademark cigars. This to a man who wanted to walk him to death through the desert. Eastwood tried to do the same thing to him earlier in the movie for no reason. So its not like he didn't deserve it.
  • In the movie The Watcher, Keanu Reeves' character pets a dog. The subversion comes from the fact that the dog belonged to the women he strangled with piano wire seconds ago.
  • In the very first scene of Beetlejuice, Adam is established as a decent person in an unusual way. A large spider is crawling around his model construction of the local town, so what does Adam do? He gently picks up the spider, remarks on its unusual size, and releases it outside.
  • The rescued rabbit featured in the 1982 movie Local Hero seemed to exist purely for this purpose.
  • Captain Von Trapp has many of these moments in The Sound of Music, but most notable is his sudden affection to his children when he returns home, finds his children singing, and suddenly sings with them, and then to them. The Von Trapp children react with shock and/or crying, and at the end of the song, they all embrace him. (Also a Pet the Dog moment for the actor, Christopher Plummer, who didn't like working with children, and distanced himself from them. Allegedly, the children's reactions were genuine when filming this scene, since it gave them the feeling that he actually liked them.)
  • At the end of Dogville, after Grace has her mob associates kill every man, woman and child in town, she specifically tells them not to kill a dog.
  • Made of Honor does this quite literally, several times over, to show that the protagonist isn't a total @$$hole. He even kisses the dog.
  • The TV movie A Is for Acid featured mass murderer John Haigh adopting a dog, taking good care of it, and breaking down in tears when it finally died. The reason the dog needed adopting in the first place was that he killed its owners and dumped them in a vat of acid to cover it up, but there you go.
  • The main villain in Vantage Point amasses a rather large list of crimes over the course of the few hours in which the movie takes place, including killing many civilians, is unable to run over a little girl, ultimately proving to be his undoing - his van crashes and he is caught.
  • In Duel, the villainous truck driver rescues a broken down school bus between attempts to kill the man who dared to pass him on the road. It seems there's some very laser guided road rage at work.
  • As Good As It Gets features, in quick succession, a character getting both Kick the Dog and Pet the Dog moments that involve a literal dog. (The Kick the Dog scene is more for laughs, though.)
  • Literal example: Frost/Nixon has the defeated and broken ex-President pet a dachshund after admitting his guilt in the Watergate scandal. Nixon was the avowed master of dog-petting. (See Real-Life examples, below.)
  • The Nome King in Return to Oz actually comforts a crying Dorothy, and offers her a way to rescue the Scarecrow- which quickly transforms into a deathtrap as he transforms from an Elemental Embodiment to a particularly vile near-human. Whether or not the King's sympathy was ever genuine is up for debate.
    • Further, after all the other members of Dorothy's group have entered the Death Trap and she's awaiting her turn, the Nome King even offers to send her back to Kansas, albeit without changing her friends back. This all might have more to do with the King being Affably Evil rather then genuine kindness on his part. Again, a matter of debate.
  • Nicky Santoro in Casino is a, vice-toting individual with a terrifying Hair-Trigger Temper, but after a night of crime and general violence, he always comes back home to make his son breakfast.
  • Preston in Equilibrium does his Heel Face Turn from Villain Protagonist to hero when he rescues an adorable puppy dog from execution by the cold-blooded enforcers of his dystopic government.
  • Nastily subverted in Schindler's List. Amon Goeth seems intrigued by the concept of showing occasional mercy, and waves off a concentration camp inmate with "I pardon you." He then repeats the phrase to a mirror... which is followed by him sniping the "pardoned" man from his balcony.
  • In the Lethal Weapon series, Riggs starts out as a borderline Ax Crazy killing machine. Then, after slaughtering his way through the first two films, he refuses point blank to kill a guard dog. Instead he makes friends with it (by sharing his dog biscuits), then steals it. He was already on his way to being a nicer guy, but this was the proof that he was now just a slightly wacky cop (with a two-digit body count).
  • Near the end of The Departed, Colin Sullivan attempts to pet a neighbor's dog in the hallway of his apartment building, but the dog shies away.
  • October Sky has a classic example: Homer Hickham's father stops yelling at his son briefly to go rescue his son's friend, who is being beaten by his drunken stepfather. After threatening him and sending him on his way, Hickham comes right back and continues to yell at Homer, proving that he is a good man.
  • In The Fly 2 (the sequel to the Cronenberg movie starring Jeff Goldblum), the mutated insectoid protagonist happens to pet a golden retriever in the lab shortly before going on a revenge spree against the apparent bad guys of the film, making us (ostensibly) root for the monster in the film, for once.
  • West Side Story has a subtle example. During the Jets' opening dance-march through their territory, while making it very clear how they consider themselves the de facto owners of this chunk of the city, they pointedly walk around a little girl's chalk circle rather than interrupt her.
  • The 2004 German film Downfall features the last days of Adolf Hitler's bunker. While not denying his fundamental insanity and monstrosity, it not only features him literally petting his dog but also showing other moments of (relative) humanity. This might count as a subversion, as they go more towards why people followed him despite the fact that he actually WAS a monster.
  • In the film The Usual Suspects, Michael McManus literally pats an, understandably, concerned-looking canine as he makes his way through the drug runners' boat, cheerfully murdering the Hungarian smugglers in cold blood.
  • In Apocalypse Now, the rogue officer explains to the person sent to deal with him that, despite hacking the arms off innocent children, the Viet Cong were decent family men at home and therefore not evil.
  • The Big Bad of Man On Fire is a kidnapper who is shown covering and caressing his own children while negotiating the ransom of his victims.
  • In Snow White: A Tale of Terror, the wicked stepmother goes right ahead and murders her brother, leaves her stepdaughter lost in the woods while trying to magically kill her, poisons the entire castle and enslaves them magically, seduces her stepdaughter's fiance, and rapes and nearly murders her husband. During the big fight between her and the stepdaughter, she completely ignores her opponent when she hears her baby son crying, running to tend to him despite the fact that the stepdaughter is armed and more than ready to press any advantages.
    • She was also a sympathetic character in the beginning of the movie, trying to reach out to her stepdaughter, who acts like a brat to her. It's only when she miscarries her own child that she snaps.
  • The Beast of Yucca Flats. After the Beast's rampage, when he dies, his final act is to Pet The Bunny.
    • This wasn't even in the script: during filming, a desert rabbit came up to Tor Johnson and he just started petting it. Leaving it in was perhaps Coleman Francis' greatest cinematic achievement.
  • Parodied and Subverted in the Live Action Adaptation of Dudley Do-Right. Snidely Whiplash (Alfred Molina) is basking in his victory and declares drinks (at the bar he now owns) are on the house, before remarking to his henchman:

 "On second thought, drinks are only half off." (pause) "On second thought, double the price of everything."

  • Childs Play. As Ax Crazy as she is, Tiffany seems to love Chucky in her own crazy way and genuinely seems to care about their child later on, even before learning that he/she is their kid. When she dies, she even warns him/her to not make the same mistakes she and Chucky did.
  • Half of The Invisible is this. When we meet Annie Newton, she's an coldblooded thief and gang leader, which is all the protagonist Nick thought she was, especially after she beats the tar out of him and leaves him for dead. He is very disturbed when he sees how much she cares for her little brother.

 Nick: Stop acting like you're a person!

  • Pando in the film Two Hands is a ruthless Affably Evil (emphasis on "Evil") crime boss who would have no qualms about murdering you if you cross him... but he very clearly loves his young son and is very close to him, in one scene watching Play School with him and complimenting the origami pterodactyl he made. A major theme in the movie is that even bad people have some good inside them and vice versa.
  • Iron Man 2 has Ivan Vanko's care for his cockatoo his burd.
  • In Snatch, the ruthless gangster Bullet Tooth Tony, who has no problem whatsoever shooting, slicing or otherwise dishing out pain to human opponents, in one scene balks at Avi's suggestion to "open" the dog in order to obtain the massive diamond which said dog had swallowed.
  • In one of the deleted scenes in 15 Minutes, the main bad guy Emil Slovak is shown helping an old lady across the street.
  • While the Red Queen in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is more than ready to cut the heads off of anyone who crosses her and uses cute animals for furniture, she still has a vulnerable moment in which she confides to the Jack of Hearts that she wonders whether it is indeed better to be feared than loved and tells him that she's happy that he at least cares for her (the fact that he doesn't makes him quite the bastard). She later is more than happy to befriend the very tall Alice and keep her as a "favorite" (granted, she doesn't know it's Alice, but she does feel sorry when the girl says she was kicked out of her home town for being too large).
  • Near the end of Oldboy, the villain Lee Woo-jin has a pet the dog moment where he for Oh Dae-su after he drives the man past his Despair Event Horizon. Woo-jin had a trap set up to destroy Dae-su and his lover completely, where he would reveal to both that they are father and daughter. After Dae-su's horrifying breakdown (during which Woo-jin laughs hysterically), he seems to pity him and calls his associate, telling him not to go through with the rest of the plan.
  • Crash is heavily devoted to showing jerks petting the dog. One that stands out in particular is near the very end of the movie, when a carjacker who had been preaching racial pride, intolerance and selfishness throughout the film finds himself in possession of a van filled with smuggled Asian slaves. When he's offered a good deal of money for them, he instead takes them to L.A.'s Chinatown and frees them, giving one of them forty dollars to buy them some food.
    • Another notable one is when the Middle Eastern shopkeeper blames a locksmith for his shop being broken into and robbed (the locksmith was not at fault, but the shopkeeper was paranoid from racial persecution). When the shopkeeper goes to get the money back, he holds the locksmith at gunpoint and accidentally shoots the locksmith's young daughter, which horrifies him. When she isn't hurt at all, he sees it as a sign from God, decides that the girl was sent to show him to get his life back on track, and gives the gun to his daughter. His daughter actually loaded the gun with blanks, but he never realizes this.
  • In Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, after Luke kills the rancor (the murderous creature Jabba the Hutt tries to feed him to), its keeper emerges from the shadows, shouting in alarm, and begins sobbing when he sees that his pet is dead -- giving a touch of humanity to one of Jabba's evil flunkies.
  • Played rather hilariously in The Young Philadelphians: Tony isn't a Complete Monster, but he's straying dangerously close to Amoral Attorney territory. When an elderly lady comes to his office wanting to write her chihuahua into her will, he seems disinterested and rather annoyed when the dog starts walking around on his desk...but when he makes a phone call and learns that she's ridiculously wealthy and influential, he immediately scoops up the dog and begins cuddling it. Made all the more delightful because it's Paul Newman.
  • Played straight in American Gangster: Frank Lucas is a ruthless African-American mobster who has no qualms about setting people on fire, shooting someone in the head, in broad daylight, on a public street, or flooding the neighborhood with heroin that leaves mothers too wasted to even take care of their children. Yet, he is a family man who cares for the poor and uses his personal wealth to bring both his family and his city up out of despair, and when caught, he (arguably) goes way overboard in bringing both mobsters and corrupt policemen to justice. One scene in particular - Lucas handing out turkeys to impoverished Harlem families - is a perfect example of this trope.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, the film manages to give The Red Skull such a moment with a self serving caveat. This is when The Skull is about to board his rocket chopper and tells Dr. Zola that the ride's only for himself. Instead of abandoning him to Captain America, the Skull gives Dr. Zola the keys to his Cool Car to make his own escape with instructions that it must be not be damaged in any way. This means that the Doctor will be delivering his car to the rendezvous point instead of being confiscated by the Allies.
  • The primary role of Robert in Mystery Team up until The Reveal, with him agreeing to take care of the children he had accidentally orphaned
  • Mini from Mini's First Time is about as close to soulless as it is possible to portray in film, but even she gets a little Pet the Dog moment: when some guy at school is teasing her friend Sprague, Mini defends her. Given the way in which she defends Sprague, and her overall character, it is possible that she only does it for her own amusement, and not out of any care she might have for another person.
  • In Scarface, Tony Montana provides the most violent example of this trope ever by blowing the head off someone that deliberately tried to murder a mother and her children right before said person is about to push the button. This shows that Tony still has some good in him.
  • In Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, the Horseman is shown to be very affectionate toward his steed. In the flashback that shows his origins, he is shown petting the horse as it lay dying from a gunshot wound, and toward the end the Horseman is happily reunited with it once he gets his head back and drags Lady Van Tassel down to hell with he and his horse.
  • The RiffTrax for Spider-Man 3 commented -- "See, this just goes to show that Spidey cannot, and will not, kill this guy. I mean, imagine how different Star Wars would have been if the first scene had shown Darth Vader stroking a puppy."
  • In Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a major Pet the Dog moment is actually pretty suspicious: a British secret agent, Jim Prideaux, is shot and captured by the Soviets, but after his interrogation he's sent home in one piece. This implies that The Mole had sympathies with Prideaux, and pulled strings to make sure he lived. It's no reflection on Prideaux's loyalty - the mole is Bill Haydon, who, despite his treachery, is extremely close to Prideaux and never intended for him to get captured.
  • The only living thing that Alex of A Clockwork Orange shows any concern for is his pet boa constrictor, Basil. When Alex comes home after after serving two years in prison, he's upset to learn that Basil died during this time, supposedly from an accident.
  • In The Third Man, 'Baron' Kurtz petting a dog while trying to confuse Holly Martins.
  • In The Jackie Robinson Story, the title character takes a cat away from some racists who are trying to intimidate him by mistreating the cat
  • Subverted in The Cabin in the Woods. Hadley, one of the engineers behind the massacre at the cabin, remarks that he's actually rooting for Dana to make it out alive ... only to completely ignore her as she's being mauled by a zombie, because he sees some tequila that needs drinking.


Gamebooks Edit

  • The British Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks published in the 1980s and 1990s contain an interesting example in Lord Azzur, the tyrannical ruler of Port Blacksand, the otherwise hopelessly corrupt and vile City of Thieves. While Azzur was a notorious pirate and murderer before he seized control of Blacksand, he indulges some rather odd acts of charity, including providing a luxurious home for a woman abducted by the evil Snake Men of the Desert of Skulls and left with the head of a giant snake, and celebrating the New Year by executing several of Port Blacksand's wealthiest citizens and donating their riches to the poor.
    • Subverted in the Blacksand! sourcebook, when the entry for his first charity executions is immediately followed in the timeline by "Several of the now-rich citizens from last year's poor are killed in this year's charity executions." Fine sense of irony, that tyrant.
    • The reader can even use Azzur's care of the Serpent Queen (the lady with the snake head) to their advantage in the book City of Thieves. If the player character enters the Serpent Queen's home, they can avoid a fairly difficult fight by presenting her with flowers and saying they are from Lord Azzur. She takes the gift with delight and gives the player a small tip.


Literature Edit

  • Western Fantasy Fiction has Drasek Riven from the Erevis Cale trilogy and The Twilight War. The second chosen of Mask, God of Thieves, Riven is a dark hearted angry man. The main character of these books, Erevis the first chosen of Mask, even remarks upon Riven's status as the better killer. Riven is a literal case of Petting the Dog, as the first sign of a good sign to him is when leaving a stakeout because he 'has other business to attend to'. Following Riven through the city we discover that he has two mongrel alley dogs he regularly feeds with scraps bought from a butcher. Before leaving the city, Riven even goes to the effort of paying (quite handsomely) a man to feed the dogs for the next year. Riven's case could have been done poorly, yet he never loses his status as a Badass or suffers from Badass Decay; all of which is a testament to the author.
  • Discworld
    • Lord Vetinari has several pet the dog moments -- most related to his ancient terrier Wuffles, and more recently, Mr Fusspot.
      • Its said that, once a week, Vetinari goes to the grave of the late Wuffles and puts a dog biscuit on it. Yes, the tyrant of Ankh-Morpork, trained at the Assassin's Guild and who would kill people without a second thought if he thought it was in the interests of the city, still cares for his dear little dog.
    • Granny Weatherwax, meanwhile, acquires a kitten in Wintersmith, which she promptly names You (as in: "Stop that, You!"). She makes a show of not caring for it... but then cares for it when no-one's looking. By the end of the book You is found curled up on top of Granny Weatherwax's head, under her hat (Granny gives the lame excuse that it keeps her head warm).
      • Another Granny example; in Masquerade, Agnes (or Perdita X, as she called herself for most of the book) was held in mild contempt by Granny for a large portion of the book. After Agnes has had all her hopes at being an opera singer crushed (despite being the real heroine), she reluctantly returns to Lancre. Granny, in a rare moment of genuine kindness, tells Agnes that as a young woman, she called herself "Endemonidia" (but not for very long), showing that even she started off as a bit vain and stupid.
    • Greebo is one to Nanny Ogg. Despite the fact that Greebo is part homicidal, part sadistic and all wild fire explosions, he is still a cat except when he's a human. That does not stop Nanny Ogg from loving it. Subverted in that Nanny Ogg has a penchant for being nice but breaking out the badass when it is appropriate.
    • Even Death has a fondness for cats. It's not so much the cats as that he has a fondness for people.
  • In From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, the antagonist, Captain Nicholl, eventually challenges one of the protagonists, Mr. Barbicane, to a duel in the wilds of Florida. When two other protagonists try to stop the duel, how do they find Captain Nicholl? He has put his weapon aside, to save a small bird who has got stuck in a tarantula's net.
  • Several characters from A Song of Ice and Fire get Pet the Dog moments:
    • Significant is Jaime Lannister, who is the only member of his immediate family to show any kindness to his brother Tyrion. He gets a few more as the series progresses.
    • Jaqen H'ghar pets Arya. Which is horrific news for several of the nastier villains.
    • One of Gregor Clegane's men, Shitmouth, is mentioned as giving captives extra bread if they want.
  • Raistlin of the Dragonlance saga, a treacherous, twisted Villain Protagonist (albeit an ensemble one) driven by bitterness and insatiable ambition, has a kindly streak when it comes to the downtrodden and pitiful... as he knows firsthand what it feels like to be helpless and hated. This leads to many Pet the Dog moments, especially with Bupu the Gully Dwarf, who inadvertently becomes a kind of Morality Pet.
  • Childhoods End by Arthur C. Clarke includes a sort of intentional and public Pet the Dog, when the Overlords issue a decree that all nations of the world must have strict laws to prevent animal cruelty. It's unclear whether the Overlords really are that nice and well-intentioned, or if they just want everyone to think they are.
  • In the Warcraft novel Lord of the Clans, Grom Hellscream chastizes his fellow orcs for kidnapping a child, since that was not how warriors acted.
    • Variations of this happen a few times in the World of Warcraft as well, as Grom is highly suspiscious of the Forsaken because of their willingness to use the Plague against the living, and views it as a highly dishonest way of engaging in warcraft.
  • In Joe Abercrombie The First Law Blood Knight Ferro is almost on the point of killing The Igor Severard because he was trailing her and asks him for any reason why she shouldn't. After reflection Severard says that he's worth killing, but the birds he usually feeds don't deserve to lose that source of food. Ferro doesn't kill him -- which is arguably one of her own rare Pet the Dog moments.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe. Mandalorian Walon Vau, a Drill Sergeant Nasty type, dotes upon his pet strill Lord Mirdalan. He takes Mird with him everywhere, wipes up any food it spills on itself, is prepared to sleep outside with the strill when it isn't permitted indoors. The man is tough as nails, but he takes Mird into battles in the same way, and with the same care, as fathers in his culture take their sons.
  • One could argue that the entire Gaunt's Ghosts and Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) book series of Warhammer 40000 are extended Pet the Dog moments for the entire Imperium of Man, showing unmodified, poorly equipped, (relatively) poorly trained human beings fighting wholeheartedly for the Imperium and the Emperor, and that many of them are genuinely good people with noble motivations, forced to fight horrors beyond comprehension by sane minds.
    • In fact most games, books, whatever that are about one planet or army will be this.
  • In the X Wing Series, Imperials who aren't totally evil inevitably Heel Face Turn into Rebels. As Imperials they avoid the casual cruelty of their peers. In the books, one Imperial Star Destroyer captain has a scene where he fusses over his outfits, trying to pick the one that will please his lover the most. Another goes over how he was assigned to wipe out a village which had produced an assassin, and while he did destroy it, he went down and told everyone first, and gave them time to evacuate. In the comics, Sixtus Quin admires how the Rebels fight before being betrayed and pulling a Heel Face Turn. And Baron Soontir Fel has stunning integrity and loves his wife.
    • In The Thrawn Trilogy, our first real look at the smuggler and Knowledge Broker Talon Karrde has him having dinner with Mara Jade and telling his vornskr, a doglike creature, to leave. He chastises it mildly and tosses it a bit of meat before it leaves.
    • Yun, a Dark Jedi apprentice from the Dark Forces Saga novelizations, is spared by Kyle Katarn, which starts all sorts of philosophical questions going in his mind. He begins to wonder if the Dark Side really is stronger, and if his masters are right. His first and most significant Pet the Dog moment is when a cave-in in an archaeological mine traps a worker beneath a massive slab of rock. The other workers and droids can't lift it as it slowly crushes him. Yun, unwilling to leave the man to die, as any other Dark Jedi would, tells the others to get ready to pull him to safety and focuses all of his willpower on lifting the rock. He succeeds just long enough for the soldiers to save the man, and only afterwards realizes that he had abandoned the Dark Side when the chips were down.
    • The only Star Wars villain less likely than Jabba the Hutt to have a pet the dog moment is Palpatine, but in a bit of EU canon a close friend of Jabba's recalls the time the Hutt saved his life. Long before the events of the original trilogy, Jabba and Ephant Mon were raiding an Imperial weapons cache only to be double crossed and attacked by stormtroopers. They escaped but were caught in the middle of a fierce blizzard with no transportation or shelter. When Ephant Mon passed out from the cold, Jabba shielded him with his layers of fat to keep him warm, saving his life. This wasn't because the Hutt needed him for some reason, but because they truly were friends.
    • Fate of the Jedi has Sith Vestara Khai. Much attention is given to how she loves her father, and her pet uvak, Tikk.
  • Jefferson Pinkard from Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191 series starts out as a very likable character but slowly does a Face Heel Turn until he's become the alternate universe's equivalent of Adolph Eichmann, ruthlessly sending the black population of the CSA to their deaths in concentration camps. However, to the end of the series he genuinely loves his wife and stepson and often worries about what will happen to them when the war turns bad for his side.
    • Jake Featherston--the CSA version of Adolf Hitler--gets a few himself, usually with his secretary. Described as a phenomenally ugly woman who is incredibly sensitive about her appearance, Lulu is devoted to Featherston, upon whom she nurses a sizeable crush. Featherston doesn't view her that way at all, but he does go out of his way to be polite to her, and doesn't tolerate anyone else being mean to her. At the end, when she's fatally wounded in a plane crash, it's Featherston who--at her request--puts her out of her misery.
  • Henry, from The Secret History, did organize the murder of one friend, attempt to kill another, and represent himself as a Magnificent Bastard in general. But he did save Richard from dying of exposure in the Vermont winter.
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Captain Nemo has several of these moments, the greatest one being when Arronnax finds him sobbing over a picture of his family.
  • Zavahl has a lot of these in the Shadowleague trilogy, foreshadowing his eventual Heel Face Turn because he discovers sex is fun.
  • Mayor Poynt of the second Welkin Weasels trilogy is a spoilt jerk who steals money from charity collections and leaves the actual running of the city to his sister, but after an operation he's accidentally left to wake up in Bedlam House. Seeing what it's really like frightens him enough that he arranges for it to be cleaned up and turned into a proper hospital.
  • In Earth (The Book), the authors (it should be noted that this book is jokingly intended to be read by aliens who visit Earth long after we're all gone) take time to give Pet's a special section when discussing animals, and end their notes saying, "we're good boys. yes they were."
  • The eponymous hero of Wolfhound by Maria Semenova once rescues a girl, gangraped and Driven to Suicide by some thugs. Seing how women abuse is his personal Berserk Button, he immediately sets forth to hunt them down. He slaughters all but two thugs in the first encounter, and when he approaches those tow, they try to plead for their lives: one tells that he was the one who convinced the gang leader to spare the girl's life, and the other - that he only held her. Neither case works.
  • Hilarously lampshaded in the Knight and Rogue Series. The villain of the second book has taken pity on a mute dog and given it food and shelter. Fisk is unimpressed by this, saying he's known many villains who were kind to animals and more who loved their mothers.
  • It's easy to spot the hero of Robin Mc Kinley's Deerskin as heroic. Not because he's a prince of the blood (he is, but he didn't ask to be born one), not because he's tall and blond and heroically built (he's none of those), not because he gallops into battle on his mighty charger (he doesn't) ... but because he sits up at night with orphaned puppies.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Sauron lets Gollum go after he tortures all the information he needs out of him. This action is so bizarre that many ascribe it to genuine compassion on Sauron's part.
    • More cynically, it could be because Sauron thought he would work more mischief if he were let go, not unlike when Morgoth let Húrin go in The Children of Hurin.
  • In The Silmarillion, Maedhros's attempt to save the sons of Dior, and Maglor's fostering of Elrond and Elros.
  • Skeeter's introduced as a minor villain in the first Time Scout book. The second doesn't give you much reason to think otherwise, until you learn about his back story. Just before that happens, he keeps a promise and gives a small fortune to a friend known to be perfectly innocent and good.
  • Horribly subverted in one chapter of the fifth The Wheel of Time book. The viewpoint character is a Mook whose plan is going dangerously badly, and who is thinking about how he would much rather be back home instead and how much he misses his beloved sister. Then the plan fails completely and he has to kill an accomplice to cover his tracks; and as he's disposing of the body at the end of the chapter he goes back to reminiscing about his sister, and what a pity it was that she discovered what he was and would have exposed him...
  • In Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, we see that Narcissa Malfoy might be a snobby pureblood supremacist like her husband, but she still is willing to risk Voldemort's wrath to find Snape (who, at this point, is morally suspicious to the good guys, the bad guys, and the readers in general) and beg him to protect her son from the suicide mission he's been given. Bellatrix, meanwhile, cements herself as a Complete Monster by dismissing Narcissa's fears and panic as her failing to realize what an honor her son was granted.
    • In Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, Fleur is much less of a bitch after we see how frantic she is when she fails to rescue her sister during the Second Task.
    • Cruelly subverted in the case of Mad-Eye Moody. After he seriously upsets Neville on his first day of class, he invites the kid for tea, talks to him about Herbology (the one class Neville is very good at), and loans him a book about magical plants of the Mediterranean. We later find out that "Moody" was secretly the same person who tortured Neville's parents to insanity and only gave him the book as a way for Harry to figure out how to beat the Second Task, to get him one step closer to the plan to resurrect Voldemort.
  • In Laika, Mikhail's mother and father attempt to make their son a better person by making him care for the titular dog. It doesn't work: Mikhail throws Laika in the river because he's tired of his parents forcing him to take care of a pet he doesn't want.
  • Although Chichikov (the main character of Dead Souls) is a cheapskate, the author informs us that he'll always give a copper to a beggar.


Live-Action TV Edit

  • ER's Frank the Receptionist, who was generally a cynical, overweight, often prejudiced jerk but once had a heart attack; at the end of the episode, we discovered that he had a handicapped daughter who loved him very much.
    • Even further, it was revealed that Frank, usually so abrasive to everyone he works with, can't stop talking about how great they are and how much he admires them when he's at home, thus retconning in that he'd been petting the dog to some extent all along.
    • Dr. Romano was a real jerk in his first seasons, and kept many of those qualities throughout his stay on the show. However he had a number of Pet the Dog moments, such as when he told Benton's son Reese "look after your daddy" in sign language, or when he refused to give up on Lucy after she was stabbed. His love for Corday also provided him with several such moments. The most literal "pet the dog" moment however came when he called Corday into surgery and she was shocked to see who their patient was...

 Corday: Robert, this is a dog.

Romano: Correction Lizzie. This is my dog.

  • Little House On the Prairie: Even though they were the de-facto villians, both Harriet and (prior to 1980) Nellie Olesen got their episodes where their more admirable, softer sides got their time in the limelight:
    • For Harriet, the audience got to sympathize with her when a quack doctor sells her a magic powder to help cure her appendicitis (it doesn't, and she must rely on Doc Baker to save her life). All the times Nels and Harriet fought and Nels did the right thing and left her, Harriet's emotions showed and that, even though she henpecked her husband, she really did rely on him for emotional support (and grudgingly, so did he). In one instance where Nels left her and (unknown to her) nearly had an affair, Harriet began getting lonely. In 1981, Harriet rallied the women of Walnut Grove to demand the same rights to own property as men.
    • Nellie's soft side came front and center in 1977's "Here Comes the Brides," when this time, she -- not Laura -- got to court the cute new guy at school. It turned out this "change of pace" episode did more than teach Laura "you can't win 'em all," but showed that even the Alpha Bitch Nellie had her redeeming values.
  • Deadwood's Al Swearengen is the camp's kingpin, a brutal pimp, highwayman, and murderer. He starts the series by stepping on a woman's throat and plotting a child's murder, but Pets the Dog a number of times throughout the show's run to almost become a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Beneath his unrelentingly caustic demeanor, he has a soft-spot for fellow orphans, and employs a handicapped cleaning woman as a way of looking after her. At the end of the first season he treats the debilitated preacher with kindness, and ultimately mercy-kills him. He also risks life and limb a few times protecting campfolk from Big Bad George Hearst.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond petted the dog with an episode named "Pet the Bunny". Ray, when writing a premature eulogy for his father, recalled how he saw his moment of vulnerability... petting a bunny.
    • That wasn't the only time Frank petted the dog. When he found out his misogynistic buddies at the Elks Lodge were talking about Debra, he told them all off, albeit reluctantly.
    • In one episode, Frank actually holds Marie in bed to comfort her after a particularly abrasive conflict.
    • There was also a moment where he showed he really did care about Debra by taking the fall for her when Debra screwed up a Thanksgiving dinner, sparing Debra from yet another lecture by Marie. Right after that, Marie yells at Frank for something he did do.
  • Though the trope of Badass Decay originally bore the name of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the character, despite also being something of a Magnificent Bastard, in fact exhibited signs of this from the start. More to the point, he was portrayed as being genuinely in love with his partner Drusilla (feelings that it would be difficult to interpret as genuinely mutual), and able to feel hurt and betrayed. In the end a combination of the two even led him to upset the Big Bad's apocalyptic plans. In the same season he had been introduced, no less. Furthermore, in connection to this it was soon routinely suggested that he held some kind of (twisted) affection for the main character(s), and possibly even the world at large. Though many more events (and many, many, more tropes) would be applied to him over the course of the show, the seed of his Badass Decay was visible almost from day one.
    • The definite Pet the Dog moment came in season 5 when Spike, knowing full well that Dawn was the interdimensional key Glory was looking for, is captured by Glory and viciously tortured for the information and did not tell her. This was the turning point in his Badass Decay where even Buffy considered him a reliable ally.
    • There was also his honest platonic affection for and respect of Joyce, Buffy's mother, whom he got on rather well with after their first meeting (when she hit him with an axe and told him to get away from Buffy).
      • The best example of that affection is the episode where Spike, drunk and upset because Dru left him, proceeds to kidnap and threaten his way through the entire population of Sunnydale, except Joyce. From Joyce, he wants hot chocolate with marshmallows in.
      • Or when he leaves flowers after Joyce's death, without a tag so Buffy didn't know it was him. Prior to this Spike had been trying as hard as possible to get Buffy to like him, but this action proved that he genuinely liked Joyce.
    • The Mayor's treatment of Faith is a definite Pet the Dog. He was still an evil monster, but he did genuinely seem to care about her and was a lot better support for her than the Scooby Gang was.
      • For that matter, one could consider him to be her Morality Pet, at least until she becomes good again.
  • If you think you've gone too far with Pet the Dog, you can always remind the audience of why the character needed it in the first place. They did it with Arnold Rimmer from Red Dwarf. He started out as a petty control freak with neuroses up to his eyeballs; in fact, for many of the early episodes, he fulfilled the role of the antagonist. But now and again the writers slipped in a moment of humanity, such as when he learned of his father's death, or a moment where he wasn't quite so self-centered as usual. Then they showed us what he could be like as a hero (the dimension-hopping Ace Rimmer: What a guy!), and let him show the occasional backbone ("Better dead than smeg"). By the time he left the cast, he was almost, shall we say, a decent human being. So Lister missed him, which was revealed through a... um... dream. And Kryten figured out the best way to cure Lister, as shown in this clip (or look up "The Rimmer Song").
    • The novelization of the series made this even more explicit when Rimmer creates a double of himself from an old computer backup, and it's eventually revealed (even to Rimmer himself) that he has changed, and the "new/old" Rimmer is a far bigger jerk.
  • Subverted by Barney in How I Met Your Mother. Barney, who normally plays the role of the petty, womanizing, suit-clad jerk, was revealed to have formerly been a meek, loving hippie-type in an embarrassing old video. When asked to explain by his friends, he demanded that each of them tell an embarrassing story about themselves in return. After they did, he revealed that he had once deeply loved a hippie girl named Shannon. She eventually left him for a suit-wearing womanizer, prompting his stark personality change. Barney also told of how he recently visited Shannon, finding out that she was single again, with a job as a teacher and a beautiful kid. He mused on how that could have been his life in apparent sadness, while his friends comforted him. However, he then revealed that he greatly preferred his current life, and that in addition to tricking everyone else into telling embarrassing stories about himself, he had had sex with Shannon upon their reunion (even producing a cell phone recording of the incident when his friends didn't believe him).
    • Barney does not always subvert this trope -- his willingness to travel to San Francisco to persuade Lily to come back to Marshall is a clear Pet the Dog moment.
      • As is the way he cheers up Robin in the third season episode when her old boyfriend comes to town and manages to destroy her self-esteem, despite her being much more successful than him. Sure, he got laid in the end, but just this once it didn't seem intentional.
    • In the episode "Single Stamina", after stubbornly refusing to support his brother's upcoming gay marriage (because he opposes all marriage in general), Barney suddenly softens and has a change of heart at the news that the couple's going to adopt a baby boy. Later, alone at the reception, he talks to his new infant nephew saying how he'll be there for him.
  • Downton Abbey: Thomas will appear to an irredeemable, sociopathic Jerkass well on his way to passing the Moral Event Horizon; but then, occasionally, something will happen to demonstrate his humanity, or his Freudian Excuse will be reinforced, and he'll revert back to Jerkass Woobie. Damn him.
  • In the episode "Chuck vs. The Wookiee" of the comedic spy drama Chuck, Sara, a near-total cipher, is seen feeding a pet fish, a nice hint of humanity. Then she's attacked by a masked assailant. During the struggle, a gun and the goldfish fishbowl are knocked to the floor. The assailant seems to reach for the gun...and instead rescues the goldfish, making this an instance of two characters petting the same dog.
    • There have also been a few scenes which have shown that Casey hasn't repressed all his compassion, perhaps most notably when he offered to help Sarah's Lovable Rogue father get his sentence reduced.
  • The second season of The Office (American version) gave regional manager Michael Scott, initially modeled after his English counterpart as an unsympathetic egomaniac, a few very poignant Pet the Dog moments early in its run, when the character tears up at "Office Olympics" day, and is shown to genuinely care for children in the Halloween episode. Later seasons write Carell's character to be much more likable.
    • Dwight Schrute (assistant TO the regional manager) is portrayed as a very unlikable (outside of humor value) character. Pet the Dog is subverted (TWICE) and played straight when he sits with a tearful Pam. He first takes off his jacket, making it seem like he's going to give it to her, but then just says "It's hot in here." He offers her a handkerchief and says he'll stay with her in a genuinely kind moment, putting his arm around her shoulder. Then he says, "You must be PMSing pretty bad." It's here
      • This may not actually be a complete instance of subversion. Dwight's still being his odd Dwight self, but it's clear from his tone and his body language that he's genuinely upset to see Pam crying and doing his best to make her feel better.
    • Another Dwight example is when he rescues his worst enemy Jim from getting beat up by pepperspraying the attacker. This is after Jim has spent every office day making things as inconvenient for Dwight as possible. Dwight refuses any thank you gift Jim offers, saying that he just did his duty (which drives Jim crazy).
  • Parks and Recreation gives these to quite a few characters.
    • Ron gets too many to list. Despite the fact that he continuously says that he dislikes people (even once expressing glee at the idea that one of the workers at city hall may have died but then becoming upset when he realized it was actually Lil Sebastian), his behavior towards fellow antisocial Deadpan Snarker, April, tends to be like that of a proud father. He always looks out for his coworkers. When Ben and Chris talk about firing Leslie, he says that he should be fired in her stead because "no other department has a Leslie Knope." When Chris makes Tom sell his shares in the Snakehole Lounge, Ron stands up for him defending him for pursuing his "goofy dream." He even offers Andy a "Ron Swanson Scholarship". That's right--he offers to pay Andy through college from his own pocket. The crown jewel of all of them happens in Season 4's Christmas episode, though. Ron enlists the other members of the Parks Department to come up with a gift for Leslie that can help equalize the years of thoughtful presents they've all been getting from her. In the end after her campaign managers abandon her, he and the rest of the department offer to take their place. It's Ron's idea, and it's glorious.
    • April showing her loyalty to Ron and love for Andy count. In the episode where she and Andy get married, she shows that she cares deeply for Leslie. She gets a lot of them in Season 4, including showing her concern for Ben's feelings after Leslie and Ben break up. At the beginning of one episode, she wishes for Chris's happiness to go away. In the middle, of the episode, Millicent dumps him, effectively making her wish come true. At the end of the episode she offers him three movie tickets (inviting him to come to the movies with her and Andy) and a hug. Even though she hates Ann, one episode has her setting Ann up with Tom because she genuinely thinks Tom makes her happy. She even tries to keep it a secret from Leslie because she knows about Ann's probable embarrassment. D'aww.
    • Ben initially comes off as a bit of a jerk, but even after Leslie yells at him three times in a single episode, he calmly takes her out for a drink. The episode Freddie Spaghetti starts out with him proposing that Leslie be fired, but in the end not only does he not fire her, he saves Leslie's impromptu concert by getting Freddie to perform. Soon, he becomes the sort of character that doesn't need pet the dog moments.
  • Subverted by Sylar from Heroes: While Sylar is at the Bennet house, the dog Mr. Muggles seems contented to be picked up and petted by Sylar. But that scene doesn't make Sylar one iota less creepy.
    • In the future, Mr. Muggles is Sylar's dog--and the former Bennett house is Sylar's house.
    • Mr. Muggles is Nightmare Fuel in his own right...
    • Also, played with when Ted goes to pet the same dog. Ted, mind you, is radioactive by nature, which leads to this exchange:

 Matt: Don't nuke the dog!

Ted: I'm not gonna nuke the dog!

  • Simon Cowell had a completely literal Pet the Dog moment on Season 7 of American Idol... a contestant entered with a six-week-old Pomeranian puppy named Panda, who she handed over to the judges. Simon very quickly nabbed the little creature, and his next words were, "I'm going to steal your dog." He kept stroking that little puppy through the entire audition, and it took some coaxing to get Panda out of his arms again.
  • Every episode of Life with Derek is set up so the title character can do this at the end.
  • Lieut. LaGuerta on Dexter is initially introduced as the Pointy-Haired Boss, who netted the position through a combo of politics and luck and has a severe hate-on for Deb and an... interest in Dexter. Then, in an episode halfway through the season, a young Cuban boy is found at the site of one of Dexter's latest victims, and LaGuerta goes all maternal, looking after the kid and thinking of adopting him if the boy's uncle isn't found. This has not stopped LaGuerta from being any more devious than before (in Season 2, she sabotages her replacement by pursuing a clandestine affair with her fiancé).
    • From the very first episode:

 Dexter: But if I could have feelings at all, I'd have them for Deb.

She, Rita and the kids quickly became Dexter's Morality Pets.
  • Throughout the pilot for Firefly, Mal is constantly and repeatedly shown to be a mean, cranky, selfish bastard.... until his touching scene in the infirmary with Kaylee that shows that he's not the "mean old man" he tries to be. By the end of the pilot, in spite of all the trouble it may cause him, he chooses to shelter Simon and River. As the series progresses, it becomes more and more apparent that Mal's JerkAss-ness is just a cover.
    • Jayne also gets his own Pet the Dog moments, such as when he watches Kaylee's operation in the pilot like a big, nervous Mama Bear, or when he is quite visibly shaken at the death of the mudder who gave his life to protect him in "Jaynestown," or when he frees River and Simon in the hospital in "Ariel" after escaping himself.
    • The Operative, of all people, gets a Pet the Dog instance, while he is killing a man. As the man is dying, the Operative comforts him with the knowledge that he did fine works, and made the world a better place, and is quite visibly affected as he watches the man die. When the Operative opts to let the heroes leave scot-free after finding out about Miranda.
    • Badger gets a kind of mild one in Shindig. He pleasantly forces the crew of Serenity to stay on the ship while they know that Mal is probably going to be killed in a duel over Inara's honor. River comes wandering out to the cargo hold and Badger, who was completely unaware of her presence until then, demands to know who she is and why she's on board. After she fakes a Cockney accent and deciphers a number of facts about him (based on his appearance and demeanor), he lets her leave while declaring "I like her!"
  • Mob boss Tony Soprano on The Sopranos is an inveterate dog-petter; his love of animals is frequently played up as one of his few signs of true humanity, as well as his protectiveness towards not just his children but, as long as they're young enough, others'. In one episode he loses it and kills one of his best-earning lieutenants for apparently killing a racehorse by arson (who did so for purely financial reasons) -- the same racehorse Tony sat up with all night when it was sick.
    • It's never outright revealed if said lieutenant actually was responsible for the horse's death. Tony's love of and affection towards animals is one of his most redeeming qualities, so it's entirely possible it was just the horse incident that set him off, but it could also be that it was the last straw, Tony being sick of dealing with the bastard, and he used it as an excuse. But in any case, the guy'd had it coming since he'd murdered the stripper.
      • Though ironically, after spending his time on the series being an irredeemable jackass, Ralph was finally showing signs of heading towards redemption after his son was seriously injured, which occurred in the exact same episode in which he died.
    • It also serves as a way to reveal more information about the character. Sociopaths tend to have more affection for animals than people. In fact, the series makes the same comment toward the end, when Melfi's shrink shares new studies with her which state that although affection toward animals and small children may seem like it humanizes sociopaths like Tony, therapy actually does very little other than train them to better imitate normal people and thus become more deadly.
  • Drug kingpin Avon Barksdale in The Wire, when asked for a donation of ten thousand dollars by one of his former soldiers who was looking to start a boxing gym as a means of youth outreach, proceeds to erupt into incredulous laughter at the proposal. Once the laughter subsides, he donates fifteen thousand instead.
    • Additionally, drug dealer and convicted killer Wee-Bey Brice owns multiple tanks full of pet exotic fish, and talks about them with the same fondness that any other dedicated pet owner would. Even after he's incarcerated he continually makes sure that his wife and son are taking care of them properly. More importantly he lets Bunny Colvin adopt his son to give him the chance that he never had, recognising that his soldier's life and gangster mentality has got him nowhere.
    • On the side of the Law, we have Bill Rawls, the superior officer to our Cowboy Cop Anti-Hero, Jimmy McNulty. Rawls had been established as a vindictive, spiteful jack off whose Establishing Character Moment featured him flipping McNulty off with both fingers, but after Kima is shot and put into critical condition, McNulty blames himself for getting her injured. Rawls then takes McNulty aside and tells him that, even though he hates his guts, he's not going to stand there and let him beat himself up over something that wasn't his fault. "Shit went bad," he says. "She took two for the company. That's the only lesson here."
  • Inverted in Farscape. Aeryn's mother's first appearance turned out to be, in light of her later actions, a pet the dog moment, which she very sorely needed.
    • Scorpius had a particularly interesting pet the dog moment in his third episode, when he takes in an orphaned girl: he embraces her, gives her a room aboard his command carrier, and states to his officers "we must know when to be strong and when to show compassion." However, it's subverted in that the "orphan" is a hungry carnivore in disguise, and it's implied that Scorpius has taken her in for no other reason than to use her as a minion.
      • However, Scorpius is shown to be a subversion of the Bad Boss, rewarding and encouraging his loyal minions rather than kicking them out the airlock when the time comes. It's likely because he's more practical than cruel, but still...
      • More moments courtesy of Scorpius: when Sikozu was facing an execution, he helpfully supplied her with a password that allowed her to bluff her way out. Particularly interesting, considering that the two of them had never met before- and that he'd been "executed" less than a minute ago.
      • Commending Braca for obeying orders and taking part in mission that would have killed Scorpius had it failed.
    • During the two-part episode "Self-Inflicted Wounds," Pathfinder Neeyala has two Pet the Dog moments: firstly, she briefly comforts one of her crew-members before sending her on a suicide mission; the second is revealed to have spanned both episodes, in that her plan to sabotage Moya was intended to force Crichton and the others to escape aboard her own vessel and avoid death by wormhole when the Pathfinder ship left Moya. Ironically, this leads to her downfall when Moya's crew decide not to give up so easily.
    • Rygel gets a couple of Pet the Dog moments as well, namely in the season 2 finale when Aeryn dies he gives her his medallion, saying she is far more deserving of it, or after Zhaan dies, and he goes to steal her stuff, then admits he doesn't want it.
  • Sawyer on Lost has had several Pet the Dog moments, including some literal dog-petting when Vincent was the only one who'd have anything to do with him after his con involving the guns. Other moments include offering to babysit/read to Aaron for Claire and offering his fish biscuits to Kate when they were imprisoned by The Others.
    • Also, Ben Linus is genuinely fond of his adoptive daughter Alex.
  • House is built upon the title character being one of the prime examples of a Jerkass, but a given rule for any protagonist Dr. Jerk characters is that they will be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. House may be mean, cruel and sometimes outright immoral, but he is still a doctor and his job is to save people's lives. One episode in particular had him treating a patient whose heart gave out and she needed an emergency transplant. House had deduced privately that she was bulimic, and had been using ipicac, a drug that caused heart damage. Both of these criteria would certainly void her chances of receiving a heart. House risked his medical license by lying to the transplant board that she had no psychological problems. Afterwards, she asked him why he risked so much for her. He replied, "You're my patient. Don't screw it up."
    • House also found a sick rat in "Hunting", treated it, named it Steve McQueen and kept it as his pet. In a later episode he asks his team to bring him a rat. Cameron replies that he already has one, and he indignantly informs her that [he is] "not gonna kill Steve!" Later on however, in "Euphoria", in a rather odd Pet the Dog moment, he subjects Steve to a poisonous environment in order to find out what disease is killing Foreman. (Both Steve and Foreman survive).
    • In season 5's "Simple Explanation" (and presumably in following episodes) House is genuinely grieved by Kutner's suicide.
    • "Merry Christmas, Cuddy."
    • In Wilson's Heart, there were two massive moments that silenced anyone who thought he didn't deserve Wilson's friendship; where he agrees to fry his brain (the only thing that he thinks makes him worthwhile, remember?) so that he can try to save Amber and the bus-limbo scene, where he admits that he would rather be dead than be in pain all the time, miserable and to have Wilson hate him, thereby proving that he really does care for Wilson and value their friendship.
    • Three Words, One Episode: "The Socratic Method". In fact, he petted the dog so much in this one that Hugh Laurie was worried that they were making House too nice.
    • House isn't exactly the biggest fan of human contact, so it's kind of a big deal to see him hug someone (in "Sports Medicine", "Honeymoon", and a couple times during the Stacy arc of season 2). It's interesting that House has actually been hugged about twice as many times, (such as by Chase in "Half-Wit", Cameron in "Words and Deeds" and the little girl dying of cancer, Andie, in "Autopsy").
    • Plus there was also the part of "Words and Deeds" when he apologised to Wilson for the whole Tritter fiasco.
    • In the season 3 episode "One Day, One Room" he takes a rape victim's case because she wanted to talk to him, despite the case being 'boring' as there was no mystery/puzzle involved.
    • In "Here Kitty", when Debbie jumps onto his laptop, presumably screwing up whatever he'd been working on, he pets her instead of the more expected action of shoving her away. On the other hand, he also carried her around in a bag for most of the episode...
    • There was also the moment in "Fetal Position" when he realised the baby was more than just a fetus when the baby reached out of the womb and grabbed his finger.
    • A literal realisation of the trope was in episodes at the end of Season 3 with Wilson's dog, Hector.
    • Then in 'Wilson,' Wilson says he's going to have surgery to donate an organ to one of his patients against House's wishes. House tells him that he's not going to come because "If you die,...I'm alone." Once Wilson is in the surgery room and about to go under, he sees House watching him from above. House the last one he sees when he blacks out and the first person he sees by his side when he wakes up.
  • In Scrubs Dr. Kelso has a real fondness for his dog, Baxter. This is because, as he says, Baxter is "the only creature in my life that never disappointed me". Kelso is also shown to genuinely love his son even though his son can't hold down a job or a boyfriend. And he ends up liking the young son of a man needing surgery, as well. Yeah, Kelso gets a lot of these moments.
    • The Janitor has had a few as well, particularly when he once spent a day keeping a patient company.
    • The pilot does this with Bob and Perry: the former starts off being very easy-going while the latter's virtually an ogre, but near the end of the episode it's shown that while Kelso cares little (apparently) about the interns or patients, Cox is actually 'the good guy'. All throughout the show, Cox is shown as an incredibly insensitive or cruel character to his job-mates, his sister and his wife, but he cares a lot about his patients and his son.
    • Jordan also gets more than one -- talking about the abortion she got years ago, saying how much she loves Cox, staring down at Jack with a loving expression... awww...
  • Everwood does it during the first episodes: Dr Abbott begins as an obnoxious almost misanthropic doctor, but then is revealed to be a very devoted father and husband; Bright starts off as a bully, but then he's shown to be a very sensitive person grieving over his friend's accident.
  • ~M*A*S*H~ 's Major Winchester gets one when he tries to give a group of Korean orphans a bunch of candy for Christmas in "Death Takes a Holiday". He deliberately works to ensure no one knows about it.
    • Unlike Major Burns, Major Winchester was envisioned as a Worthy Opponent from the start, so he has lots of Pet The Dog moments.
      • Including talking a concert pianist whose hand was crippled out of depression and defending a stuttering patient Although the latter was inspired by his sister having the same handicap
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Boom Town", Blon Slitheen has a nice chat with a young woman about family instead of eating her. It is subverted however, when the Doctor doesn't fall for it.

 Blon: I spared her life.

Doctor: You let one of them go, but that's nothing new. Every now and then, a little victim's spared... because she smiled, cos he's got freckles, cos they begged. And that's how you live with yourself, that's how you slaughter millions, because once in a while, on a whim, if the wind's in the right direction, you happen to be kind.

    • It's also worth mentioning that said villain's scheme would have ended up destroying the world, making her arguments even more hollow.
    • Davros of all people gets one in Genesis of the Daleks when he begs the Daleks to spare the scientists who helped created them. As he created the Daleks as omnicidal maniacs, you can guess what happens next...
    • Anthony Ainley once said he would liked to have done a scene showing the Master feeding some birds just to show that the character wasn't wholly Chaotic Evil.
  • Subverted in an episode of Cracker where a serial killer reveals to Fitz that he was going to drown a litter of kittens but decided not to because 'they hadn't done him any harm'. Fitz points out that none of the killer's victims had done him any harm either and that rather than making him sympathetic, the villain was just showing a kind of 'sick sentimentality'.
  • Happened a lot in Becker.
  • All in The Family used this frequently.
  • Married... with Children's Al Bundy has done this once or twice.
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000, Dr. Forrester invents Nummymuffin Cocobutter, the most sickeningly cute pet imaginable which he will use to distract the rest of the world and take it over. He eventually gets sucked into his own evil plan and ends up just fussing over Nummymuffin along with Frank.
  • Dan Fielding, the lecherous, hyperambitious DA of Night Court has several:
    • Talks Harry out of quitting,
    • Talks a delusional Roz down from a roof,
    • Gives up his chance to join a prestigious club in order to protect Christine from a sexual predator
    • Pleads (admittedly half-heartedly) with God to spare a girl undergoing a dangerous operation.
  • Alex of Wizards of Waverly Place has several, especially with Justin but also with Harper when she helped her at Gigi's "loser party".
  • An episode of Burn Notice features the team conning a soft-hearted gangster with a fondness for greyhound racing. One indicator that he's not quite the villain he thinks he is comes from his story about the biggest bet he ever lost: A dog that crashed and broke its leg before the race even started. His response was to buy the dog and turn it into a pet.
  • In season 2 of Veronica Mars, when the Sherriff is called on Duncan and Veronica breaking into the household of some abusive parents, it is expected the Sheriff - usually an incompetent Jerkass - will arrest them and not believe the parents are abusing their daughter. Instead he pretends to arrest Duncan and Veronica, goes back to the household and investigates the parents. He also indicates his own father was abusive.
    • Season One's "Hot Dogs" serves as something of a Pet the Dog moment for that Complete Monster extraordinaire, Aaron Echolls. Okay, not many Pet the Dog moments involve beating a man to a bloody pulp, but still, this guy loves his daughter.
  • Sue Sylvester from Glee is a complete and total Jerkass with few redeeming qualities if any, so when in one episode she lets a mentally challenged girl onto her prized cheerleading squad the "Cheerios" the viewers along with everyone in the show conclude she's about to do something despicable that goes far beyond the Moral Event Horizon, reinforced by the fact she's pushing the girl just as harsh as she treats her other cheerleaders. At the end of the episode Sue ends up paying out of her own pockets for the School's handicap ramps, which baffles Will and the Principal as they try and figure out her motive. It's revealed she has a sister with Down's Syndrome living in a home, who Sue visits and reads to regularly. She gave the girl a spot on the cheerleading squad because she knows she just wants to be treated like everyone else.
    • Her harsh treatment of Becky (i.e. the exact treatment all her other cheerleaders get) can also be seen as this, especially as Sue very rightly points out to Will that all Becky's ever wanted is to be treated like everyone else. By yelling at Becky the same way she would any of her other cheerleaders, Sue is doing exactly that - which Becky understands and is happy about.
    • Puck started out as a Jerkass, before Character Development made him out to be more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. So his strong desire to be there for Quinn and help raise her baby when he finds out she's pregnant by him initially comes off as an example of this trope.
  • Lord Yu, one of the Scary Dogmatic Aliens of Stargate SG-1, got a few Pet the Dog moments. Generally, he was the least evil of the System Lords. In one episode, he spared and released Teal'c, who was caught while trying to kill him, and offered a warning about an untrustworthy apparent ally. Yu also briefly allied himself with Stargate Command while attempting to stop Anubis. In return, he was viewed at least a little more sympathetically than the other System Lords by the protagonists, even getting a little "you go, Yu!" from O'Neill when he was one of the last System Lords to resist Anubis. However, Yu was still a Goa'uld, an evil alien who pretended to be a god, demanding worship from innumerable human slaves, while condemning his human host to the horror of millenia of imprisonment within his own body. He very clearly remained a terrible and dangerous villain, and nearly personally killed Daniel Jackson in one episode.
    • Going against Anubis wasn't much of a pet the dog moment, Yu was just the last member of the Goa'uld alliance who'd trashed him the last time, and presumably knew what he was capable of.
  • Toyed with in the 2003 Battlestar Galactica miniseries. Doctor Gaius Baltar is shown to be a selfish, arrogant coward. When the opportunity to flee Caprica, under nuclear attack by the Cylons, comes down to a lottery, the chance to switch his number for the one drawn -- by tricking the elderly woman whose number it is -- falls into his lap... he is interrupted by Helo recognizing him before we find out what he would have done, and nervously tells Helo that the old lady has the winning number. Helo gives his own seat to Baltar because he's a famous genius scientist.
    • D'Anna Biers/Cylon Number Three rarely gets these moments (unless you count being nice to Baltar), but literally pets a dog affectionately on New Caprica.
  • Ashes to Ashes: Ray Carling, who began his tenure in-universe as one of the least endearing human beings on the face of the earth, gets a fair number of these, starting in Season 1 when, despite holding views that could accurately be described as "everythingist," he's the only one in the station who has time for a traumatized young black woman who turns out to be a prostitute, a rape victim, and the key to the week's case. More recently he gets a huge Tear Jerker moment while talking down the episode's antagonist, a traumatized Falklands veteran, with a speech about how he came from a family of decorated military heroes, and everyone expected him to follow in their footsteps, but he was so terrified that he sabotaged his own enlistment interview... And later on he kisses Alex on the cheek. Awwww.
    • And what of the Guv himself, the hardened DCI Gene Hunt? He's had quite a few "pet the dog" moments in the Life On Mars/Ashes to Ashes universe, including a particularly notable example at the end of series 1 of Ashes to Ashes where he rescues a very young Alex Drake from the site of an explosion. The way he lovingly embraces her like a father would a daughter as he's carrying her out? Awwww.
  • The writers of The Shield tried many, many times to humanize Vic after his reprehensible murder of Terry Crowley in the pilot episode. This included his friendship with junkie prostitute Connie, a paternal need to protect children wherever and whenever, and the love he has for the members of his Strike Team and his family. This is then thrown right back in the audience's face by series creator Shawn Ryan in the final series of episodes, because for all the good Vic did in Farmington and for his family, he still committed a long list of serious crimes and alienated everyone who ever got close to him.
    • Shane Vendrell "kidnapping" Vic's family (in order to protect them from an Armenian mob hit) was meant to garner sympathy after he killed Lem (who Vendrell believed would turn the whole Strike Team and their criminal acts over to the Feds) at the end of Season 5.
  • In the pilot of Boardwalk Empire Nucky Thompson seems to be a classic money grubbing sleazebag politician who is taking advantage of prohibition for his own financial gain, yet his concern for abused immigrant Margaret Schroeder seems completely genuine.
    • And then there's Nelson Van Alden, the inhumanly humourless and puritanical prohibition agent who, after destroying Lucy's dreams and crushing her spirit without even trying, inadvertently stops her from an old-fashioned abortion with the surprise gift of a record player.
  • From Malcolm in the Middle...
    • Reese's Character Development
    • Played for Laughs when Lois thinks she's just a monster and then does something responsible.
    • Even Ida gets one. Ida's probably the closest you can get to Complete Monster in the series, abusing her children, trying to sue Lois, manipulating a man to marry her with mood elevators, doing all sorts of psychologically abusive things to her grandchildren. Her Pet the Dog moment comes from when all of a sudden, Ida looks out the house, notices a car heading in Dewey's direction, then dives in the way and loses her leg to save him.
  • In Deep Space Nine Business as Usual Worf is shown cradling the O'Brian's baby in his arms in one scene and mentioning that he never got to spend time with his own son at that age.
  • G'kar from Babylon 5 starts out as quite the Jerkass Smug Snake. The first indication that he's not quite so bad of a guy is when he sends out Narn ships to rescue an impulsive woman who'd blatantly disregarded his advice, and follows that up with a pretty profound philosophical moment.
  • In the last episode of Game of Thrones, The Hound, portrayed up to this point as a Would Hurt a Child Jerkass bordering on Complete Monster, stops Sansa Stark from suicidal impusiveness after her father dies, and gives her some brief advice and comfort.
  • In the relaunch of Upstairs, Downstairs, Hallam's mother comes across as imposing and annoying, butting heads with her daughter-in-law, shipping the Cute Mute orphan Lotte to an asylum, and sending Hallam's sister, who had Down's Syndrome, to an asylum and telling him that she died. We find out at the end of the season that Hallam's mother truly loved her daughter and took care to send her to a place that were she was kept very comfortable and happy. She also sent Lotte to the same place, foreshadowed when Hallam wonders how in the world his mother would know of a "good" asylum to send Lotte to.
  • The titular character of Sherlock describes himself as a "high-functioning sociopath" and ridicules Watson for considering him a hero. That doesn't stop him from hating his brother for upsetting their mother, begging a criminal to help him solve a case when it becomes apparent that a child will be blown up otherwise, and seriously lose his composure when Watson has a bomb vest rigged with explosives strapped to him.
    • And in Scandal in Belgravia, he realizes just how insulting he was being to Molly, apologizes, and gives her a kiss on the cheek.
  • In the 2003 revival of The Twilight Zone, the episode It's Still a Good Life shows us that Anthony has grown up and is still mentally a child, considering people who hide things from him to be "sneaky people", bullying the townsfolk, and wishing away people to the cornfield (this, we find out, includes his own wife). In spite of this, he seems to love his mother and his daughter as much as he is capable of. In fact, his daughter is the only one who does not fear him at all, because he never threatens or harms her.
  • One of the stories during the last season of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction? had the famous outlaw Jesse James and his brother Frank help out an old widow pay off her mortgage using money they stole from previous robberies(and they give her the helpful advice to ask for a receipt when the debt collector shows up the next morning) after she let them into her home and served them dinner during a cold, rainy night.

New Media Edit

  • The *chan boards, of all places, has this in the concept of the MS Paint relationship thread. See here for examples.
    • Furthermore, the channel on 4chan known as /r9k/, a board originally developed with a filter that blocks unoriginal text or images, has (d)evolved to embody the MS Paint relationship thread, becoming the unofficial place to ask questions, share or complain about relationships. Many believe that it needs to be cauterized.
    • 4chan saves a cat.
    • Their love for cats seems to have developed into a general consensus.
    • And stands up to the Church of Tropology, although that may be Even Evil Has Standards.
  • Something Awful may proudly be (or at least used to be) some of the greatest jerks on the internet, but often remark that new members can get lost in Pet Island.
  • On Encyclopedia Dramatica, often described as some kind of haven for trolls, the talk pages are quite civil, oftentimes even polite -- moreso than those of The Other Wiki.

Professional Wrestling Edit

Theater Edit

  • "The Policeman's Song" in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance laments that even thieves and murderers love the simple, pure English countryside. ("When the coster's finished jumping on his mother / He loves to lie a-basking in the sun...")
    • And "When a felon's not engaged in his employment / or maturing his felonious little plans. / His capacity for innocent enjoyment / is just as great as any honest man's."


Video Games Edit

  • In Metal Gear Solid, a female villain quite literally pets a dog to prove her not-all-bad-ness. One of the characters remarks that her love of dogs must mean she's good inside, prompting the main character to rant about how her love of dogs proves nothing. While it might seem like a subversion at the time, as we proceed it turns out that the villain is not a creepy stalkerish murderer, but a lonely dog lover who only wants to be loved. Then Snake kills her.
    • Snake's love of animals probably counts too, because it's the first suggestion we get that he's anything other than an action hero with no inner life.
      • If anything Snake's dismissal of Otacon's defense of Wolf on this basis is deeply ironic and not a little tragic - he loves dogs too, but he believes himself to be an intrinsically worthless human being outside of the battlefield. Snake's self-loathing becomes more apparent by MGS 4, until Big Boss reappears, more-or-less apologizes to Snake for how fucked up his life was, and then tells Snake to live out the short remainder of his life in peace and happiness.
    • From Sons Of Liberty Fortune blasts apart a squad of Navy Seals for not being able to shoot her and then apologises to the dead seagulls that got hit by their bullets.

  "I'm so sorry my beauties. I'll see you again someday"

  • In Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, Illidan Stormrage is a power-hungry, demon-night elf hybrid. Still, he goes out of his way to help save Tyrande, his sister-in-law, for whom he harbors an unrequited love.
  • In World of Warcraft, Kel'Thuzad is an undead lich who serves as The Dragon to Arthas Menethil, the Lich King. However players can confront a kitten named Mr. Bigglesworth in his lair. If killed his reaction seems to be sadness and vengeful hatred towards those heartless loot-seekers that just killed his kitty.
    • King Varian Wrynn, who is considered a racist jackass by some, gets one when he allows an enemy general to pass through Alliance lines unmolested so that he could retrieve the body of his slain son.
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant has a Giant Mook named Lenny, who is a recurring foe on the first disc. On the second disc, however, one Sidequest reveals that he spends considerable amounts of time petting the dog. Among other things: he saved an old woman from muggers, he sent one mook with an ailing mother to report to their boss and thus saved him from certain death on the next mission, and he made a poor thief self-sufficient by teaching him math (which helped him get a job).
    • And in the sequel, when Johnny gave him a glass of water a few years before the game, he vowed to serve him for life, serving as a Battle Butler and being the muscle behind his top-tier Tool attack.
  • Sonic Adventure 2: During the game's final story, Eggman sets aside his rivalry with Sonic and company to stop the ARK from crashing into the earth. While the credits roll, we see Eggman having a friendly conversation with Tails about how he used to idolize his grandfather (the man responsible for almost destroying the world this time).
  • God of War: Chains of Olympus seems to have a number of cinematics showing tender moments between Kratos and his family, before you-know-what happens. The ultimate peak of this, Kratos reuniting with his daughter after renouncing his violent past and powers, is followed by a heartbreaking Shoo the Dog moment, where he has to shove his daughter away (in one of the series' trademark button mashing minigames no less) in order to save the world. It goes a long way to establish just why Kratos is so goddamn angry in the later games.
  • In the Demon Path of Soul Nomad and The World Eaters, the Big Bad and his party arrive at a city full of rich merchants hoping for some good murder and plunder, when one of the lackeys, a sort of anti-Robin Hood whom
  • Phantom Hourglass, Linebeck spends the entire game as a gutless coward who has to be bribed by the Ocean King to convince him to help out at all. At the very end of the game, he sees that Link lost his sword and is being attacked by Bellum and promptly stabs the demon to give Link a chance to fight back. The poor guy is then possessed for his efforts.
    • At the end of Wind Waker, Ganondorf knocks out Link and steals the Triforce of Courage, but promises not to kill him or Zelda. Unfortunately, this goes out the window a second later when he loses the chance to rule Hyrule and goes rather crazy, determined to drown them all.
  • Happens a few times in Street Fighter:
    • Sagat allowed both his former student Adon, who coveted his title, and Joke Character Dan, whose father he killed in a fight, defeat him to gain either the title or closure they sought. The second instance was the first step in his Heel Face Turn, as he saw how much obsession with revenge ruined Dan's life (at the very least, it caused Gouken to turn him away partway through training, resulting in his Joke Character style), and he realized his obsession with Ryu was doing the same to him.
    • Balrog, of all people, gets one of these in Street Fighter IV. Bison's plans have, apparently, gone to Hell, and Balrog is stomping around the ruined base looking for some treasure to loot before the whole place blows up. He runs into a scared little girl instead, and opts to carry her out. He only decided to save her after he discovered she had some sort of special powers, so his motives might not be as altruistic as they seem...
  • In Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New World Alice gets one in a sidequest, wherein an old lady from Sylvarant is thrown away by a priest from the Church of Martel when she requests that he save his son. After Alice and Decus show up and beat up the priest, Alice tells the woman to go to Flanoir, where her son will be given free treatment. This may be because Alice's parents were slaughtered by animals on a forced pilgrimage. This is also the reason why she believes Might Makes Right.
  • In Mother 3, Fassad is shown as being down right evil: torturing monkeys, and corrupting innocent civilizations, but after he is defeated, the player meets his pet mouse who is eagerly awaiting his beloved master's return.
  • Minor example: In Persona 4, there's a snippet of dialogue from a Yasogami student that hints that Sadist Teacher Kinshiro Morooka can have some pleasant moments, as the student said that she got some candy from him. He's also in the habit of offering serious career advice to his students on the sly.
  • Save the truly villainous ones, the normally antagonistic rival prosecutors in the first three Ace Attorney games each have their own Pet the Dog moment to prove they're not as mean as their courtroom abuse of Phoenix would have you think.
    • In "Bridge to the Turnabout", the smug Godot shows a soft spot for children when he comforts a distraught Pearl by giving her his last cup of coffee, and sweetens it for her.
    • Word of God reports that Miles Edgeworth has a literal dog, named Pess, whose death would probably completely shatter him.
    • Franziska has her soft spots, particularly towards young children and the hapless Adrian Andrews. Even if she previously manipulated Andrews' codependency issues for court purposes.
    • In the non-prosecutor department, Matt Engarde has a cat named Shoe who he asks you to feed.
  • A subtle variation of this may have shown up in Pokémon's fourth generation games; Cyrus, the nihilistic Big Bad who proudly admits he only uses Pokémon for their power, has a Crobat, a Pokémon that can only evolve from a Golbat through happiness (which increases as the bond a Pokémon has with its Trainer grows stronger). Crobat has actually been used similarly by the series, although in the earlier case it was to show that the rival had started valuing his Pokémon, rather than a Pet the Dog moment.
    • A far less subtle case is where Cyrus, after the hero battles through his mooks and defeats him in battle, exclaims how he admires the hero's courage, gives him a Master Ball as a reward, and tells him where to go to save the Spirit Pokémon. In "Diamond" and "Pearl", he comes to regret this, as it ends up ruining his plan, but in "Platinum", he's more prepared.
  • Skies of Arcadia: Mercenary helmsman Lawrence borders on being a Jerkass most of the time, but when he's not on duty he chooses to hang out with Pow, so he can't be all bad. Also, when the Crescent Island base is destroyed, he is seen clumsily trying to corral the escaped chickens.
  • At the end of First Encounter Assault Recon, Harlan Wade is so deeply affected by guilt over what he did to Alma that he decides to let her out and allow her to kill him. Then again, he knew she was little more than a walking personification of murderous hatred by that point and let her out of her box anyway, which makes him a bit less sympathetic.
    • In Project Origin, one of the intelligence files reveals that the music box that appears early on in the game in Genevive Aristide's apartment (and is the source of the recurring theme music throughout the game) originally belonged to Alma, and that Aristide had it brought to her home, so she could listen to it and remind herself of how guilty she is herself.
      • Given Aristide's greedy, self-justifying behavior and comments in both Project Origin and the supplemental promotional materials, the idea of Aristide feeling any guilt over Armacham's treatment of Alma seems highly unlikely. Maybe Aristide just likes the music box's tune.
    • Alma herself has a few Pet the Dog moments toward both the Point Man and Becket, like when she kills a group of Replicas that have the Point Man pinned down in Extraction Point, or when she kills an Abomination that is directing Replica soldiers against Becket, or kills ATC troops in Becket's path in Wade Elementary.
  • Mana Khemia Alchemists of Al Revis features Roxis (The Rival, Jerk with a Heart of Gold and once a part of the Quirky Miniboss Squad) who gets a few of these moments throughout the game, mostly after being recruited into the game's band of heroic friends. The first example was almost literal: adopting a stray kitten whose mother just died. He's even seen baby talking to it, although he'll deny any such events took place when confronted
  • Fable II: You can play as evil as you want, but your faithful dog still loves you.
  • In Dynasty Warriors: Empires the ending consists of a 'clip show' with various officers of your faction in "Romance of the Three Kingdoms outakes". One clip shows one of your officers leaping in front of a runaway carriage to save a small lapdog, then with their most heroic and staunch Chinese Warlord face, they nod approvingly over the tail-wagging little thing. Especially funny when a real jerkass officer like Lu Bu does it. Downright hysterical if that officer happens to be the Emperor of China at the moment.
  • An Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies cutscene shows the enemy ace Yellow 13 holding and petting a small dog. He also saves the narrator and the barkeeper's daughter from getting caught by military policemen after the latter is seen planting explosives.
  • Subverted in Hitman: Blood Money, where throughout the game, you see the cold blooded killer keeps a pet canary. However, the moment the bird starts chirping at an inopportune time: * crunch* .
    • Also subverted in Contracts, where 47 has the option of petting the dog in order to advance his agenda: for example, he can offer to take the place of a tired bartender- so he can poison a customer's drinks.
  • Lord Wily of the Mega Man Battle Network series has paid for the medical treatment of Joe Mach's daughter, and he also temporarily abandoned his quest for revenge on society to take care of Baryl for a friend. He also gets a Crowning Moment of Awesome when he walks into an exploding volcano to rescue his own son Regal and give him a second chance to be an upright human being courtesy of Laser-Guided Amnesia mixed with a rather amazing Reset Button.
    • The one from the classic series gets a few too; in Mega Man 10, he turned out to be the villain again, but, when he got a fever from Roboenza, he was put into the hospital, he escapes soon afterward, but not before leaving enough Robonenza cure capsules to cure a population, and if it's not enough, they could still examine it and determine the cure, Wily may be a villain who wants to take over the world, but he's not a heartless monster.
  • Koei loves giving Oda Nobunaga pet the dog moments:
    • A cinematic in Samurai Warriors: Empires has Nobunaga trying to cheer up Nene when she's upset by her husband's philandering. (This one happens to be Truth in Television, quoted straight from a letter Nobunaga wrote to Nene.)
    • In the Sengoku ending of Warriors Orochi, Xiao Qiao gets upset when the three main characters (Nobunaga, Uesugi Kenshin, and Takeda Shingen) start trading not-so-veiled threats at each other, so Nobunaga chuckles and pats her on the head. (Its All There in the Manual - Xiao Qiao reminds him of his sister Oichi.)
    • In Samurai Warriors 2, this gets raised to Ho Yay levels when he sheds a tear at Mitsuhide's death in his ending.
  • In Blaz Blue, everyone mocks at Bang Shishigami. The only one who actually praised him genuinely is Hakumen. That's right, the Hero Antagonist who exemplifies Good Is Not Nice.
    • In Continuum Shift he gets another. When he meets Tsubaki Yayoi, instead of brushing her off, as he does most people, he sits down and asks her to 'listen to an old man's tale'. He tells her of a story of a woman he loved, but who tragicly died. He was referring to Tsubaki herself, as Hakumen is really Jin Kisaragi from the previous time loop. Then once he figures out Hazama's plans for Tsubaki he finds this loop's Jin and convinces him to go save her, not wanting her to die in this loop too.
    • Also, in the first game, Ranga the Bloodedge is given two options after defeating Arakune in his story mode. Option one is to just leave and let Litchi greave over him. Option two is to stay behind and finish the job. If you choose this option, Ragna stays and argues with Litchi over why she should let him kill Arakune. Eventually, he leaves her and grumbles something along the lines of "If you wanna save him, go ahead. It's none of my business." But, as he leaves, he also quietly whispers "Good luck."
      • He gets another one with Taokaka. After fighting him in her story mode, Ragna offers her some of his food.
    • In Continuum Shift, Jin Kisaragi is a complete asshole who throws death threats to anyone who gets in his way. However:
      • Tsubaki is his Morality Pet and possibly his Love Interest, so he cares about her well-being a lot. She's the only person in the game that Jin doesn't insult or belittle at all, if he beats her, he apologizes and promises to pick her up when it's all over, and if you actually hurt her in front of him, he will hunt you down and make sure you never do so again. The same is true for Hakumen.
      • Although to a much lesser extent than Tsubaki, he's also quite friendly to Makoto, if a little snarky. He seems to genuinely care for her well-being, saving her life when Hazama attempts to "discipline" her (read: he's trying to off her because She Knows Too Much).
      • He also seems genuinely sorry for the female officer he knocks out to escape the NOL ship at the start of his story.
      • In the Drama CD The Wheel of Fortune. It was shown that when they were kids, he is rather affectionate to Saya before she became sickly. The reason for Jin's hatred towards Saya and why she suddenly became ill is as of now unknown.
  • The protagonist of the remake of The Bards Tale is an Anti-Hero Jerkass more interested in, as the game states, "coin and cleavage" than saving the world. He is a compulsive liar and cheat, swindling his way through life and seducing his way through women. However, not only does he pick up a dog companion early in the game, but he sheds a genuine tear and vows revenge when the dog is killed by a monstrous minion of the apparent Big Bad.
  • Heavy Rain manages to pull this off in reverse. Over the course of the game, Shelby saves the Hooker with a Heart of Gold from a former client, stops a suicide, takes care for said suicide near-victim's baby, stops a liquor store hold-up, and if the player is fast enough, saves Lauren again from a drowning car. Then you find out he's the Origami Killer. It's up to the player to decide whether these acts were genuine, or if he was simply a Manipulative Bastard.
  • In Dragon Age Origins, Loghain can get one if you have him in the party with your dog. It turns out, that part of the reason he hates the Orleasians so damn much because they killed his dog.
  • In Mario and Luigi Bowsers Inside Story, Bowser, when facing his troops who went AWOL, decided not to scold or punish them instead told them to continue what they were doing and that they needn't worry of the situation.
  • In Valkyrie Profile, the PC acts as a Psychopomp, recruiting Einheriar from the 'worthy dead', and sending the rest to Hel. One of your recruitments features a low-down thug named Badrach, who's popped up in the stories of several other characters before - including participating in the kidnapping and transport of a princess, which led to her death. When his deeds finally catches up with him, he drags himself home to his worn-down little house, and his sharp-tongued wife, bleeding all the way before collapsing on the doorstep... and in the afterlife, he finds Lenneth Valkyrie waiting for him, only too eager to send him hurtling down into Hel - but she gives him a chance: Did he ever do ANYTHING worthy? A single good deed? He first tries to lie, but he cannot - instead, he merely spouts a string of crimes, from mugging and burglary to outright murder. But finally, he does recall a single redeeming act - one time, he was running security for slavers, and one slave, a little girl, took a shine to him. When the slavers' pay didn't measure up to his expectations, he ditched them and took the girl out of spite, bringing her to...an abandoned church. Probably better than staying with the slavers, though.
  • In Hulk: Ultimate Destruction you generally run around doing whatever you want, and that usually involves the killing of many, many, many innocent people. But if you so choose to grab a person you have an option besides throwing them into the distance: Putting them down gently and patting them on the head.
  • Subverted by a literal case in Fallout: New Vegas - the Legionary Antony displays more regard for the dogs under his charge than he does for people. He offers his aging favorite to be killed in the arena for the possibility of giving her immortality as the brain of a cyber-dog, and he gives the other dogs a teddy bear to play with - which he took from a child slave.
    • Played straight in the ending if Caesar's Legion wins and Caesar himself is still alive. One of the only non-evil things he does is let the humanitarian organization Followers of the Apocalypse leave Vegas peacefully because he himself was raised by the Followers.
  • Revealed near the very end of Dead Space 2. Director Tiedemann, who seemed throughout the game to be a cold, ruthless Corrupt Corporate Executive, is in fact shown via three audio logs to have had the best interests of humanity in his heart. He went along with the Marker project because humanity was slowly dying out and he thought that this was their best hope for salvation, and when the outbreak occurred he blatantly disregarded the protocols set in place by the shadowy figures in charge and called for a station wide evacuation, doing his best to save as many citizens as possible from the necromorphs.
  • Subverted in the non-canonical ending of Tekken 5. Kazuya actually paid respect to his grandpa Jinpachi before fighting him by giving him a respectful bow. After beating him, he even cradled him on his hand while remininscing his past with his grandpa, when he was an innocent boy... cue Kazuya getting his Evil Eyes activated, killed Jinpachi with his own hand and cue another Evil Laugh... He got you again, didn't he?
  • Gogandantess from Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny is a highly arrogant Genma who is the self-proclaimed "greatest swordsman of all demons". Although he isn't nearly as evil as the other Genma shown in this series - in fact he is very honorable and chivalrous - he's still definitely a bad guy. So, it comes as a surprise to Jubei (and the players) when, just as it looks as though Oyu is going to plummet to a firey death, Gogandantess leaps in and saves her at the last second.
  • Depending on your playthrough of Mass Effect, Commander Shepard has his moments. Most notably if he's usually renegade and starts abusing NPCs outside his crew but takes a moment to console his squad with any problems they might have. This can be played fully straight if he's constantly renegade all the time in the sequel but takes the paragon route on his crew's loyalty missions.
  • Kitsune, the fourth Lord of Chaos in Adventure Quest Worlds, is extremely fond of all of his fellow Yokai. When Emperor Daisho started inviting foreigners from outside Yokai Island to the island itself, Kitsune became furious and didn't share the same sentiment with Daisho, vowing to do everything he could to return the island to its former secluded sanctuary - which is how Drakath made him the fourth Chaos Lord. Kitsune became a Magnificent Bastard as soon as Drakath convinced him to use the Hanzamune Dragon Koi Blade to free the O-dokuro from its prison in the rift of time.
    • Zahart was extremely fond of Tibicenas, the eighth Lord of Chaos, whom he got the ability to summon and command after Drakath gave him a chaorrupted magic ring. He was so fond of Tibicenas that he wanted to use him to rule the Sandsea for all eternity after paying off his debt to Drakath by using the red diamond found by his slaves to animate the Chaos Sphinx. Unfortunately for him, Tibicenas has plans much worse than he himself had originally planned.
    • And in the Doomwood saga, Drakath, being the Affably Evil guy he is, has landed himself in this spot since he kindly retreieves Vordred's helmet and returns it to Sally.
  • In Ghost Trick, Yomiel possesses people to force them to commit crimes, cuts a deal with a foreign nation who will almost certainly use what he offers them to attack other counties, and manipulates poor Kamala into killing her own mother, albeit indirectly. Towards the end of the game, he saves Lynne and Kamala from drowning by breaking open the submarine door that's stuck and manipulating junk to make an arm to pull her out. We also get one from Dandy, who is very polite and kind to Kamala, even when he kidnaps her, giving her a book and juice, finding it disturbing that he and his associate were asked to hold Kamala captive in the remains of her former home, and crying over Kamala's fate in the timeline when she was crushed to death.
  • The first part of Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core serves as this for pre-insanity Sephiroth by showing that before the notorious mission to Nibelheim, he was actually a relatively nice person who had friends and worried about them.
  • Travis Touchdown of No More Heroes, a perverted, Blood Knight Otaku, has a thing for cats. He owns a Scottish Fold, Jeane, which he can interact with in both games and one of the jobs in the first game has him finding runaway cats.
  • Yeager of Tales of Vesperia was portrayed as one of the Big Bad's servants, and was considered to be evil and manipulative. However, there are two girls who're helping him, and during his final battle, explicitly ordered them to not join in the fight between him and the heroes, heavily implying that he wanted to die. If you do a big of digging, you find that Gauche and Droite were actually from an orphanage that Yeager funded, and pledged their lives to help him.


Web Comics Edit

  • Order of the Stick
    • Haley's motive for collecting money. And we can't forget that she favoured helping the dirt farmers even though there would be absolutely no reward. Notably, she called Roy out for assuming that she wouldn't want to help them -- yes, she likes money, but just because she expects compensation for adventuring doesn't mean she won't help people in need!
    • Belkar Bitterleaf, a Chaotic Evil halfling who on one occasion used a kobold's head for a salsa bowl, has recently adopted the late Lord Shojo's cat, Mr. Scruffy. While he justifies it by using the cat for a weapon at one point, he seems to genuinely care for it. Then again, he also liked Lord Shojo for being a Magnificent Bastard, to the point of going berserk when Miko killed him. ("YOU KILLED THE WACKY OLD DUDE WITH THE CAT?!?")
    • Miko seems to have a genuine affection for her paladin steed, leading to a few Pet the Horse scenes, especially her final moments.
    • Tsukiko seems to be getting one of these in her deluded, but still caring, attitude towards the undead. Then again, since she's a self-confessed necrophiliac, her motherly behaviour towards them might make it even worse.
    • Gannji and Enor have a shared Pet the Dog moment during the Gladiator Games, when they refuse to duel each other and Gannji has to persuade Enor to kill him in order to prevent them both being executed.
      • This moment was so moving it inspired Belkar to have one of his own by releasing a dinosaur into the arena to allow them to escape since their relationship reminded him of his bond with Mr. Scruffy. The carnage that resulted was a bonus.
  • Richard of Looking for Group has a rather shocking Pet The Dog moment when he saves a child from an explosive blast. The reason? The child wasn't afraid to die.
    • A more straight example is how Richard seems to like the rabbit the rest of the group jokingly gave him as a mount when he was shrunk. Well, at least, it's one of the few woodland creatures he's run across that he didn't immediately immolate.
  • In ~8-bit Theater~, Black Mage's love for White Mage is the only thing at this point from stopping him from being a Complete Monster.
    • Fixed That For You.
    • Sarda offers the "Dark Warriors" a chance to run before he starts absorbing the power of the orbs.

 "Look, I don't do this... uh, ever. But you guys are basically like kittens stuck on a leaking lifeboat in a typhoon. Just run."

    • Sarda seems to like Fighter more than the other three, probably because he realises that he's actually good as opposed to Black Mage, Red Mage and Thief. For example, in one instance, Fighter asks for a reward (and hopes that it is candy), but Sarda says something about the next quest. In the end, Sarda tells Fighter, "By the way, Fighter, here's the candy." Also, Sarda (after resurrecting Fighter and Thief, who have been killed by Black Mage) states that the Light Warriors are "all selfish monsters who need to die for the good of everyone else." Black Mage asks surprised if that also applies to Fighter, and Sarda answers he isn't. While Fighter cheers, Sarda explains that he still has to kill him anyway. And then Black Mage cheers.
  • In Xkcd, Black Hat Guy gets such a moment which includes baking a cake. Aw...
  • The Ork from Da Real Wurld 40k seems to like the grots that infest the character's house. The Dark Eldar chick constantly demands he do something about them, and he seems genuinely saddened when she shoots one off his head. For an ork, he's surprisingly well-balanced.
  • Rowasu of Juathuur doesn't kill Juinn when he has the chance. Not only that, but he doesn't kill his crow, who ate one of his eyes!
  • In Goblins, Minmax the Unstoppable Warrior is the first antagonist the heroes face, and his party's slaughter of a goblin village is the catalyst for the Goblin Adventuring Party's formation. He is painted as a mostly unsympathetic jackass who is technically Chaotic Good, but assumes all goblins are just XP fodder. When he eventually meets the Goblinslayer, he is overcome with hero worship. But when he finds out the latter has a sapient snake-woman whom he rapes and tortures nightly for fun, he throws him through a window.
  • Homestuck. The guy who would go on to become Spades Slick had one such moment during the Hivebent Intermission. Begins here.

 "Saddest story you ever heard. Got to do something to shut him up."


Web Original Edit

  • In Survival of the Fittest, Dorian, one of the terrorists behind the Act, has been shown to send most of the money he earns from working in the organisation behind SOTF to his mother. It helps that he's well... pathetic too.
  • "You hear that, world? I love my pink, freakish, orb-shaped son!"
  • Even though he's more Jerkass Woobie than bad guy, The Nostalgia Critic paused in his rampaging through an anime convention dressed as a Ghostbusters and trying to destroy Casper the Friendly Ghost (It Makes Sense in Context) to tell a little girl that she was adorable. The fact that it was ad-libbed makes it even sweeter.
    • Even when playing The Caligula in Kickassia, the Critic is upset enough at having accidentally shot Santa Christ that he rallies everyone involved with That Guy With The Glasses (even those who weren't otherwise involved with the filming) to attempt to revive him with the power of faith. It doesn't work and he ends up tossing Santa Christ in a dumpster.
    • In Suburban Knights, after spending the entire event tricking and manipulating the reviewers of his site, all while he himself refuses to play along and act in character and generally is a selfish bastard, the Critic is genuinely worried about Team 2 after he figures out that the map he got in a chain letter was sent by Malachite, and that Team 2 had no way of knowing that there was an Evil Luddite tracking them down. Immediately after, he and the rest of Team 1 band together to take down the next obstacle, so that they can quickly find Team 2 and warn them. (Given how the reviewers in general had their turns as jerks, this would count for them all in general)
  • In There Will Be Brawl, Wario, the series' resident sneaky and manipulative bastard, is revealed to also be taking care of his mentally-handicapped brother, Waluigi.
    • Then blows all the acquired sympathy by using him to deliver a bomb to Red.
    • There's also a subversion when he apologizes to Red's girlfriend for causing Red's death, offering her money to make amends. As he walks towards her, the audience can see him holding a Home Run bat behind his back. Fortunately, Leaf is not fooled and kills him with Jiggleypuff.
  • The Slender Man may be a Humanoid Abomination with terrifying powers and inscrutable motives, but he still supports the Haiti relief effort.
  • Despite all her abuse, The Nostalgia Chick's shown affection towards Nella on occasion. The end of her Ever After and My Little Pony reviews give the impression that she knows how ridiculously adorable Nella can be and loves it like the rest of us.
  • From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Diabolical Mastermind Lord Doom was one of the primary researchers behind the AIDS cure. He provided the cure to the world not for any underhanded ulterior motive, but because the AIDS epidemic was killing innocent people and he wouldn't stand for that. He also gives tens of millions of dollars to charities every year.
  • SCP-682: Terrifying Nigh Invulnerable reptilian monster that tries to kill everything it comes into contact with because they're "disgusting"... except for SCP-053. Not only did it not kill her, it let her draw on its carapace with crayons and gave her a pony ride.
  • In Shadowhunter Peril, Oblivion the single most powerful being in the entire story, and who can turn into something that resembles a near-Eldritch Abomination-type creature, enjoys murdering helpless civilians for fun, then stabs the entire resistance in the back by a attempting to kill Puriel and joins the enemy because he was bored of not being able to fight anybody. Word of God states that he has an unwaveringly fierce love for kittens.
  • In Katawa Shoujo
    • Kenji, a paranoid misogynist conspiracy theorist, makes unsavory remarks about the girls, steals books from the library and borrows money without paying it back. However, on Lilly's route, when he accidentally runs into her, he offers to help her up, and when Hisao finds out that Lilly is leaving for Scotland, he offers to talk with him if he needs it. In Shizune's route, after Hisao gets a "Dear John" Letter from Iwanako, he fondly talks about his old girlfriend.
    • Shizune, as Student Council President, has a reputation around Yamaku as incredibly bossy, and as a result, everyone besides her best friend and interpreter, Misha, left the council. However, in Hanako's route, she helps Hisao take Hanako to the nurse's office when she suffers a panic attack, and it's implied that she likes and is concerned about Hanako, but can't get close to her because Hanako's best friend is Lilly, who is in a feud with Shizune. In Lilly's route, Shizune manages to reconcile with Lilly. In Shizune's own route, she reveals that all of her actions, starting with her attempts to recruit Hisao to the student council, were done so that he would snap out of his depression. She also states that making people happy and engaged is her goal, and she hopes to become a philanthropist.


Western Animation Edit

  • If the show has a Christmas Episode, it will often feature the villain in Pet the Dog mode (e.g. Dr. Drakken, Skeletor, and Ultra-Humanite).
  • In the The Spectacular Spider-Man episode "First Steps", two kids poke fun at a little girl's sand castle. Sandman uses his power to turn the area around them into a huge Disney-esque castle, chasing the boys away. The little girl thanks "Mr. Sandman". He smiles and tells her to go home as its getting cold. The episode is Pet the Dog from beginning to end.
  • Bender on Futurama petted the dog a few times, but the show spoofed this on at least one occasion:

 Bender: But inside, you've got the heart of a robot.

Fry: Aww... thanks, Bender.

Bender: Just like inside me, I've got the heart of a human! (takes a human heart from his chest compartment) ...What?

    • Bender's biggest Pet the Dog moment was most likely in "Jurassic Bark", where he spends the whole episode acting like a insensitive, possessive, abusive, jealous jackass because Fry, his best friend, is spending so much time trying to figure out how to clone his old dog Seymour, his best friend before Bender. Eventually, Bender gets so fed up he takes Seymour's fossil and throws it into a lava vent. However, when this causes Fry to collapse in grief, he realizes (and admits), that Fry loved his dog much the same way Bender loves Fry. He then dives into the boiling lava to retrieve Seymour despite Fry's protests, melting his eyes in the process.
      • Virtually any time Bender realizes he seriously hurt Fry's feelings leads to him showing unusual kindness.
  • Subverted by Duckman. The grouchy and sarcastic main character frequently shows signs of tenderness when he has his late wife on his mind -- but he's usually thinking back on their sex life.
  • Rampage from Beast Wars is generally depicted as nothing short of a monster, a sadist, and a walking nightmare...except in the episode "Transmutate", in which he finds a kindred spirit in the episode's freakish, disfigured, and pitiful title character. He even goes so far as to be moved to sorrow by its death. This is both an example and a rather dark subversion: showing this sliver of tenderness causes further signs of his depravity to stand out all the more.
  • The trope can apply to pure villains as well. In Justice League Unlimited, Galatea, the murderously psycho clone of Supergirl, shares a moment of genuine warmth with her "father", Professor Emil Hamilton, just before she cheerfully goes on a mission of mass murder.
  • Deconstructed on Avatar: The Last Airbender. Prince Zuko is given several moments that establish him as less of a villain than most of the Fire Nation: sparing his arch rival Commander Zhao -- and later trying to save his life, choosing to save his uncle over chasing the Avatar, refusing to rob a pregnant woman when he's starving, freeing Appa from Lake Laogai, etc. All this, however, does not lead to a Heel Face Turn, but only doubles the shock when it doesn't happen. Though it doesn't make any surprise when it eventually does happen.
    • Azula gets a couple during the Beach Episode, such as when she makes a cutting remark towards Ty Lee about how she only attracts so many men because she is such a tease, and then apologises when Ty Lee cries (even admitting that she is a bit jealous). This goes some way to showing that Azula's friendship with Mai and Ty Lee does mean something to her which foreshadows the effect that their Heel Face Turn has on her.
  • The Monarch in The Venture Brothers, tears up moments before he was to be declared man and wife with Dr. Girlfriend. The Phantom Limb interupts the wedding with copters which prompts the Monarch to scream "OHHHH, DICK MOVE!"
    • The Monarch pet the dog so hard in season two, that fans were actually upset to be reminded in the following season that he is, in fact, a professional villain, and therefore not very nice.
  • Stewie Griffin, in the early seasons of Family Guy, was a diabolical and downright sociopathic baby who, after petting the dog a few times, had his character changed completely by the fourth and fifth season. But who are we kidding? It's all just for laughs.
    • Another Family Guy episode offers a subversion when greedy tobacco company executives discuss making a line of toys to get kids interested in smoking cigarettes, complete with an Evil Laugh. Until the head pulls up a puppy and starts to pet it and talk to it in baby voice. He then hands the dog to another executive, pulls out a rifle and says "Pull..."
  • Invader Zim has a few Pet the Dog moments with his minion-disguised-as-a-dog.

 Gir: (tearing up after Zim yells at him)

Zim: Guh... I can see you understand your mistake, Gir, and me being angry will get us nowhere.

    • The above example is a bit of a stretch, since GIR wasn't crying because he realized he'd done wrong, but rather because he missed the cupcake he had just eaten. But still, Zim thought he was being nice.
    • The trope becomes mind-numbingly literal since GIR's Earth disguise is as a dog. There are other good moments like this: Zim promised the moon to GIR once he takes over Earth, genuinly cares about his safety against the zombies (candy-starved children) and when GIR actually does something right he stops to think to himself.

 Zim: Maybe that little robot isn't such a bad evil minion after all.

  • In The Boondocks, Uncle Ruckus, a black man coincidentally racist against other black men and a white supremacist, is shown petting the dog many times (excluding all of the times has talked to Granddad), namely in the episodes "The Trial Of R. Kelly" (the park scene), "Granddad's Fight" (Ruckus is willingly Granddad's co-sensei, and comments after the fight with Stinkmeaner: "I told you a nigga that black couldn't fight."), "Return Of The King" (where Ruckus comes to dinner with Granddad even after throwing random objects at Martin Luther King), "The Itis" (where Ruckus comments: "If there's one thing a colored man is good at, it's cooking up a pig."), "Stinkmeaner Strikes Back" (Ruckus helps Huey, Riley, and Granddad exorcise Tom), "Home Alone" (Ruckus agrees to babysit Riley and Huey), and "The Story of Catcher Freeman". (Ruckus comments: "Catcher Freeman was the greatest nigga that ever lived!")
    • And none of those cover the most notable and most genuine act of dog petting Ruckus ever did, in the Christmas episode; after filling in as a mall Santa and leaving Jasmine completely disillusioned when it comes to Santa's existence, Ruckus later approached her and explained that of course he wasn't really Santa, but he was, in fact, a Secret Service agent assigned to fill in for Santa, as Santa needed to be protected from the threats against him (namely Riley Freeman and his paintball gun). Ruckus then assured Jasmine that the real Santa would be back next year, much to her delight. It's a surprisingly genuine and heartfelt moment which, since it's The Boondocks, is immediately subverted by Huey's narration where he impassively observes that Christmas miracles "only come from the lies adults tell children."
  • Played with by the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series and his relationship with Harly Quinn. Almost any time he shows real affection towards her, you can tell that he is just using her as another part of his mind games. She would catch on that he doesn't really love her, and all it took was a token gesture of affection and she would melt in his arms again.
    • Eventually expanded upon in the comics, where the Joker actually does have feelings for Harley, but his insane mind alternates rapidly between being attached to her (leading to Pet the Dog moments), not really caring about her (leading to Kick the Dog moments), or having feelings for her but hating the fact that he does (leading to some really bad moments), which all in all adds up to one screwed up relationship.
      • Joker gets a good, if twisted, one in "Emperor Joker," as he's preparing to use Mxyzptlk's powers to destroy the universe, Harley tries to talk him out of it, so he explains his surprisingly sympathetic motives (he believes any universe where a person like him could exist is fundamentally screwed up and needs to die), and then turns her into a constellation so she go peacefully and light the sky at the end of the world. He then proceeds to brutally murder everyone else (by which we mean everyone else) but the whole thing is surprisingly sentimental given that it's the freakin' Joker.

 "Say goodnight, Harley. I always wanted to see my dame in lights. Heh. Even in a moment of abject saccharine, I still got it."

    • Subverted horribly in Return of the Joker. The Joker and Harley look like they're setting up for one when they tell Batman and Batgirl that they've given up their lawless ways and just want to settle down and start a family. Then we find who "Joker Junior" is to be played by...
  • Batman Beyond: The temporarily reformed Mr. Freeze saves a cat from falling in the track of a speeding subway and gives it back to a grateful little girl and her family. Mr. Freeze was about as anti as an Anti-Villain could get already. He makes his first appearance in Batman Beyond expressing a desire to help people out. He even starts a charity to right the wrongs he committed, naming it after his beloved, dead wife.
  • In two Ben 10 Alien Force episodes in a row, a featured villain (Charmcaster and Vilgax) save the life of a child (Charmcaster levitates a boy away from being hit by a truck, and Vilgax defends one of his species' children from Ghostfreak's minions.) The two still engage in evil-doing afterwards, though.
  • In Transformers Animated there are very few moments where Sentinel Prime acts less of a Jerkass, notably in "Return of the Headmaster" where he shakes Optimus' hand after helping him regain his stolen body, and "Predacons Rising" where he took some responsibility for what happened to Elita-1 (It was his idea to go to the planet where that event happened in the first place). But his biggest Pet the Dog moment to date was at the end of "Decepticon Air" where he offered Optimus a spot in the Elite Guard, showing that the two Primes have buried the hatchet.
  • In one episode of South Park where cats are banned from the town (Kids are getting high off their urine), Cartman has to hide his cat in the attic. Then he ends up hiding one cat he finds in his backyard. Though each time he says no more, he finds himself harboring every cat in the town, in a blatant holocaust reference. When it's all over and Kyle asks Cartman if he sees in similarities between this and some other part of history, Cartman is clueless.
    • In any other episode where Cartman seems to be doing this trope, he is NOT to be trusted. The creators seem rather fond of making him look like he's become a decent person, only to suddenly reveal he's playing his friends for chumps, even though they know not to trust him. The cat example was frankly bizarre for playing this trope straight.
  • In The Simpsons, Mr. Burns has one when he decides to take care of The Simpsons' puppies. Admittedly, he was first planning to make them into a coat, but he did decide to spare them later on.
    • Another to add is any time that Bart and/or Homer get together in a heartwarming family moment.
    • In the flashback episode "I Married Marge", Homer leaves Marge (without saying where he's going) to get a real job so he can care for her and their unborn baby Bart. Seeing how despondent Marge is without Homer, Patty tells her where he is, despite the fact that she really doesn't like Homer.
  • Cotton from King of the Hill hates most things and most people for no reason. But most scenes featuring him and Bobby have him showing his own brand of love.
    • His greatest Pet the Dog moment occurs when he took the blame for Bobby for the church fire after Bobby got stomach problems from eating the entire batch of lutefisk. Even though Cotton chastised him and called him "Stinky", he nonetheless took the blame.
  • On The Fairly Odd Parents, Denzel Crocker, Evil Teacher and Big Bad before the Sorting Algorithm of Evil set in, has willingly given up a baby he was raising as his heir when he believes someone else can raise it better.
    • In Vicky's case, it's literal because her pets, particularly her dog Doidle, are the only beings she treats with any respect. But a more amazing example about Vicky comes in the storybook In a Tizzy over Turkey!: Her parents and Tootie (who, keep in mind, she treats no different than the kids she babysits) go out to get some cranberry sauce, but their car breaks down, and Vicky is actually sad that they're gonna miss their Thanksgiving dinner! Yep, even Timmy feels sorry for her when he hears that...
  • Used with little subtlety in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, when Cindy Lou Who wakes up and sees him looting the family's presents. He could have just tied her up and gagged her, but instead he tells her a comforting fib, gets her a glass of water, and sends her back to bed, foreshadowing his Heel Face Turn.
    • This is Played for Laughs in the live action movie, when the Grinch saves her from a mail machine. She sees it as proof that he's a good person, and he gets pissed and wraps her up in wrapping paper (though she is still unharmed, and her parents assume that she had trouble wrapping some gifts).
  • Heloise on Jimmy Two-Shoes has had few. A lot have to do with her Morality Pet Jimmy. She had a literal example with Cerbee, and again with a poodle rat in another episode.
  • Kim Possible. Shego's been known to do this... in her scene with Senor Senior Junior she's shown to be genuinely caring.
  • At the end of the Turtles Forever special, the hard-as-nails Mirage Turtles acknowledge their parallel universe counterparts (both the '87 and '03 Turtles) as Bash Brothers, and have developed some sort of respect for them. The Mirage Turtles even admit to liking the initialized belt-buckles of the old-toon Turtles. As it turns out, all three Turtle Teams are Not So Different.
  • While Re Boot's Megabyte may be an Evil Overlord, he has one moment of this early in the series. After crashing Enzo's birthday party and rocking out with Bob onstage, he declares "I've always wanted to do that" and gives Enzo his guitar as a birthday present. Sadly the guitar never appeared again.
  • Recess: Miss Finster is prone to this, usually with Spinelli. She also pulls this trope at the end of Recess: School's Out, after finding out that Miss Grotke's a martial arts expert and finds a newfound respect for her. This is especially heartwarming when in previous seasons, Miss Finster's shown not to like her too much.
  • Almost every character in Archer is an unsympathetic/borderline sociopathic Jerkass, but they've each gotten at least one moment each.
    • Archer insists on stopping and getting a stuffed animal for Babu the ocelot, to make up for the spartan conditions of Cheryl's care.
    • Malory cares for Archer when he is shot six times in the chest. It was Malory who shot him, but Malory being Malory, it still counts. Malory also bribed Mexican officials to save Woodhouse after he shot a woman in Mexico in a heroine-fuled bar bet.
    • Lana has a bizarre one when she agrees to have pity sex with Pam.
  • The Boss from "The Life and Times of Tim" does this with his Dog Keith


Real Life Edit

  • Bikers help fight animal cruelty.
  • And there's also the group of bikers who volunteered to keep watch over soldiers' funerals to prevent The Westboro "church" from harassing the bereaved.
  • Speaking of the Westboro church, its pastor, Fred Phelps, was a major figure in the Civil Rights movement, a champion of racial equality and integration. If only he had died in the 1970s, he would be remembered today as a hero by people of all political persuasions.
  • In 2006, an asasssin nicknamed: "The Flash" in Britain took a client's request to kill a police officer who was closing in on a crime that said client was undertaking in. However, when "The Flash" found out that the crime his client was guilty of was child rape and child pornography, he was shocked and instead left a note for the target detailing who his client was to help the officer arrest the criminal. The assassin signed off the note with "The Flash".
  • US President Andrew Jackson adopted a native American orphan.
  • While Richard Nixon meant have been forced to resign due to his political scandals, he did have times showed his gentle side.
    • He gave his daughter a dog named Checkers.
    • He also condemned segregation in the South and outlawed the practice, while improving lives of Native Americans and the Disabled by reforming Social Security to include them. The United States military was required to withdraw from the Vietnam War under his orders as president.
    • He also had proposed universal healthcare coverage for all especially for those with the inability to pay.
  • WWE Tribute to the Troops is held every year as a SCO show for the military, even Heels have respect. Children charities are also recognized by WWE and donations have been made to them. It makes sense since many of the wrestlers have children of their own and they too have been known to protect them.
  • Though Juche philosophy is the only known religion that allowed to be practiced in public, North Korean Buddhists are often treated with some respects unlike followers of other religions, which can be jailed for it. The Buddhist Temple Pohyonsa is deemed a natural treasure in North Korea due to the history Buddhism on had on Korean culture.
  • When it comes to Republicans and school funding, many are quick to jump to a conclusion unless one hears about Congressman Steve Stockman reason to limit school funding. It shouldn’t be a surprise this Texan would be tough on crime but his reasoning to limit funding would make him sound more kid-friendly than one thinks. Stockman’s reason: to end the abuse of the zero-tolerance policies, which are sending too many students to jail rather than many by handle in schools. This lawmaker had it was teachers overacting over simple items like toys and food taking a shape of guns when someone like him can tell the difference. Here’s a look at the bill to protect students in the state of Texas. This is coming from the same guy accuse of lazy and unethical campaign from the Tea Party, yet he's one of the few Republicans has limits.
    • Sure, corporal punishment is still allow in Texas, but they do have limits on the usage on lesser violations, requires parental permission, and the student is allowed back into school.

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