In his commentary on Armageddon, that ultimate epicure of explosions, Michael Bay notes that the cardinal rule of disaster filmmaking is to “never kill a dog.” Maybe it has to do with their loyalty, or their innocence, but there’s a longstanding cinematic tradition of using dogs in emotionally manipulative ways (anyone else feel betrayed by Turner & Hooch’s family-friendly façade?). And when it’s a real-life canine disaster story, we’re all the more prone to sobbing uncontrollably. Though plenty of movies go the route of driving home an already bleak tragedy with a heartrending finish of caninicide, most of our favorite mass-appeal, special-effects-saturated disaster/action movies opt for the audience pleasing cliché of dogs that, against all odds, miraculously survive. Here’s a list of some of the more implausible canine survival stories in disaster movie history.
Dante’s Peak (1997)
In perhaps one of the most memorable last-minute dog rescue scenes, beloved family pet Ruffy narrowly escapes a fiery death by jumping into a moving, apparently lava-resistent truck.