10 Literary Dogs Who “Stole the Book”
Any dog lover knows that canines are forever stealing the spotlight from actors on the big screen. Even an Oscar winner like Tom Hanks was no match for that big, drooling French Mastiff in Turner and Hooch! Literary dogs face a considerably bigger challenge. They must capture the hearts of the reader through the author’s words alone. They can’t fall back on their soulful brown eyes or endearing head tilt. Here are 10 biblio-pups who managed to steal the spotlight from the unsuspecting humans in the following books.
1.Clifford the Big Red Dog- In defense of Emily and the rest of the Howard family, no human could ever hold a candle to runt of the litter, Clifford. Not only is he cute, sweet and mischievous, he grows to over 25 feet tall. Dog: 1, Humans: 0.
2.Snowy from The Adventures of Tin Tin- Young reporter Tin Tin is forever getting himself into perilous situations. Despite his dramatic and risky lifestyle, he is a pretty boring character. Snowy, on the other hand, has a penchant for whiskey and snarky remarks. He clearly steals the spotlight from milquetoast Tin Tin, and often saves him from certain death. So what if he is occasionally distracted from his heroics by a tasty bone?
3.Fluffy from Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone- Despite his unfortunately inadequate name, Fluffy is quite a force to be reckoned with. A giant three headed dog whose sole purpose is to guard the trap door leading to the coveted stone. His only weakness is that music makes him sleepy, much like the mythical guard of the underworld, Cerberus. Cerberus also had three heads. Coincidence? I think not.
4.Toto from Frank Baum’s Oz Series- Throughout Baum’s delightful Oz books, Toto frequently plays the hero. He is described as gentle and intelligent, but fiercely protective of Dorothy. In Tik Tok of Oz it is revealed that Toto can speak but chooses not to. Pretty impressive for a little Cairn terrier.
5.Old Yeller- I can’t even think about Old Yeller without wanting to cry, so I’m going to keep this brief. A mongrel dog shows up to the home of the Coates family. At first, Travis, the young son tries to shoo the dog away. Later, after he saves several members of the family from vicious animal attacks, Yeller earns their love. If you don’t know how this book ends, suffice it to say Old Yeller proves himself to be the best member of the Coates family, hands down.
6.Bodger & Luath from The Incredible Journey- Accompanied by Siamese cat, Tao these two dogs travel over 300 miles through treacherous terrain in search of their family, the Hunters. Not only are these pets incredible for surviving such dangerous obstacles, they also knew enough to take off when left in the care of lousy pet sitter, John Longridge. If these were my pets, this guy would have some explaining to do!
7.Jip from Dr. Dolittle- Jip is the only dog in Dr. Dolittle’s little gang of animal companions. He heroically rescues a man stranded on a deserted island using only his sense of smell in The Story of Dr. Dolittle. Given that he can communicate with animals, I will give Dr. Dolittle credit for holding his own in these stories, but Jip and company still make the books for me!
8.Bull’s-Eye from Oliver Twist- Dickens’ novel was published in 1838, a time when animals were not as highly regarded as today. Still, the graphic depictions of the brutal abuse of Bull’s-Eye by Bill Sikes are chilling. Despite his horrific treatment, the dog stands by his master faithfully.
9.Nana from Peter Pan- Nana is hired to be the live in nanny to the three Darling children because their father is on a fixed income. Nana guards the children with all her might, proving that she is a much better caretaker than many human nannies!
10.Cujo- The name Cujo conjures images of a huge, snarling, bloodthirsty, rabid beast. Fans of Stephen King’s novel know that Cujo begins his tale as a gentle giant, loving towards children and loyal to his family. It is only after he is bitten by a particularly rabid bat that Cujo begins his descent into doggy madness. It’s worth noting that he battles this awful transformation every step of the way. Poor Cujo.