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A Loyal Animal Companion who rides on its human companion's shoulder. Though it can hitch a ride on its human companion's head or even in their arms from time to time, its most prominent location is the human's shoulder.
Anime & Manga
- Pikachu often rides on Ash's shoulder. However, he's heavy enough to tip him over, which may have been lampshaded once when it takes James a bit to get used to the sudden weight of the amnesiac electric mouse.
- Similarly, Iris's Axew pops out from her hair to form this appearance on her shoulder.
- Boota from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Whenever he isn't in Yoko's cleavage, he's on Simon's shoulder.
- In 07-Ghost, a dragon-like creature rides on Teito Klein's shoulder.
- As part of her part as an evil witch in the Non-Indicative First Episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Nagato gets a shoulder-mounted cat. It tends to slide off, so she has to keep pushing it back up throughout the episode. Kyon's sister has the cat on her head in the opening sequence.
- Luna and Artemis from Sailor Moon.
- XxxHolic: After much experimentation (including up Watanuki's shirt, and probably once or twice in his pants), Mugetsu appears to have found his(?) niche as a shoulder pet.
- Moyashimon has a weird example: Tadayasu Sawaki is often seen with an anthropomorphic spore of Aspergillus oryzae sitting either on his shoulder or on his head. It's often seen chatting up other microorganisms, or making comments on the craziness in Sawaki's life (even though Sawaki and the audience are the only people who can see or hear it).
- Yachiru in Bleach is often found clinging to Kenpachi's shoulder. Do not try to steal her spot.
- In the Tokko manga, Kureha's pet phantom can be seen sitting on her shoulder in one panel.
- Munchkin has the Cute Shoulder Dragon, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a cute little dragon that sits on your shoulder and gives a higher bonus to women than to men (is Dragons Like Women a trope yet?).
- In Harry Potter and The Methods of Rationality, Dumbledore frequently carries Fawkes The Phoenix on his shoulder. Once, he has both Fawkes and his Phoenix Patronus on his shoulders. Then, at one time Fawkes gets especially upset at Dumbledore, the phoenix spends an entire evening riding on Harry Potter's shoulder. It is later discussed whether having a phoenix on your shoulder is a sign you're a "good" person or not.
Films — Animation
- Sleeping Beauty: Maleficent's raven (later Ret-Named "Diablo") takes this spot.
- Tangled: Pascal is usually seen riding on Rapunzel's shoulder, or failing that, her head.
Films — Live-Action
- Jack the monkey in Pirates of the Caribbean tends to settle himself on Barbossa's shoulder.
- Captain Flint, Long John Silver's parrot in Treasure Island, may be the ur-example.
- The Sword in the Stone: Merlin's pet owl, who is very stuck up, can be shut up by lowering your hand he's perched on, forcing him to run up your arm to your shoulder, thus demonstrating to him that he is only a bird and thus subject to a bird's instincts.
- In Guards Guards, Lady Sybil Ramkin is seen training swamp dragons to sit on one's shoulder, as shoulder-sitters are in fashion. However, the would-be fashionistas often don't consider the consequences of having a volatile creature on your shoulder, as Sybil details: "... next thing you know, you've got crap all down your back and a singed hairstyle."
- It is a centuries old tradition in Honor Harrington that treecats ride on the right shoulder of their human, necessitating that a treecat's person include padding in their wardrobe to accommodate their claws. On occasions where Honor doesn't have access to her regular wardrobe, she simply carries Nimitz. This also goes for those adoptees who aren't quite strong enough to go walking about comfortably with a 30+ pound cat riding on their shoulders.
- Beauty, Menolly's queen fire lizard, reserves this position exclusively for herself.
- In an episode of The Bill, the police speak to a local resident who happens to have a cat on his shoulder. None of the characters act as though this is unusual, and the man never appears again.
- Polly, Long John Silver's lobster (parodying the parrot of the original) in Muppet Treasure Island.
- The Traveller Adventure, section "Pysadian Escapade". It's mentioned that the alien anolas can ride on the PCs' shoulders.
- From Dungeons and Dragons: "The Complete Ranger's Handbook" specifically averts this trope in its Falconry section, pointing out that hunting birds are never carried on the shoulder. As their natural instinct is to take out an ear or eye blinding-fast, even the most well-trained falcon cannot be trusted so close to the face. Thus, seeing any bird of prey riding on someone's shoulder is a sure sign that it isn't a natural animal, but more likely some sort of magical beast or Familiar.
- The eponymous Daxter from the Jak and Daxter legacy has this as his default form. Jaks' shoulders probably get saved from being shredded by his claws thanks to his single shoulder pad.
- In Puzzle Pirates, the player can get a "familiar" pet that perches on the player character's shoulder. Originally they were all parrots or monkeys, but later updates to the game have added octopuses and seahorses (which nonetheless like a shoulder perch) and serpents (which go the Feather Boa Constrictor route).
- Ibuki's pet Don-Chan from Street Fighter has been shown riding on her shoulder on occasion.
- Blackwing, Vaarsuvius' raven familiar from The Order of the Stick, has started riding of V's shoulder once the wizard stopped acknowledging the bird's existence only when s/he remembered about him. This can sometimes look weird, since stick figures in this comic have heads bigger than their shoulders are wide.
- Bun-Bun and Kiki of Sluggy Freelance regularly rides some shoulders. Kiki is just a cute Weasel Mascot, but for Bun-Bun... it isn't like anybody would dare saying "no" to the little bunny psychopath.
- Both Iago the parrot and Abu the monkey in Aladdin the series.
- The Simpsons
- The illustration on the cover of Treasure Island that Bart was supposed to read for a book report, but didn't.
Bart: Fellow students, prepare to be dazzled! (walks to the front of the room) Well, as Mrs. Krabappel already mentioned, the name of the book that I read was Treasure Island. It's about these... (describing the book jacket) pirates. Pirates... with patches over their eyes... and... shiny gold teeth... and green birds on their shoulders... (pause) Did I mention this book was written by a guy named Robert Louis Stevenson? And published by the good people at McGraw Hill. So, in conclusion, on the Simpson scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, one being the lowest, and five being average, I give this book... a nine. Any questions? (hands go up) Nope? Then I'll just sit down.
- Played With in the episode "Simpson Safari", where they take a trip to Africa and meet their guide, Kitenge who first appears with a bush baby on his shoulder. Lisa comments on it being cute. Cue Kitenge being surprised it's there and shooing it away.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Momo the lemur rides on Aang's shoulder a lot.
- Then there's also the pirates from "The Waterbending Scroll", one of whom has a "reptile bird" instead of a parrot.
- In Perfect Hair Forever, Young Man's parrot must be lazy, as it doesn't so much ride than sit on his shoulder.
- Jana of the Jungle sometimes has Tiko sitting on her shoulder.
- Traditionally, the African basenji dog is carried over rough terrain by laying it across its owner's shoulders, with its legs extending forward like a canine Feather Boa Constrictor.
- Many kittens and small cats, especially the overly friendly Bengal Cat, will climb onto somebody's shoulder, assuming they aren't declawed.
- Some full-grown cats try to, even though they are too big.
- Shoulder-riding is a favorite activity of many pet rats, as they like the feel of being high up, yet still sheltered by their owner's neck and hair.
- Chinchillas and hamsters are a few other rodents known to do this.
- Many pet birds like to do this, if they're not on their human's head.