Our Reading Lives

But Does the Dog Die?

Dana Rosette Pangan

Staff Writer

Dana Rosette Pangan is a supervisor by day and a fangirl all the time. She holds a degree in Laboratory Technology but finds that she has more chemistry with language and writing. When she's not making embarrassingly lame puns, she can be found avoiding social situations and searching for something that can hold her attention for more than 30 minutes. She is from the Philippines and is probably doing something weird right now.

In my two and a half decades of existence, there have been only two doggie-related questions that continue to make me think and demand answers.

First, who, indeed, let the damn dogs out? Second, why isn’t there a website or app that can let me know if an animal will die in the book I’m reading?

The second one first occurred to me when I was reading a horror novel, peacefully enjoying the terror and bloodshed and other #justgirlythings, and, suddenly, the dog of the main character was literally axed. I was incensed. I felt betrayed by the author, whom I’ve come to like. How could he do it? How could he kill off someone so pure, so innocent? The poor creature (the dog, not the author) did nothing wrong! He was just being a dog, a loyal one at that. How I wished back then that someone had warned me about it. Even now, I still wish to be warned of any doggie deaths in literature.

Unfortunately, there still isn’t any help from the Internet on that front. There is, however, a website called Does the Dog Die. There, you can search for the movie you’re thinking of watching, and it will tell you if a dog—or any animal, for that matter—is harmed or killed…


…in it. It’s actually pretty handy for those of us who have been traumatized by SPOILER ALERT I am Legend. (I will never forgive you, Will Smith.)

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were something like this for books? Just look up the book you’re reading, and it would tell you if Sir Smootleshkins Pumpersnuckle the Golden Retriever would reach the ripe old age of 12. Of course, it would be hard to put together a website like this due to the staggering number of books that would need to be covered, but if a great many people put their heads and collective love for animals together, I’m sure we can pull this off.

For some, this idea sounds ridiculous. Why bother? It’s just animals, and fictional ones at that. For others (and by others, I mean me), however, this information, this warning, means a lot. It means being able to enjoy the story and the actual characters without having to worry about their animal companion. You know, like a normal person.

And why stop there? Why not create more websites like this for other triggers? Create one for rape (goodness knows there are numerous novels tackling this subject these days, some a bit insensitively), or for phobias like spiders or clowns or making a phone call.

Maybe I care too much about things that some people may consider trivial. Maybe I should take Ron Weasley’s words to heart and sort out my priorities. And maybe I will, someday (yeah, no). But for now, tell me, does the dog die?