Bury Your Dogs: 37 Dog Characters Who Died In TV and Film, and How

It is true that death will one day come for us all and for us dogs, and that death generally lands at our doorsteps more quickly than it does for our human companions. But when we are simply watching a film, or perhaps attempting to eat a jigsaw puzzle or obtain physical affection while a movie plays in the living room, it is especially difficult to understand why we must witness the death of dogs?????? Historically this website has been a great fight against the murder of lesbian and bisexual characters in television but today would like to re-focus our attention away from the LGBTQIA+ community and towards my community, which is dogs (even though I prefer the company of LGBTQIA+ people to the company of dogs but I will save my internalized dogophobia for my therapist).

AHEM. The history of canine representation on television and film is long — in the late 19th century and early 20th century, aka “the era of the incidental dog” we simply lounged in the background and were not told what to do. Beginning in the 1920s, dogs finally found themselves in the spotlight, such as the famed Rin-tin-tin, who appeared in 23 films and pulled in big money for the studios. We eventually became adorable props, delightful matchmakers, comedic pals and adventure friends. As a chihuhua, I tend to pop up in films about wealthy people in Los Angeles. This makes me confused about my own life, because I live in Los Angeles and yet……… where is…… the wealth????!!?!?

However, we still do not see ourselves onscreen nearly as often as I see dogs when I am attempting to walk around outside, pretending that I am in fact the only dog in the entire world. That is why it is all the more tragic that, as The Guardian noted in 2015, we are experiencing an epidemic of “onscreen mistreatment of cute-as-a-button little pooches.” Especially in horror movies, dogs are killed off brutally and graphically in a way that is both unnecessary and unpleasant.

Is it true that dogs die in real life??? It is. But also, lesbians have full sex in real life and how often do we get to see that on the big screen???

My parent Riese wants me to say that as she was helping me construct this post, it for some reason felt more brutal than the dead lesbian characters post and she realized it was because we know the actors who play lesbian characters so it’s easy to separate actor from character but we don’t really know these dogs outside of their screen presences, you know what I mean? So instead of getting a normal amount of sleep, she decided to include the name of the doggie actor wherever she could find it!


**SPOILER ALERT FOR MOVIES AND TV SHOWS WHERE DOGS DIE**


Old Yeller (Spike) in Old Yeller, 1957

Cause of Death: Shot after being exposed to rabies

Old Yeller and his owner

“This movie ruined my life”
– Riese, CEO of Autostraddle.com


Old Dan & Little Ann in Where The Red Fern Grows, 1974

Cause of Death: Old Dan dies in a fight with a mountain lion and then Little Ann loses her will to live and dies on his grave

I feel close to Little Ann in this movie because I would also die on my best friend (riese)’s grave!!!!


Dinky (Popeye) in National Lampoon’s Vacation, 1983

Cause of Death: Family forgets to untie him from the bumper before leaving a rest stop?? COME ON GUYS

National Lampoons vacation entire family outside their station wagon


Zowie in Pet Semetary 2, 1992

Cause of Death: Shot by his owner’s sadistic step-father and then becomes a zombie

zowie in pet semetary 2 looking creepy

it looks like he’s already a zombie here, sorry


Hooch (Beasley) in Turner & Hooch, 1989

Cause of Death: Takes a bullet for his owner

Tom Hanks and Hooch the dog

Credit: Moviestore/Shutterstock // Copyright: Copyright (c) 1989 Shutterstock

Tom Hanks has said that this movie would have done better if the dog had not died!!!! I HAVE TO SAY I AGREE


Charlie in All Dogs Go To Heaven, 1989

Cause of Death: Murdered by another dog but conned his way back to earth, then drowned to save Ann-Marie

Charlie hugging his owner in her rags

The title of this movie is also a content warning, so thank you???


Two Socks (Buck & Teddy) in Dances With Wolves, 1990

Cause of Death: Shot by the Union soldiers who were arresting his owner

Kevin costner and his dog in Dances With Wolves


Kaiser (Banner) in Fear, 1994

Cause of Death: Beheaded

The whole family gathers in Fear around the car, the German Shepherd is visible


Skip (Moose & Enzo) in My Dog Skip, 2000

Cause of Death: Old Age

two kids with their dog, skip


Buckley the Beagle (Reba & Cooper) in The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001

Cause of Death: Run over by a car

Buckley in The Royal Tennenbaums

via bfi

Wes Anderson has it out for us dogs!!!!


Harry (Red) in The Amityville Horror, 2005

Cause of Death: Killed by its owner with an axe

This death is particularly egregious because not only did the dog not die in the 1979 version of The Amityville Horror, also, the dog didn’t die in the story upon which the films were based!!


Akita-Evita in Rent, 2005

Cause of Death: Swan dove into the courtyard of the Gracie Mews

[not pictured]


Doc in “Grey’s Anatomy” Season Three, 2006

Cause of Death: Put down after brain cancer diagnosis

Doc on "Grey's Anatomy"


Old Jack (Apache & Buck) and Dewey (Floyd & Ryan) in Eight Below, 2006

Cause of Death: After being caught in a storm in Antarctica waiting for their rescuers to return from saving the humans, Old Jack is too weak from starvation to join his pack when they set out to kill gulls for food so they have to leave him behind and he died. Then Dewey dies after slipping and falling down an incline. But six dogs live!

A man and his eight dogs in the arctic


Sounder I in “The L Word” Season Four, 2007

Cause of Death: Euthanized by Jenny, who had just adopted him knowing he was near-death so that she’d have a reason to make an appointment with a veterinarian named Lindsay who she wanted to seduce because Lindsay was dating a girl who had given Jenny’s book a negative review

Jenny and sounder in The L Word


Sam (Abbey & Kona) in I Am Legend, 2007

Cause of Death: Protects her owner from a zombie attack but is bitten by zombies so her owner has to kill her before she too becomes a zombie

Sam in "I am Legend"


Marley (Jonah, Rudy & Clyde) in Marley & Me, 2008

Cause of Death: Put down because he was sick

Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson hugging while Marley makes a snowman in Marley & Me


Hachi (Chico, Layla, and Forrest) in Hachi: a Dog’s Tale (2009)

Cause of Death: Dies waiting for his owner at the train station (his owner doesn’t show up at the train station because he died of a heart attack)

Hachi a dogs tale - richard gere with his cute dog


Lady (Zunni) in “Game of Thrones” Season One, 2011

Cause of Death: Given a merciful execution after it was demanded she be killed instead of her sister due to some kind of idk I didn’t see the show

Walking with her direwolf Lady in Game of Thrones


Snoopy (Bella) in Moonrise Kingdom, 2012

Cause of death: Arrow through the neck

Snoopy in Moonrise Kingdom

via bfi

Again I must ask Wes Anderson: who hurt you and was it a dog?????


Sadie (Dusty) in The Conjuring (2013)

Cause of Death: Unknown, but implied that it was killed by the evil spirits that are haunting the house

Sadie the dog in "The Conjuring"


Volta in “Degrassi: The Next Generation” Season 12, 2014

Cause of Death: Run over by her owner’s father

Volta, Imogen's dog in Degrassi

Degrassi goes there???


Isis (Ellie) in “Downton Abbey” Season 5, 2014

Cause of Death: Cancer

The man in Downton Abbey with his white dog


Bugsy (Hachi) in The Babadook, 2014

Cause of Death: Choked by his possessed Mom because he wouldn’t stop barking

kiddos and a cute white fluffy dog looking under the bed


Daisy (Andy) in John Wick, 2014

Cause of Death: Killed during a home invasion

Keanu Reeves looking at his cutie dog


Bob (Jaro) in The Lobster, 2015

Cause of Death: Kicked/beaten to death

cute doggo in "The Lobster"


Wiener-Dog in Weiner-Dog, 2016

Cause of Death: Run over by several cars

little boy playing his flute for a dog in a cage in "Weiner-Dog"

You can avoid this incident by watching the whole movie and then when there are ten minutes left in the movie, just turn off the movie and go to Wendy’s and get me some chicken nuggets.


Summer (Odin) in “Game of Thrones” Season 6, 2016

Cause of Death: Stayed behind to attack the wights in order to save their master’s life so he could be in the Great War (sorry again i did not see the show because there was too much overall violence but this sounds like a sad death!)

Summer from "Game of Thrones"


Stanley (Mikey) in It Comes at Night, 2017

Cause of Death: Runs away, gets infected, comes home and is shot to end his misery

white dog in the woods in "comes at night"


Gyp (Ferne) in The Little Stranger, 2018

Cause of Death: Put down after it is haunted into biting a girl’s face

Everybody needs to stop haunting and infecting dogs, we are innocent


Lil Puma in Game Over, Man!, 2018

Cause of Death: Blown up in a koi pond by a bomb strapped to its back

Man in sunglasses and a white blazer holding a tiny chihuhua in Game Over, Man"

Even worse is that this murder is a second attempt, the first time they strap a bomb to the chihuahua but then it turned out to be the wrong bomb so when they press it to go off, instead it blows the head off of a minor Black character whose torso starts spurting blood everywhere.


Morton, Greta, 2019

Cause of Death: Drinks poison that was put in his milk

Frances and Greta walking their dog in New York City


Jack, The Devil All The Time, 2021

Cause of death: Shot by his owner’s father who believes he must sacrifice him to save his wife from dying of cancer

jack the dog in war all the time barking out the window


Sparky, “WandaVision” Season One, 2021

Cause of Death: Initially mysterious, later attributed to murder

Sparky in Wandavision


Merryboy (Ruger Ziesmer), Fear Street 3, 2021

Cause of Death: Drowns in the well


Pike, “Midnight Mass” Season One, 2021

Cause of Death: Poisoned

Crock Pot Luck wide view, you can see a black dog being ledin by owner, in Midnight Mass


Biscuit, “Yellowjackets” Season One, 2022

Cause of Death: Goes missing and later his owner finds a shrine in her basement that contains his head and heart

Biscuit in Yellowjackets with the kiddo


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Carol

CAROL IS A PERFECT DOG WHO ENJOYS SHAKING, CURLING UP INTO A CIRCLE, CHICKEN NUGGETS FROM WENDY'S, CUDDLING WITH PEOPLE WHO COME OVER, BITING SNEAKERS WHEN THEY ARE RUNNING ON FEET, AND DASHING MADLY THROUGH THE UNDERGROUND PARKING GARAGE

Carol has written 6 articles for us.

19 Comments

  1. This list is egregiously missing Seymour in Futurama, aka the death I know is coming but will never not cry for.

    Also I cried so much reading Marley and Me that I woke up my mother in the middle of the night and super worried her.

  2. this is Way more upsetting than the dead queer lady list? possibly because so many of them are noble sacrifices/protective deaths

    also i read where the red fern grows way too many times in middle school and cried every single time!

    • i know right??? like when this was first proposed as an idea i did not think that it would end up feeling more upsetting than the dead lesbian & bisexual characters list! i think yes because so many of them died valiantly protecting their owners. and i obviously have many additional theories about it:

      1. as explained in the intro, our unfamiliarity with the dogs as actors in the same way we understand people to be actors who live breathe and speak even though their characters have died

      2. regardless even if we do know who the dog actor is (which i tried to do to lessen the brutality), i think still essentially we do feel like dogs are playing themselves, like dogs don’t develop new personalities to be in movies, they just are trained to respond to appropriate commands

      3. dogs are sweet innocent pure creatures with no flaws

  3. Milo, I cried through the entire list…..so saaaaaaaad….but the one concilation is that: “ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN!!”

    Unlike some of the humans I have known (dog catchers for example)…..

    I salute you Hollywood Dogs (paw in air)……Taps playing……

    Bocce

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