What Happens To Old Yeller?! Website Provides The Cinematic Fate Of Animals In Film

Parents and animal lovers now have an important tool to warn them about sad, emotional moments prevalent in movies that have sudden plot twists, turns and surprises regarding animals. A website started in 2011 expounds on the fate of animal characters in hundreds of films that feature lovable, and sometimes evil, members of the animal kingdom. One of three main symbols appears next to a movie’s entry in the database to answer the all-important question, “Does the dog die?”

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DoesTheDogDie.com lets users know if any animal — not just a dog — passes away during a movie. The animals may be featured prominently in a film or just have minor, fleeting roles. While the website mentions if the animal serves as a family pet, it does not necessarily explain how an animal dies. It’s up to you whether to brave the movie.

The site’s easily understandable symbols make using this resource simple for any viewer. When a yellow, smiling, cartoon dog is next to the movie title, it means the animal in question lives a full, happy life throughout the film. “The Adventures of Milo and Otis” is an example of a film with a smiling dog designation. Registered users can rate movies, and a blue “V” by any icon means that DoesTheDogDie.com staff verifies the status of the animals in the film.

Sometimes your heart stops in a movie when something happens to a beloved animal – like “Lady and the Tramp,” where the Tramp is injured in the movie’s climax. In that case, a brown dog’s head with a frowning face warns you that an animal character is injured, but survives. If you’re stressed out already or not in the mood for even temporary trauma with a happy ending, you can avoid it!


A gray dog with blue tears and an open frown means that an animal dies in the film. Anyone who has seen the classics “Old Yeller” or “Where the Red Fern Grows” has seen good examples of heartbreaking gray-dog movies – and some of you have wished that you hadn’t. A more contemporary example is “Marley & Me,” a movie where the waterworks flow freely as viewers watch Owen Wilson put his beloved golden retriever to sleep at the end of the movie.

A family pet dying in a movie can be especially traumatic for younger viewers who are expecting a fun frolic with furry friends. DoesTheDogDie.com provides a practical purpose, allowing parents to look up the status of the animals quickly to make a thoughtful, knowledgeable decisions about which movies to choose for their children. And for the soft-hearted among us, it might just save a tiny bit of poorly-timed heartbreak – for which I, for one, am most grateful.

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