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File:TheDog 1714.gif

Footrot Flats is a comic strip from New Zealand, by Murray Ball, about the life and times of a farmer's dog, known simply as The Dog, his owner and his friends, and the various animals that live in and around the farm. The comic itself does not exist on-line, but more detail can be found at an unofficial site.

The characters include:

  • 'The Dog': The main protagonist and mascot of the strip, a border collie whose name he never lets anyone reveal. Much like Garfield he seems as intelligent as a person but can only talk through thought bubbles. Has shades of Lovable Coward and Ted Baxter, but generally good at his job and devoted to his master.
  • Wallace 'Wal' Footrot: The Dog's owner, a no-nonsense farmer, amateur rugby player and more or less The Everyman (at least for farmers). Runs a large farm on his own with a large variety of animals, including sheep, cattle, pigs, chickens, ducks and geese. And at least one goat and one turkey, which is more than enough.
  • Cooch Windgrass: Wal's neighbour, best friend and right hand man. A Friend to All Living Things whose farm is rather overgrown, and his house has a large tree growing through the middle. He farms goats, which are the perpetual bane of Wal and the dog, and owns Jess, the dog's girlfriend.
  • Aunt Dolly: Wal's aunt, the dog's original owner, who runs a home for cats and owns a Welsh Corgi named Prince Charles. Something of a overbearing mother figure for Wallace, though she often helps him out on the farm, and the dog has a grudge against her for giving him his name.
  • Horse: A tough, mean, near-indestructible stray cat that acts as an enemy, sometimes ally and sometimes point of interest to the dog. Based on a real cat.

In 1987 there was a feature-length animated film adaptation, Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale.

The tropes the comic uses include:

  Dog: Curse this accursed rain! Forty days and forty nights adrift! Well, a day and a half anyway...

  • Mister Muffykins: Prince Charles
  • Odd Name Out: 'Irish' Murphy's three dogs are named Tiger, Wolf and Creampuff.
  • Pet the Dog: Horse when with lost kittens - not to mention his own children.
  • Porky Pig Pronunciation: The Dog, within the introductory sections of each issue, due to uncertainty about spelling. Rather good handwriting for a dog though.
  • The Power of Love: Used once to let the dog walk on water.
  • Rugby Is Slaughter: Wal's dreams of rugby glory in always end with him a bloodied heap being trampled into the mud. Even that one time he scored a Try after being on the field for 10 seconds.
  • Scary Black Men: The Maori bikers are probably the New Zealandic equivalent of this trope.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Dog and Horse whenever they team up. Likewise the Dog and Major.
  • Soap Punishment: Aunt Dolly does this to Wal after she hears him swearing at the livestock in an early strip. She runs across several paddocks to reach him.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: The Dog alternates between poetic, flowery language and New Zealand slang at the drop of a hat.
  • Ted Baxter: Wal is not the great sportsman he thinks he is.
    • He has nothing on the Dog at times.
  • Terrible Trio: The Murphies, and their dogs.
  • Thought Bubble Speech
  • Upperclass Twit: Townies fill a similar role.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: Rangi Jones learned all of his fighting moves from watching kung fu movies.
  • Widget Series: It's very... New Zealandy.
  • Write Who You Know: Horse, of all people... er, cats.

Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale provides examples of:

  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Early in the film, the Dog starts drowning, prompting a flashback to his first day on the farm and his first encounters with Wal, Major, the Murphys, Jess, Cooch, and Pew.
  • Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying Over You!: In the Dog's flashback, Wal's reaction to the new puppy going missing. He's too busy telling Cooch what a great little fellow the Dog was to notice that the reason for Cooch's visit is that he's found the Dog and brought him back.
  • Third-Person Flashback: The Dog's flashback is in third-person -- and includes Wal waking up, getting dressed, spotting Aunt Dolly's car approaching, and rushing around clearing up... none of which the Dog (who was in the car with Aunt Dolly) was there for.
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