By Lindsay Chase On Aug 25 2012, 1:00 am
I love most animals–dogs, cats, horses. As a child, I never missed an episode of Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, and My Friend Flicka. And if a horse movie was playing down at my local theatre, I was first in line.
Then came the day I saw Walt Disney’s Old Yeller, a heartwarming coming-of-age tale about a boy and his dog in post-Civil War Texas. I loved the movie–right up until the dog got bitten by a rabid raccoon and had to be put down by the boy who loved him. I was traumatized for days.
No sooner did I recover than I watched The Yearling on TV, a heartwarming coming-of-age tale of a boy and his pet deer, based on the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings classic. I loved that movie–right up until the adult deer caused rampant destruction on the family farm and–you guessed it–had to be put down by the boy who loved him, after his mother shot and wounded it. More trauma for me.
I’m a writer. I know that the boys had valid reasons for shooting their beloved pets, that it was their rite of passage into manhood. But I’m also a romance writer, and I like a happy ending.
I resolved never to see a movie that killed off its animal star, and I devised the perfect plan for sparing myself trauma. If spoilers weren’t available on the Internet, I would simply find a copy of the copy on which the movie is based–and that’s a lot of them–and read the ending.
So did I fall for the funny promos and see Marley and Me? No way. I Am Legend? Not when a peek at the graphic novel revealed that Will Smith’s German shepherd, the only thing left that he loves in post-apocalyptic Manhattan, is turned into a mutant dog and must be killed. A friend warned me to stay away from Turner & Hooch, so I was spared.
I don’t mind a sad ending as long as it’s satisfying, like Titantic, but when it comes to animals, I want Fido to live happily ever after.
Lindsay Chase is the author of The Oath, The Vow, and Honor. Join her at www.LindsayChaseBooks.com, on Twitter.com/LindsayChase10 and Facebook.