While the master of terror, Stephen King, may be well known for his horror, there’s another narrative element that is present in a shocking number of his stories and novels: dogs! While this list is far from exhaustive, we’ve gathered seven of our favorite canines from the many different levels of the Dark Tower. Does our listicle include your favorite of the Dogs of King?
Perhaps the most famous pup of all of the Dogs of King is the eponymous canine who menaces Donna and Tad Trenton after they moved from New York City to Castle Rock, Maine (Castle Rock: never a great choice for relocation).
While you may be most familiar with this story from the movie, the novel contains an extra level of tragedy: thanks to the fact that readers get to see part of the story from the St. Bernard’s perspective, the fact that Cujo is fundamentally a good boy who becomes infected with rabies makes his behavior even more heartbreaking.
In The Stand, we get one of King’s most heroic dogs: Kojak! While viewers of the recent CBS All Access Paramount+ adaptation may be familiar with the golder retriever incarnation of the canine, in the novel, he was a yellow lab.
Also in the novel, Glen Bateman elects to leave Kojak behind as he joins Stu Redman in his journey to Boulder. However, Kojak follows his friends across the country, eventually arriving in the Boulder Free Zone (a little worse for wear, but all right).
Like the passages in Cujo that reveal more about the eponymous St. Bernard, readers of The Stand get extra information about Kojak, including his pre-Captain Trips name (“Big Steve”) and the fact that he will live sixteen years after the climax of the novel (a fact mercifully revealed before Kojak joins the rest of the BFZ heroes on their fateful journey to Vegas).
UNDER THE DOME
In Under the Dome, the town of Chester’s Hill, Maine finds itself entrapped in a mysterious and inexplicable dome! However, before the action begins, the first pages of the book are dedicated to a dramatis personae that lists “Some (but not all) of those in Chester’s Mill on Dome Day.” Included on the list are three “dogs of note”: Horace the Corgi, Clover the German Shepherd, and Audrey the Golden Retriever.
Once again, the narrative allows the perspective of some of these dogs to occupy several pages, giving a singular perspective on the strange goings-on in this unfortunate Maine town.
“THE SUN DOG”
In the novella “The Sun Dog,” collected in Four Past Midnight, Pop Merrill of Castle Rock’s famous Emporium Galorium comes across a mystical artifact: a Polaroid Sun 660 that, no matter what it’s pointed at, produces pictures of a big black dog in front of a white picket fence. When more pictures are taken, the dog seems to move towards the person taking the picture…
But is the manifestation revealed by the camera really a dog… or something much worse?
In Mr. Mercedes, the first book in the Hodges Trilogy, Det.-Ret. Bill Hodges comes out of retirement to track down “Mr. Mercedes”: a serial killer who the reader knows to be Brady Hartfield.
Over the course of the novel, Hodges gets help from his teenage neighbor, Jerome Robinson, who has a dog, Odell. When Brady discovers that Jerome is helping Hodges, he plans to murder Odell by feeding the dog poisoned hamburger – but before he gets the chance to execute his plan, he stores the poisoned meat in his fridge.
But Odell never eats the poisoned meat. Instead, Brady’s mother, who he lives with, unwittingly consumes it, and the serial killer must watch her perish before his very eyes. Sorry not sorry. Long live Odell!
The Dark Tower cycle
While Oy may be a billy-bumbler, not a dog, throughout The Dark Tower cycle, he proves to be just as loyal as any canine. Beyond that, the epilogues of the final book in the series more or less confirm that on other levels of the Tower, Oy does indeed take the form of a dog (albeit one with that characteristic circled pattern around his eyes).
Molly, the Thing of Evil & Yoshi, the Thing of Good
Look, if King can show up in The Dark Tower, then he counts as a character, and by extension, his dogs count, too! Molly, the Thing of Evil, is King’s real-life pet corgi, and she’s become something of an internet sensation.
Molly, aka the Thing of Evil, prepares her jaws for her next encounter with the UPS man, while Yoshi, the Thing of Good, looks on with admiration. pic.twitter.com/hbXWpy6r7Q
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) November 13, 2019
More recently, she was joined by Yoshi, the Thing of Good, to balance the cosmic scales.
Which of the Dogs of King is your favorite? Let The Beat know on social media @comicsbeat or in the comment section!