The Best Dog Movies/ Books(Where the Dog Doesn’t Die)


Watching a movie or reading a book where the dog is either the main character or an integral part of the story is anxiety inducing with the lingering question:

 “Is this dog going to die?” 

To the authors of Where the Red Fern Grows  and Marley and Me: sometimes people just want to watch a movie where the dog stays alive. 

Here are four movie/books where the dog DOES NOT die: 

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey 

This live action movie does have a cat named Sassy as one of the main characters, but she is outnumbered by the two dogs named Shadow and Chance. Sassy is smart, Shadow is wise, and Chance is spontaneous. After getting dropped off at a ranch while their family goes on vacation, Shadow, Chance and Sassy believe they will never see their family again, particularly the three children in which each animal has a particular child they feel a special bond. Shadow, Sassy, and Chance decide to escape from the ranch to find their family, particularly the three children. The animals endure situations which only animals encounter, but mirror the experiences of woes of human life. After an encounter with a dangerous river, a porcupine, an animal shelter, and a life threatening hole in the ground, Shadow, Chance, and Sassy are reunited with their family. 


The film follows a 185 pound St.Bernard named Beethoven. As the family dog of three young kids, Beethoven is the one to cause the most trouble in the household. There are multiple films with different plots, but in the first movie, there is a veterinarian trying to convince the family Beethoven is such a nuisance he should have to be put down. Ultimately, the children and parents figure this out and Beethoven lives happily-ever-after causing mischief. 

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DeCamillo

This children’s novel was made into a movie as well, but the old attige of “the book is better” is true. The story has a ten year-old girl Opal, who is coping with the grief of her mother abandoning her and her father. Opal has just moved to a new town with her father when she encounters a dog named Winn-Dixie in a supermarket. Her father allows her to take the dog home to find their owners and soon, the dog becomes theirs permanently. Winn-Dixie helps Opal forge friendships, and teaches Opal the important life lesson of forgiveness. 

Strider by Beverly Cleary

The children’s novel is a sequel to the novel Dear Mr. Henshaw, with a teenage boy named Leigh Botts as the main character. Leigh lives with his mom in a tiny cottage, dealing with his parent’s divorce and his less-than-great relationship with his father. Leigh and his friend meet a stray dog on the beach, which they name Strider. Strider runs, chews, barks and eventually, turns Leigh’s life around for the better.

There are definitely other movies and books out there where the dog stays alive, but for the sake of your mental health, tread lightly.

Hope this list saves you time and tears!