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It apparently doesn't matter whether the dog's happy about it or not...

"And our little girl Tricia, the 6-year-old named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it."

A Sub-Trope of Pet the Dog. This is when a character makes a huge show of the petting act, in order to help the character's image. The act can sometimes be faked, but usually it's genuine, even if it's a meager act.

Can involve a literal photo op, but not always. The point is trying to make the character look good.

If this is a Villain with Good Publicity, this is of course one of the ways they have that good publicity.

If this is a Hero with Bad Publicity, it's usually an attempt to change their image, but it's rarely ever successful.

A Sister Trope to We Care. Antonym of What You Are in the Dark.

Examples of Photo Op with the Dog include:


  • Heinemann from Monster attempts one of these after his staff fails to save the city's mayor. The dog, however, doesn't take kindly to being used, and murders him.

Comic Books

  • In Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man, a kid's comic featuring Spider-Man in the present day universe, old Spidey uses this trope as part of a Batman Gambit to get J.J.J. to use a picture that he took instead of a rival's.
  • In Watchmen, Adrian describes how important it is to him to always show how much he cares about people, asking them about their family and health. About half a page later, it's subtly revealed that it's one of his main manipulative tactics, designed to make him look good.

Fan Fiction


  • An environmental ad Michael Caine did in On Deadly Ground.
  • In Kids in The Hall Brain Candy, the corporation paid off the families of the coma victims.
  • In the movie Dave, the actual President only 'walks' his dogs until out of camera-range. The impostor-President, by contrast, rolls around on the White House lawn with them while playing with them.
  • In Precious, Precious' mother Mary pretends like they live with Precious' mentally retarded child in order to get welfare. In reality, Mary hates the child and calls her an animal.
  • A brief portion of the Villain Song in The Lorax shows the Once-ler in a photo op with an adorable bear cub.

 "Just look at me petting this puppy."



  • Extreme right politician Yorick Caine from Lost in a Good Book "rediscovers" the lost Shakespeare play Cardenio and offers it to the nation to disguise his extremist views. Hand Waved to some extent with the claim that the Shakespeare lobby is the most powerful voting block out there.
  • Parodied in Dave Barry Hits Below The Beltway, where two opposing candidates use the same dog in their campaign ads.
  • The official Mystery Science Theater 3000 book had individual photos of all the principal personnel at the end, all wearing the same tweed jacket, and all posing with the same Golden Retriever.
  • Willie Stark has an actual Photo Op With The Dog in All the King's Men—apparently it doesn't matter that the dog is dead.
  • Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi of the Sano Ichiro series was born in the Year of the Dog, which he takes as a sign he should protect all dogs by passing laws preventing any one from harming them. However, he has no qualms about ordering Off with His Head to any person who even slightly opposes him, he deems dangerous, or that his manipulative council convinces him into executing. His Real Life counterpart acted in a similar fashion.

Live Action TV

  • Kitaoka Shuuichi (Kamen Rider Zolda) from Kamen Rider Ryuki often does this.
  • Lampshaded on Yes Minister after the protagonist learns that one of his administrative orders terminated the lease of the city farm where he himself had a Photo Op with the Dog earlier.

 Hacker: Ms Philips is the last person I want to see! This is the greatest disaster in this century, Bernard.

Bernard: There were two world wars, minister...

Hacker: Oh, Bernard, come on! Fighting on the beaches is one thing, evicting cuddly animals and children to make room for tax inspectors' cars is quite another league!


Western Animation

Real Life

  • The page quote comes from Richard Nixon's famous "Checkers speech". In 1952, Nixon was the Junior Senator from California, and was being accused of impropriety regarding funding and political gifts. In the nationally-televised speech, Nixon denied having accepted anything (except of course the dog Checkers) and laid out the details of his family's finances. The speech led to an outpouring of public sympathy and support, and spared Nixon from being dropped as Dwight D Eisenhower's running mate in that year's Presidential election.