In the first five minutes of The Leftovers, Justin Theroux’s character jogs along the road when he spots a dog in the middle of the street and stops running to kneel down and pet the friendly pup. Aw, we say, what a sweet moment. Then, within seconds, boom: Someone shoots the dog dead. Thanks, HBO.
TV shows love killing dogs: There’s that Leftovers dog-murder that turns into a dog mass murder at the pilot’s end, there’s Frank Underwood strangling a hurt dog to its death in the House of Cards pilot, there’s Family Guy‘s Brian. To showrunners, dogs are just objects that prove a point about a character or a situation. To dog-lovers, these deaths are enough to start a full-fledged sobfest.