Licked by the Dog

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Remember... babies are usually not good judges of character.
"Thank you, scary leather man. I love you."
—A small girl, upon getting her cat back from Midnighter.

"Aw, look, he likes you."

An arguably subtler version of Pet the Dog, where an innocent creature like an animal or child shows affection towards someone commonly thought to be mean or a hardass. Said hardass doesn't always appreciate the attention.

Effective at deflating a character's pompous attitude. An ironic but overused trope is the character hating a certain kind of animal, then finding one who can't take the hint.

See also Hidden Heart of Gold. Sometimes this is introduced later in the plot as a Morality Pet. Compare Evil-Detecting Dog and Friend to All Living Things. Contrast Animals Hate Him.

Examples of Licked by the Dog include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In Inuyasha a young girl by the name of Rin tags along behind Inuyasha's half-brother, Sesshomaru, who is for all intents and purposes a cold-blooded killer with little or no compassion. This is actually something of an an inversion, in that while Rin is a cute little girl, Sesshoumaru is also a very large, very fierce dog Youkai.
    • Kagome's cat seems to like Inuyasha.
  • An entire episode of Saiyuki: Reload revolves around Sanzo's team finding a lost kitten. The kitten immediately takes to them... especially Sanzo, the most Badass of them all, who claims to hate cats, is allergic to them, and mostly tries to ignore the cute little feline.
  • Piccolo from Dragonball Z was considered pure evil by the main cast after nearly killing them all, but little Gohan doesn't understand why, and thinks he's a pretty cool dude. He even sings a song called "I Love Mr. Piccolo" for heaven's sake - and it is sickeningly cute.
    • Majin Buu also gets licked by the dog, literally. He finds an injured puppy and heals it so that it'll be scared and run away from him, but it thinks of Buu as its new best friend. At one point, Mr. Satan convinces Buu that there are other things to do than kill and destroy, but then the dog gets shot...
    • And in the One Piece/Dragon Ball crossover, Chopper offers Vegeta cake. Awwww....
  • In Wolf's Rain Tsume objects when Toboe starts licking his wounds. This is something of a subversion, since they're both talking canines, but it looks funny (peculiar and ha-ha) because they're both in human disguise at the time.
  • Kind of inverted in Digimon Adventure between Kari and Gatomon. One of the few times you'll see the cat "licked" by the human.
  • Subverted in Azumanga Daioh. Sakaki is the school's Huge Schoolgirl, considered universally to be cool, intimidating, and very serious (even though she's far from it.) She'd be the perfect candidate for this treatment. Instead, every time she gets near a cat...
    • Further, she desperately wishes she'd be licked, because she just loves those fluffy animals so. When Chiyo's dog, Tadakichi-san, actually allows her to pet him, she does so for hours.
    • Sakaki finally recieves this treatment from a wildcat, who stows away, finds her and becomes her pet.
  • In Fresh Pretty Cure, Setsuna encounters a little boy and his dog two episodes after her Heel Face Turn. Way back when she was evil, she had turned the dog into a monster and K-O'ed the kid. The kid doesn't recognize her, but the dog does and Setsuna fears it's reaction. To her surprise, it ends up licking her hand and then being more than willing to play with her, showing no hard feelings for what she did in the past.
  • Prince of Tennis: Humans tend to be scared of Kaidou Kaoru. Puppies and kitties, however, like him.
  • In chapter 422 of Bleach, Yammy's Arrancar puppy tries to comfort his dying master.
  • In the Buggy's Crew After the Battle Side Story in One Piece Gaimon becomes good friends with Buggy the Clown, not knowing that he's on a mission to kill his old friend Luffy.
  • In Wild Rose, Camille begins to trust Kiri because his Big Friendly Dog Tranquilo trusts him.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • It has been established in DC Comics that Catwoman is liked by Superman's dog Krypto. It's probably a side effect from Catwoman's having a knack for animals of all sorts, but still...
    • And yes, the dog does literally lick her face. It should be pointed out that even though he seems to love her, she isn't that fond of him—she really isn't a dog person!
  • For some reason, kids like Wolverine. He doesn't get it, though he doesn't mind it either. He even has a sort of Big Brother Mentor role for both Jubilee and Shadowcat, young women who joined the X-Men before they even turned eighteen. In most cases this would be okay. But for this particular person, it's not only highly unusual; it's often either the result of or leads directly to some sort of screwed-up situation or another.
    • It does get stretched a bit when he has an entire mini-series of him co-starring with the Power Pack.
    • Also, Rogue in Ultimateverse.
    • That role is currently filled by Armor from Astonishing X-Men.
    • X-23 also fills this role, Wolverine even adopted her.
  • Brutally subverted in Lobo's Paramilitary Christmas Special. While discussing the details of the Easter Bunny's contract hit on Santa Claus, a fluffy little bunny hops up to Lobo and sniffs at his fingers. A camera cut and a horrible squelching noise later, the camera cuts back to Lobo flicking bloody chunks off his hand with a large red stain where the bunny used to be. Ouch.
  • Subverted in Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughn. Mitchell Hundred, aka The Great Machine, has the ability to talk to machines and tell them what to do. He notes in one issue that since he gained his power, animals no longer like him. In the same issue, his Arch Enemy, Jack Pherson, is introduced. He has Mitchell's power, but instead of machines, he talks to animals.
  • Similarly to Wolverine, Midnighter attracts small children like a magnet, gaining their trust and attention even when he's covered in (someone else's) blood and holding a weapon. Then again, he's the kind of person to call a two-mile high walking island "sweetheart" just because she's ten years old.
  • Same thing with Batman. Children are less afraid of him than the adults and he doesn't mind too much.
    • Both Dick Grayson and Alfred believe that Damian Wayne can outgrow his violent tendences and live up to his father's legacy. And so far, they appear to be right, as Damian likes being Robin and finds that doing good is the best thing he has ever done with his life, even breaking away from his mother completely.
    • Jason Todd to some extent, some kids like him, most are scared of him, but mostly because he hates when children are hurt.
  • In Halcyon, Sabre is described as a 'homicidal vigilante' (by one of his teammates no less!), but his dog likes him so he can't be all bad.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Rather entertainingly subverted in There's Something About Mary. When one of Mary's suitors discovers she at least partially judges her suitors by her roomate's dog's reaction to them, he drugs the dog so it will be complacent...nearly killing it, and setting it on fire in a misguided attempt to revive it. The dog gets better. Later, when Mary's real love shows up, the dog has been drugged again and goes batshit and tries to eat her love.
  • About half the Shirley Temple movies ever made used this.
  • The main character in The Chronicles of Riddick is a pretty bad mofo when it comes to other humanoids, but when he encounters a big, vicious, dangerous predator that could see in the dark and spent a lot of time in a cage they become instant friends, providing an example of this as well as "two of a kind" and a sense of kinship.
  • During the transformation of the recently-resurrected Eric Draven into an unstoppable killing machine vigilante who makes Batman look like an actual pacifist, he pauses to scratch the cat that was left to fend for itself after he and his fiancee were murdered. The cat, in turn, licks his hand, apparently recognizing him even after he's been dead and buried for a year. (Cats have eyes, and cats have long-term memory, but Draven likely doesn't smell like he used to, besides having put on Harlequin-mask face paint.)
  • During the Legally Blonde scene in which formerly-frosty Vivian Kensington begins to befriend Elle, she is also licked by Elle's dog Bruiser.
  • Occurs in Who Am I? when Jackie Chan's character stops during the middle of a chase scene to recue a cute poodle from a falling piano. The dog licks his face and the onlooking spectators clap and go, "Awww".
  • Subverted by Jack Nicholson's character in As Good as It Gets. It seems as if the dog even prefers Melvin to her real owner, Simon, but Melvin later reveals that the dog loves him so much because he carries a bag of bacon in his pocket. Double subverted in that when Simon tries to lure the dog over with some of the bacon, she won't come to him.
  • The protagonist in Children of Men was deliberately depicted as having an involuntary affinity for animals—dogs naturally cotton to him.
  • In Real Genius, the Jerkass professor Jerry Hathaway hates dogs (and popcorn), but is constantly shooing away a neighbor's dog that apparently likes him.
  • Both in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Batman is seen more favourably by children than by adults.
  • While he is anything but evil, Edward Scissorhands is licked by a dog after he cuts off the hair covering its eyes.
  • The Great Race - villainous Professor Fate takes the place of a lookalike prince - as one of the prince's pug dogs licks his face he quietly growls "I hate you."
  • In Despicable Me, Agnes shows an instant affinity for Gru right after he adopts her sisters and her by attaching herself to his leg.
  • Up uses a child and a dog to soften out its Grumpy Old Man protagonist.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Subversion: If the phrase "I get on well with animals, sir," doesn't send shivers running up and down your spine like angry weasels, you need to read more Discworld. Especially when you consider that Jonathan Teatime, a psycho even by the standards of the (gentlemanly) Assassins' Guild, also Nailed The Dog To The Ceiling.
  • Granny Weatherwax, probably one of the oldest and most powerful witches in the Discworld, feared and respected by many ancient and warlike species, who has seen off a succession of Big Bads and should she turn evil would probably be bigger and badder than all of them put together, was given a cute little kitten in Wintersmith. She appeared to be rather offended by this and pretended to ignore the creature, but even the woman who once performed chiropractry on Death himself couldn't resist a friendly fluffy snuggly purry thing which liked her so much.
    • Arguably something of a subversion, since there's some pretty strong hints (like You utterly traumatizing Greebo, the death that walks like a cat... and yes, the kitten's name is 'You'. As in, 'Hey You') that Granny and the kitten are kindred spirits; there is, after all, very little chance that Granny Weatherwax could tolerate a stupid animal. You, like her mistress, happens to other people.
  • Xanth gives us Anathe Ma, who is an ugly crone who is the second person that Bubbles lets pet. Note that the other person is the one who saved her life.
  • PG Wodehouse:


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Daphne on Frasier comments "Canines have a very keen sense of who's a nice person and who isn't. Why, many's the time I've chosen a man based solely on the way my mum's springer spaniel took to them." In response, Niles secretly smears his neck with pate to make Eddie's puppies lick him.
  • In the original pilot to Firefly, the young cute Kaylee, in what she thinks might be her last words, assures Mal that he and Simon are "good people" in spite of their own questionable actions up to that point.
  • T'Pol on Star Trek: Enterprise. Porthos climbs up to be petted, sorta taking the wind out of her Vulcan superiority moment.
    • Proving it's not because Spock is half human that the tribbles liked him. "Its trilling seems to have a tranquilizing effect on the human nervous system! Fortunately, I am immune to its effect..." (everybody looks at him stroking it, he puts it down and walks away real fast) Hah!
  • When House has temporary custody of Wilson's dog Hector, Hector seems to like him quite a bit—by the end, Hector's walking with a limp, apparently because House trained him to.
    • Uhhhh, trained him by SLAMMING A DOOR ON HIS LEG!
      • Technically it was an accident, though he did want him to run away and get hit by a car so...
    • And, in a bit on an inversion, House decides that he likes Hector after the dog eats a bottle of his Vicodin. By the end of the episode, both are shown to have bonded over their mutual addiction.
    • House is hugged by the Littlest Cancer Patient at the end of "Autopsy."
      • Notably, House subverts this slightly by refusing to hug her back and looking extremely uncomfortable.
    • And in "Lines in the Sand" the autistic kid gives him his PSP.
      • Given how....defensive some low-functioning autistic get with things, that is as Licked by the Dog as it gets
    • And in "Fetal Position" he was doing an operation on a pregnant woman's tummy when the baby got his hand out and grabbed House's finger. Damn, he sure is prone to this trope!
      • And after that, he stopped referring to it as a fetus, and started calling it a baby.
      • The baby's mother even names her son after House.
  • In Lost, newborn baby Aaron incessantly cries unless he's being held by Jerkass Sawyer. The reveal of Sawyer's tragic backstory had already started him on turning into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold but this episode seemed to cement that direction for him.
    • I thought it was when Sawyer read to him, not when he held him.
  • Likewise, when the O'Briens were away, their second child only stopped crying when he was held by Worf on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
    • In Star Trek TNG he is the only person on the ship who doesn't have to go to Crusher after holding Data's cat (besides Data, of course).
      • Also Lt. Barclay.
  • J.D towards Dr. Cox in Scrubs.
  • "She like you..." When Dan Ashcroft gets a haircut in Nathan Barley, the barber's cat Elizabeth takes a shine to him shortly before Ashcroft accidentally stabs Elizabeth in the head with a pair of scissors.
  • While Uncle Jesse on Full House falls into Cuteness Proximity around his nieces, he has...less fondness for animals. Naturally, every animal that ever walked through the door (from their dog Comet, to a warthog, to a donkey, to a monkey) took an instant liking to Jesse.
  • At one point on The West Wing, President Bartlet hugs Toby with a schmoopy "awwww....c'mere". Fits this particular trope because at the time, Bartlet was completely stoned on painkillers and acting in a very innocent childlike manner.
  • In the "Stargate:SG-1" episode "Singularity," the only member of the SG-1 team that the little girl Cassandra will approach is Scary Black Man Teal'c. Although, to be fair, the other team-members look kind of intimidating in their Haz-Mat suits. Still, this is one of Teal'c's first really gentle moment on the show. He is shown eventually to be a Friend to All Children.
  • On Eureka, Taggart has a long running self-declared rivalry with Lowjack, a dog with a stated IQ over 100. There is an episode where he gets injured, and Taggart, being the best veterinarian in Eureka, is asked to treat him. As soon as he is alone with Lowjack, he starts going on about how he has the dog right where he wants him. Lowjack raises his head and licks Taggart's face. Taggart's response, "Alright, truce."
  • In Game of Thrones, one of the first hints that the whoremongering Depraved Dwarf Tyrion was actually one of the only decent members of the Lannister family was an early breakfast scene where he was playing with, and adored by, his youngest niece and nephew.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • After the (arguably) villainous Magus joins your party in Chrono Trigger, you can visit the ruins of his hometown. If Magus is in your main party at the time, his pet cat from when he was a child follows him around, mewing continuously.
  • In Jak II Renegade the crocadog doesn't like anyone except the kid and our newly badass hero. Jak doesn't seem to mind.
    • The kid himself also shows fondness towards Jak, who is visibly startled when the toddler tries to take his hand.
  • Epona warms up to Link quite early on in Ocarina of Time, and the two help each other escape from the (reposessed) Lon Lon Ranch in the future.
  • Comes up in Cave Story, during your Fetch Quest to collect Jenka's puppies, after a number of other strangers have mistaken you for a dangerous killer:

Jenka: They seem to just adore you. My puppies don't waste their affection on bad sorts.

  • Somewhat inverted in Final Fantasy VI, as it's the dog that's supposed to be as unsociable as its owner, Shadow. But when Relm treats Interceptor like an adorable little puppy, he reciprocates. Somehow, this shifts the implications of the trope onto Shadow by proxy. It probably helps that Relm may be Shadow's daughter.
  • Dog in Dragon Age really likes Morrigan. While his gift to her, a dead rabbit he left in her pack of unmentionables, wasn't exactly appreciated, Morrigan's "dialogue" with Dog shows that his affection does eventually wear down her defenses. In the "Witch Hunt" DLC, Dog is overjoyed when he is reunited with Morrigan.
  • Silent Hill 2: Everybody's out to manipulate, insult, or kill James. But at least Mira the shiba inu shows him a morsel of affection.
  • Golbat evolves into Crobat by liking its trainer a lot. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl's Cyrus is a madman who plots to destroy and recreate the world without emotion. Naturally, he owns a Crobat.
  • Dogmeat in all the Fallout games that feature him. (Although you can turn him away.)
  • In Touhou 11: Subterranean Animism, the heroine is warned to fear the master of the Palace of Earth Spirits, a youkai who can read minds and use your very thoughts against you. The youkai in question, Satori Komeji, is Not Good with People because of this (and her tendency to read thoughts out loud)... but animals (and formerly-animal youkai) adore her because she understands them better than anyone else and is really a sweetheart.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • In El Goonish Shive, the black-haired antisocial ultra-feminist, hard-ass girl Susan finds herself to be the unwilling target of the cat-hedgehog hybrid Jeremy's affection - and, according to a certain background image, the affection of cute and fuzzy animals in general. (Note: Character description is outdated. Now she's more of a normal-feminist Badass Deadpan Snarker.)
  • Phobia in a recent Gastrophobia storyline gets a literal Licked by the Dog moment-the dog in question is Gastro's birthday present and Phobia's surly attitude is because instead of the big hunting breed she'd intended to get, the only puppy left was a tiny Pomeranian-looking thing.
  • Girl Genius had a pack of wasp eaters "accept" (as in, make their new favourite perch) Tarvek, to his annoyance. Of course, the fandom responded with obvious "trust a weasel to know a weasel" jokes.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Stone of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is a superhero who can be summed up in the phrase "What if you gave a Hell's Angel super-strength and made him invulnerable". His middle name is "Intidimate the Hell Out Of You". And kids just love him. He puts on this "big tough scary guy" act, and the kids seem utterly immune to it. It mystifies him, but he does think its sort of cool.
  • Basically, The Nostalgia Chick's dream is to be an Evil Overlord. However, Mignon (her puppy) will always lick her face out of love whatever the situation, and the Chick carries her around like a security stuffed animal.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Subverted in the Looney Tunes short "Bowery Bugs"; Bugs's opponent is sprawled on the street. A dog walks up, and licks him. Then it walks away, disgusted.
  • In the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra Christmas special, Skeletor is licked by a dog-like creature that he suddenly becomes quite fond of. Skeletor learns the meaning of Christmas and is actually nice—but just for this episode.
    • Well, dogs like bones, right?
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Prince Zuko gets licked by Appa the giant sky bison when he shows up to convince the Gaang that he's actually a decent guy. Justified because he was the one who freed Appa from captivity by the Dai Li, giving Appa a good reason to like him; subverted when they don't believe him anyway.
  • In Ben 10 Ultimate Alien, when they are enlisted to help a planet that is 99.9% water, an unidentified little fish saves Kevin's life when his suit breaks and he can no longer breathe. The fish acts like a dog and spends the rest of the episode following Kevin around, much to his annoyance. At the end of the episode, Kevin convinces the fish (nicely) to stay on its home planet. Awww.
  • In the TV show version of Clifford the Big Red Dog, Clifford seems fond of Rich Bitch Lovable Alpha Bitch Jetta and often licks her, which she usually finds disgusting. Given that he's...larger than the usual dogs, Jetta may have a point there.
  • In an episode of Beetlejuice, the title character was once punished by being lowered into a pit of cloying sweetness, including unusually friendly kittens. He's not exactly a villain in the series, but he has little tolerance for anything like them.
  • In a Simpsons episode entitled "Dog of Death," Homer comes across as uncharacteristically heartless when he refuses to pay for a life-saving operation for the family dog (not wanting to give up his beer money). But after the dog adorably licks his hand, Homer groans and grudgingly agrees to the operation.
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars has an alien child being the first to welcome back mutated villagers.
  • In one episode of Teen Titans, a sentient talking dog-like alien really really likes Raven. The fact that he's sentient makes this example somewhat creepier than usual.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Invoked Trope with photo-ops of celebrities and politicians of all stripes taking pictures with adorable animals or children.
    • Hitler (as seen above) and Stalin were particularly fond of doing this.