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Character Dossiers 
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Next up we have Joey - both because of a request and because he is the last one of three brothers. Sadly, there’s less information on Joey than on most of the other characters so far...
As usual, answers to prior comments have been appended.

1) Joey appears with Bino, Fox, and Rex, and may be playing "The Game". He appears to simply be one of the gang.
Note: Joey has not been seen as a part of the local pack again except when acompanied by Fido. By inference, his relationship with Bino may have gone downhill with Bino’s sanity.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/06/2 ... annot-win/

2) Joey is rather timid, at least when wanting to look at some art - even around Peanut.
3) Joey is apparently a "Cat Lover", although Peanut - and probably the other dogs - were not yet aware of it.
4) Joey is also rather creepy, or at least that's the impression "I want to wear her skin" gives many readers. It certainly seems to stun Peanut.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/2 ... your-mind/

5) Joey is extremely disturbing.
6) Bino "and the others" (presumably much of the Good Ol Dogs Club) apparently do not approve of Joey's hobbies.
Inference: Joey is not a GODC member, either never joining, getting kicked out, or drifting away.
7) Joey would like to be a cat, at least sometimes, and does at least some roleplaying.
8) Joey has a catsuit - and apparently has managed to fool both Grape and Peanut, at least at range.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/30/hey-dude/

9) Joey is in love with a Mouse named Squeak.
Inference: Joey may be considerably younger than Fido and Bino. He apparently has not considered the impracticality of such a relationship.
10) Squeak will be moving in with Joey, since the opposite approach seems impractical.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/0 ... -for-dogs/

11) Joey is Fidos, and thus also Binos brother.
12) Fido gets along with Joey, and Joey will be glad to see him.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/09/0 ... cred-duty/

13) Squeek has moved in with Joey.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/2 ... s-edition/

14) Joey appears in his catsuit. Apparently it suffices to fool most of the cats.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/2 ... more-cats/

15) Joey is buying the Pridelands series.
16) The neighborhood cats know Joey in his cat identity - but apparently do not connect it with Joey, otherwise word might get back to squeek regardless of whether or not he wore it.
17) Squeek is friends with some cats.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/2 ... -unsee-it/

18) Joey plays and runs Dungeons and Dragons, at least once with Peanut playing.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/06/19/fast-learner/

19) Joey is "part of the gang" (the usual named dogs: Fox, Fido, Rex, and Bino) - apparently at least as long as Fido is there.
Inference: Fido likes Joey, and doesn't see him as being too weird.
Note: It looks to me like Joey is in the "I think Bino is crazy" group, but that's purely subjective.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/2 ... mpetition/

20) Bino knows that Joey likes to wear costumes and pretend to be of other species - but still apparently considers Joey capable of fooling most other animals.
21) Joey does not fool the ferrets. Of course, he is much too large to do so and only has a mask to get the eye-fur pattern and no other props. He still seems disappointed.
Inference: Joey actually is pretty good at the disguise routine.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/3 ... y-the-foo/

22) Unlike Fido, Joey was not apparently hanging around to see Bino when he woke up after his fall.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/0 ... llar-sign/

23) Joey is a reasonably talented artist and is apparently quite creative.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/1 ... the-cover/

24) Joey, and at least some of his friends, like to watch anime.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/2 ... -subtlety/

    Joey's likely history is mildly skimpy, since there isn't actually all that much to be accounted for...
    Joey and his brothers were born in the area (since, otherwise, three of them winding up in the same development is pretty unlikely), although he - judging strictly by his size and tendency towars impractical relationships - may well be younger than either Fido or Bino. Joey soon gave up attempting to compete with Fido (who was just too perfect) and Bino (who was just too driven and could be unreasonably nasty whenever upstaged) - essentially opting out of the dominance game in favor of role-playing, art, and similar personal hobbies. While this limited his social relationships to a rather small clique except when he was tagging along with Fido or Bino, it meant that he was associating with people - whether feline, canine, human, or exotic - who didn't care about much except how good your imagination was.
    Joey developed his imagination rather extensively, to the point where he has become quite comfortable in almost any roll other than that of "himself". Given the (rather relaxed) laws of recognition in the Housepets universe, Joey developed his knack until he could successfully impersonate several other species and can easily drop into a great many roles with very little equipment or study - no matter how impractical that would appear. That’s why he’s currently involved in a (throughly impractical) relationship with a mouse.
    Jeoy was still fairly young when his (undisclosed) owner moved into Babylon Gardens some time after Fido’s and Bino’s owners did - where he was initially admitted to the Good Ol Dogs Club simply because he was the younger brother of two of it’s founding members.
    Joey rapidly drifted away from the club however; he didn’t share many of its members interests and found many of the local dogs rather boring - while they found him weird. As long as Fido is present, he still hangs out with the local pack occasionally (Fido doesn’t judge him, although Bino certainly DOES) - but he spends most of his time hanging around with his odder friends watching anime, drawing, role-playing, and otherwise doing things that most people don’t understand.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

As far as answers go...

Foxstar wrote:
To be fair, Bino's first time showing up was here.


That is already the first item and link listed, since it established that Bino belongs to a neighbor of the Sandwichs - however, while that strip is likely to be canon, it's position in the strip timline is uncertain. It must occur before the Zoo arc, which I believe contains the the first mention of Grape's and Peanut's "Meagre allowances" - but it is not necessarily a prequel strip in the canon timeline. It could fit in anywhere between the start of the comic and the zoo arc.

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Character Dossiers


Last edited by Thoth on Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:18 am
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Next up, we have Tarot - a character who first, and quite unexpectedly, appeared only a few months ago. Of course, this means that there isn’t that much information on her available yet.
Sorry to have to double-post here, but - given the nature of the topic - I fear it’s inevitable at times, and I've been advised that that is acceptable.

1) Tarot’s first appearance. She’s a Pomeranian - one of the few characters to have a specified breed.
2) Tarot’s tag is an egyptian symbol (almost certainly one of the "eye" symbols). This might imply some connection with Sabrina, who wears an ankh.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/2 ... -dramatic/

3) Tarot simply turned up at the Sandwich’s door. She states that it was because she foresaw that Peanut would need company, and she came to be his companion. Apparently she was "told by the spirits themselves".
4) Tarot issues her prophecy - "The hour shall come to pass, your lives will be changed forever in ways you canot imagine, for you stare now into the abyss, unable to comprehend what you see. The truth shall be brought to the light, and I fear that day, for all who do not hold live in their hears shall perish, and their souls will be broken into shards as countless as all the sand on the face of the earth - plus it's terrible for your complexion".
Note; The “prophecy” may not be reliable. Prophecy, and quasi-psychic powers, are notorious for that.
5) Tarot’s eyes apparently turn or glow green when her abilities are active. Otherwise they seem to be yellow.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/3 ... l-do-that/

6) Tarot "calls on the spirits" to locate the television remote. Apparently the spirits are pretty obliging when called on for trivial matters.
Inference: Tarot’s powers may well be psychic, rather than spiritually based.
Observation: Peanut had the remote just a few panels earlier. Evidently Tarot loses things pretty quickly. This could be taken as further support for “new-age-psychic-spaciness”.
7) Various objects float about and a green glow manifests as Tarot uses her powers. The glow, at least, seems to be physical light rather than a visual effect for the benefit of the readers. The "floating objects" could indicate spiritualism, telekinesis, or several other power suites.
Note: Tarot appears to be oblivious to the fact that she disturbs others, doesn't care, or finds it amusing. Of course, judging by the Dolphins in the zoo, psychic powers are not too outre in the Housepets universe.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/0 ... he-closet/

8) Tarot states that Grape’s place is with Maxwell now - apparently predicting Maxwell’s appearce at the door when Grape opens it to try and eject Tarot.
9) Tarot is portrayed snuggling with Peanut with a little "heart" icon coming from her or possibly from the pairing. Given that these apparently exist to provide information to the readers, rather than as a part of the Housepets universe, the emotion is evidently genuine.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/0 ... otherwise/

10) The halloween special; Tarot is riding on a broomstick with Peanut, displaying the green-slow signature and either spirit-assistance or telekinesis, depending on interpretation.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/3 ... tch-plans/

11) Tarot is capable of establishing a long-range telepathic contact with Peanut. This may require an emotional link, since there seems to be no reason not to directly link to Grape - the apparent intended target of the message.
12) Tarot appears with Sabrina (who also appears to be consulting a classical "giant mystic tome"). They may have the same owner and may both be mystically inclined.
Deduction: Tarot may have been around Babylon Gardens for some time, since Fido's relationship with Sabrina goes back a long ways. This is not certain however; she cold easily be a more recent arrival.
13) Tarot states that "This is what I have been warning you about! The gate must not be opened, for it will bring about the beginning of the end! This power Grape knows as "Pete" has transmitted a dream to her in order to put her at ease, thinking that his freedom is what she wants. Don't believe it! Pete is neither kind nor good; he is actually sort of a jerk. Hurry Peanut! Stop Grape or we're all in Grave Peril! Hugs and kisses honey."
Inference: if Tarot wanted to badmouth Pete, there are much better lines than "he is actually sort of a jerk" - and better targets than Peanut to address. This seems likely to actually be her opinion.
Inference: Tarot may be referring to her earlier prophecy. If so, it suggests that their peril is actually fairly dire, even if that prophecy never did specify the end of what.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/11/23/so-cool/

14) Tarot apparently told Grape and Peanut to stop worrying about Pete. Evidently it will - at least for them - be either useless or actively counterproductive.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/12/0 ... christmas/

A possible history for Tarot (based on VERY thin information):

Tarot was psychic - with the powers of Telepathy, Telekinesis, and Clairvoyance - at birth, and had a good deal of trouble getting adopted. While she was cute enough, the constant oddities that surrounded her, and her casual use of several of her powers, tended to put most humans off - and the fact that she tended to rely on her clairvoyance to run her life, rather than paying attention to what she was doing, made her seem quite scatterbrained. She never has really learned to think ahead - or, indeed, about much at all. When you’re a clairvoyant, and let that ability run your life for you, why would you need to think?
Eventually, of course, someone did come along - a potential owner who already possessed one rather peculiar pet (Sabrina) and might possess some modest psychic potentials of his or her own. He or she found Tarot quite charming, and quite ignored her oddities. Who knew? She might be the descendent of some ancient magical bloodline or something.
Besides, even if she was a little weird, she had a perky attitude and a happy, simple, approach to life.
In Babylon Gardens Tarot soon picked up on “Pete’s” little portal/temple, and something of the entity behind it. She even saw a few of the pranks he’d played elsewhere - and soon concluded that “Pete” was something of a jerk. Other clairvoyant glimpses assured her that Pete actually was rather dangerous - the major reason why she didn’t want him running around loose.
Still, there was no point in trying anything until the moment when her talents told her to act.
The fact that her first “action” turned out to be hooking up with Peanut was simply fun.

That’s about as simple as I can make this one - although there are plenty of other possible compatible “histories”. In fact, there are so many that this isn’t an especially satisfactory account. I really need more information to work with.

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Character Dossiers


Last edited by Thoth on Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Dec 26, 2009 3:45 am
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Wow.... you spend too much time on this...
Might I suggest you incorporate the Profile pages into this? There's an interesting amount of info there that should be cannon...


Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:07 am
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
RockstarRaccoon wrote:
Wow.... you spend too much time on this...
Might I suggest you incorporate the Profile pages into this? There's an interesting amount of info there that should be cannon...


I got most of the profile stuff handled already, in the info thread. This thread goes into in-depth character analysis and speculation; it assumes that you already know the character's basics.

And yes, Thoth, when posting so much information, double posting for a page break is more than just fine, it's recommended! It's hard to read blocks of text...So that makes it much easier.

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Mon Dec 28, 2009 5:03 am
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Next up we have Grape Jelly Sandwich... In this case, with suggestions and assistance by Indagare.

Since Grape and Peanut featured in the initial arcs, their early adventures established a lot of the background material for the Housepets universe - such as the pets:
    *Being bipedal, sapient, tool-using, and talkative - qualities they share with many wild animals.
    *Learning at a fabulous rate. Despite being less than six years old, both Grape and Peanut have a remarkable vocabulary, have studied several subjects at least casually, and demonstrate a wealth of background knowledge including many obscure references. It's unclear as to whether "judgement" or "common sense" ever catch up with their other mental attributes in most pets.
    *Tending to refer to their owners as if they were their parents.
    *Tending to see other pets in the same household as semi-siblings.
    *Tending to be treated - as least by the more considerate owners who aren't running farms or pet shops - as surrogate children.
    *Tending to be fairly obliging - and domesticated.
    *Being generally free to wander around the neighborhood, visit friends, watch television, and play video games.
    *Being legally property. They can be subjected to medical treatments without their consent, bred, and their children sold or given away, at their owners discretion. Pets have few legal rights, and Ferals have none.
    *There is a mention or two from the forums that animals have a brief education in being pets at a sort of "boot camp". The extent of this is unknown.
    *Being subject to "strip reality"; their sexes mostly aren't immediately apparent (this is lampshaded or used as a gag in several strips), Joey’s silly disguises apparently usually work, slices of pumpkin bend like meat, and so on.
    *Being in a clearly human-dominated world, with enough similarities to reality to make it immediately familiar to the readers.
    *The reasons for human domination have never been explained. Given that the animals sapience has been stated to be natural, yet various human-manipulated breeds are apparent, we wind up with either (1) the world is a relatively recent creation or was transformed somehow (and this presumably falls under being "natural"), (2) the "animals" have some fairly drastic physical or mental limitations that kept them from competing effectively with early humans, (3) humans are very ruthless, somewhat cruel, and have some natural method of enforcing their dominance, (4) early humans were really lucky - scenarios such as the early domestication of dogs and breeding them into a legion of ruthlessly loyal enforcers come to mind (this makes a certain amount of sense, and gains some support from the large numbers of police dogs and Fox's military tags - as well as Fox’s recently apparent ability to easily beat up Bino while acquiring no apparent injuries himself - but I don't think that the resulting vision of legions of heavily-armed miltary three-year-old-pups really fits in with the Housepets universe), (5) this is a comic strip and it's one of the background assumptions, and thus does not need an explanation any more than the other laws of nature do, or (6) anything else you can dream up.

For Grape and Peanut it's rapidly established that they do see each other as semi-siblings, get along quite well, are reasonably obliging, have established a number of behavioral patterns (such as Peanut’s constantly disturbing Grapes naps), and are relatively young. The are evidently somewhat naive in practice (if well-informed in theory), inclined to childish impulses, physically adolescent-to-maturing, and mentally advanced in terms of background knowledge and - possibly - their underlying reasoning abilities.

So on to Grape in particular...

1) Grape's tag is a fish (while Peanut's is a bone). These are more directly species-related than any other tags yet shown.
2) Grape likes to sleep - and to play "lets pretend" or informal RPG's (if there's any difference). Inference: Judging by the presence of prepared paper hats, this is a common occurrence.
3) Grape has a short temper.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/06/0 ... m-strikes/

4) Grape often does not think ahead - and may be a bit too imaginative.
5) Grape has no objections to showering herself with water as part of a game. She’s probably used to regular, mandatory, baths.
Inference: Grape and Peanut are normally trusted to behave themselves on their own in the house. They may not be so trusted again for a week or so after this though.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/06/0 ... eanliness/

6) Grape's naps apparently get disturbed a lot; this is probably pretty routine whenever Peanut gets bored or upset and/or their “parents” aren’t around.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/06/2 ... me-i-mean/

7) Grape is either a fairly sophisticated logician or has examined published material on The Game enough to be easily able to quote arguments about it.
Note: This is possible evidence for the pets being very quick to memorize information, for Grape being exceptional, or for both.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/06/23/no-escape/

8) Grape seems to think that a lot of the local dogs are crazy - or at least the ones that hang out with Bino are - and concludes that she is foolish to keep trying to reason with them anyway. In at least this case, she’s probably right.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/06/2 ... annot-win/

9) Grape is apparently reluctant to eat squirrels. Of course, given the “I regret nothing!” line - followed by a casual escape - in the next strip, the “trapped in a tree” routine is probably either simply to taunt Bino or for her own amusement.
Note: Someone trusts Bino with access to power tools. Humans in this world may be quite mad.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/06/2 ... no-escape/

10) Grape and Peanut have a wide variety of games and toys, as well as what is apparently their own playroom.
Inference: their owners are quite indulgent and presumably have a comfortable lifestyle themselves.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/0 ... -at-age-8/

11) Grape can safely consume chocolate-covered espresso beans (and gets the standard cartoon high-speed vibration from doing so). Evidently animals in the Housepets universe have fewer biophysical differences from humans than real animals - indicating greater compatibility with humans, and each other, than is normally the case.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/11/a-real-buzz/

12) Grape subscribes to at least some of the local pet community prejudices about interspecies relationships.
Note: As demonstrated in the “Farm” arc, this is not a universal prejudice. This is probably because the pets do - of course - want to have close personal relationships, but probably do not want human intervention or population control measures being applied to their personal lives. Interspecies relationships are safe.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/1 ... od-artist/

13) Grape apparently has accepted Joey’s “cat” identity, and his catsuit, as the real thing up until this point.
Inference: either Joey is very good at this sort of thing, or the strips "reality" follows it's artwork - most likely the latter considering the pets inability to determine each others gender easily.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/30/hey-dude/

14) Grape really is good friends with Peanut; she’s willing to give his artwork another chance despite her bias.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/0 ... -for-dogs/

15) Grape is female.
Note: At this point, “comic book recognition” is pretty much proven - wherein disguises that would not fool a five-year-old for thirty seconds are nigh-impenetrable because actually making it hard for the reader to recognize the characters fouls up the jokes and makes the storyline hard to follow.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/0 ... a-nowhere/

16) Housepets cats are evidently far more individualist than Housepets dogs.
17) Grape and Peanut have free access to the refrigerator, the soda, and the ice cream. They evidently have very indulgent owners - who have gotten over the “flooding the living room” incident.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/0 ... -platonic/

18) Grape is at least on even physical terms with feral raccoons.
19) Grape’s nightsight may not be all that good, otherwise she might not have turned on the light - especially since if her nightsight was very good, that would temporarily blind her. More evidence that the Pets resemble humans on quite a lot of levels.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/11/dont-shoot/

20) Grape is both willing, and able, to run off multiple feral opponents to protect her home.
Inference: Housepets Cats are more formidable in terms of their relationships to other animals than real-world cats are. This may be a result of selective breeding if some of the more violent world-origin speculations are accurate.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/13/stick-em-up/

21) Grape is - at least for comedic effect - smarter than her owners, and capable of working with locks.
22) Grape is also quite obliging; she cleaned up the mess, rather than leaving it for the silly humans who installed pet flaps to take care of.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/15/a-minor-flaw/

23) Grape apparently likes dog biscuits.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/09/1 ... ve-of-him/

24) Grape is quick to resort to casual violence. This may be fairly common among cats.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/09/1 ... -violence/

25) Grape has no qualms about eating annoying sapient mice and other small animals. This seems to be common to Cats, since Sabrina is later noted as an exception.
Inference: Housepets Cats make much better house-guardians than real-world cats do.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/10/0 ... o-get-off/

26) Grape - unsurprisingly - objects to leash ordinances.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/10/1 ... ll-travel/

27) Grape likes to visit the big cats in the zoo.
Note: Despite the (apparent) weight listed for the Tiger, he doesn’t look much larger than a normal human.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/10/1 ... thy-brain/

27) Grape and Peanut are friends with numerous Zoo animals, and visit fairly regularly.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/10/2 ... p-paddock/

28) Grape is not entirely clear on human anatomy. Apparently such details are not commonly shared with Pets.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/10/2 ... rathustra/

29) Grape is substantially more competent than Peanut.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/11/0 ... e-animals/

30) Grape gets a "meager" allowance. Judging by their toy collection and general treatment it may actually be quite generous by pet standards.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/11/0 ... -literate/

31) This strip necessarily takes place AFTER this strip from the "about" section (which establishes that Grape and Peanut can collude, and manipulate, as well as most human children). Unfortunately, that strip doesn't provide enough information to be placed more precisely in the normal chronology. It does establish that Grape and Peanut get a relatively small allowance and that Grape dislikes Bino.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/wp-conten ... 11/003.jpg


32) Grape is either known to the zookeepers or is readily recognized as female by humans. Given the strips assumptions, I'd guess that she is known to the zookeepers.
Note: This strip establishes that birds are sapient and can either talk or effectively communicate with humans in some other fashion in the Housepets universe.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/10/2 ... et-buffet/

33) Grape has little respect for human modesty. Hardly surprising when all you normally wear is a collar.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/11/1 ... -business/

34) Grape is aware of telepathy in dolphins, but does not believe in magical griffins.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/11/2 ... cal-value/

35) Grape is at least somewhat genre-savvy.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/11/2 ... as-an-emu/

36) Grape is something of a cynic, at least judging by her opinions about Santa Claus.
Inference: Unlike many comics, Santa Claus is probably not real in the Housepets universe.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/0 ... abor-laws/

37) Grape knows Maxwell and Sabrina, knows of Marvin, and doesn't know too many other cats.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/12/so-thats-a-no/

38) Grape meets some other cats - and discovers that Joey is indeed more integrated with the neighborhood cats than she is. This is probably embarrassing, not least because the fact that she now knows his secret allows her to recognize him easily while before she apparently could not.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/2 ... more-cats/

39) Grape occasionally uses Catnip.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/01/0 ... t-a-crime/

40) Grape does NOT like going to the vets - to the point where her owners mislead her about it.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/01/1 ... tatistics/

41) Grape was adopted from an animal shelter as a Kitten, and was originally named Princess Periwinkle - a name she now does not like and finds embarrassing.
Inference: At this point Grape is only a year - or perhaps two (depending on whether the "yearly checkup" implied is bi-yearly to match the pets increased lifespans) - out of kittenhood and - given the implied growth rate - was probably well under a year old at that time. Ergo, Grape is quite young, although she could be anything form not too far past one (presuming that she was a few months old when adopted and yearly checkups) to nearly four (presuming almost two when adopted and bi-yearly checkups).
Inference: While physical maturity is probably slowed compared to actual cats and dogs, reproductive maturity is delayed a good deal longer in comparison, and the pets reproduction rate is probably a great deal slower than it is with actual cats and dogs. This is good. It eliminates a lot of nightmare scenarios.
Deduction: Pets acquire language, basic tool and motor skills, and background knowledge, with incredible speed. Why humans seem to dominate the world is an open question - although it may hinge upon elements such as mass cooperation, superior judgement (subverted for comic effect occasionally), and doing better with more technical subjects; the pets rarely seem to be much for organized knowledge or research.
Observation: The pets seem to have basically human-child level strength (if that) judging from the ease with which Earl Sandwich holds onto Grapes leash despite her pulling with both hands. Since a normal animal their size could be expected to be substantially stronger than that, evidently animals in the Housepets universe share humanities neotonous characteristics as well as intelligence. If this general relationship extends to other physical characteristics, it may be a reason WHY humans are so dominant; they develop more slowly, but - in the end - they may actually be substantially tougher. On the other hand, we also have the police dogs being expected to take down humans, which argues against such a theory. Oh well.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/01/2 ... ough-pain/

42) Grape has bad childhood memories of her last visit to the vet, and was much smaller than. Observation: physical growth and maturity for pets must be very rapid indeed.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/01/2 ... -memories/

43) Grape doesn't like shots either.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/01/2 ... -medicine/

44) Grape also does not like clothing - or at least not "cute" clothing.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/02/1 ... -stitches/

45) Grape is a practical problem-solver - if, perhaps, unconcerned with the ethics of her solutions.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/1 ... over-then/

46) Grape is enjoying reading "The Pridelands" - and considers large posters of lions in tribal dress "eye candy".
47) Grape has been reading the series - now on it's third volume - "since she was a kitten". Evidently the movie is a recent development.
Inference: Enough people are indulgent of their pets to pay for the production of pet-specific books, movies, and other big-budget entertainment products. Treating them as surrogate children - or possibly as highly-valued aides and servants - is evidently not uncommon.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/16/book-smarts/

48) Peanut reads much more quickly than Grape - and may have a near-eidetic memory. If this is a common thing in pets, it might explain the common combination of extensive background knowledge coupled with - apparently - poor judgement; they acquire facts quickly and easily, but are poor at using them and subject to powerful instincts (such as the Dogs "Zoning" behavior).
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/3 ... -mistress/

49) Grape and Peanut are inclined to celebrate outings - even though some of them turn out to be to the vet.
Inference: Grape and Peanut are not fully acquainted with all the details of their extended human “family”.
Inference: Pets are commonly left to pick up many details on their own, which may help explain their eclectic educations.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/06/08/no-excuses/

50) Grape feels naked without her collar - and is genre savvy enough to recognize the incongruity.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/06/1 ... ternative/

Note: People can "call the pound" on pets without their collars.
51) Grape has abandonment issues, and reacts quite emotionally to any suggestion that her "parents" might not want her. She also doesn't like having her reassurance interrupted.
Inference: Grape hated the animal shelter, and does not like to even consider the possibility of being returned there.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/06/1 ... lled-milk/

52) Grape writes fan-fiction. It's likely that "Gapre" - and her instant romance - is a self-insert given her embarrassment about having Peanut see what she's writing.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/06/2 ... nd-taking/

53) Grape is not above harassing cows about the fact that they're going to be eaten. While cows are apparently sapient and talkative enough to understand, they apparently don't care much - according to the alt text due to a mixture of obliviousness and indifference. This might also indicate that Grape is a cat, a predator, and a little mean, fitting in nicely with the earlier "revolutionary mice" episode.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/0 ... your-food/

54) Grape likes slow-motion pillow-fighting. She may or may not be aware of the effect this has on Peanut.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/1 ... s-too-far/

55) Grape does NOT want to consider herself a dog-lover, or to be seen that way - although the farm cats apparently see nothing wrong with it.
Note: This was already discussed earlier.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/1 ... g-reasons/

56) Grape makes a date with Max - and is apparently quite unaware the Peanut seems to have a crush on her.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/1 ... t-nothing/

57) Grape does apparently consider Peanut her best friend ever.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/1 ... t-it-much/

58) Peanut is apparently also somewhat genre-savvy, as well as something of a changeover artist.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/1 ... -fabulous/

59) Genre-rules on display again. Combing out Grapes eyelashes is enough to take her from "gender indeterminate" to "definitely female".
60) Grape still does not like Bino, and is pleased to see him injured. Again, “cattish”.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/1 ... on-parade/

Note: The pets apparently do raid the trash for food - on a semi-formal or formal basis.
Deduction: the pets in Babylon Gardens do not have much of an independent culture; they're apparently adopted fairly early and raised by their owners - and thus tend to reflect human cultural norms and oddities.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/1 ... kill-cafe/

61) Grape still likes dog biscuits - or at least uses that for an excuse to hang out with dogs.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/2 ... -smooches/

62) Grape is genre savvy again - and knows that pets pick up excess baggage while trying to emulate their human owners. .
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/2 ... e-corners/

63) Grape apparently distrusts psychic abilities (or the pretense thereof, since she wasn't looking out of the closet when a physical effect was demonstrated, and thus may not have realized that Tarot was probably for real) - at least in dogs - and would prefer that Tarot go away.
64) Grape does accept Tarot’s presence quite quickly after she observes Tarot's prediction coming true.
65) Grape is now definitely informed that Peanut has - or at least had - a crush on her.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/0 ... otherwise/

66) Grapes patience with "The Adventures of Spot" does NOT extend to what are apparently hundreds of pages of supplementary material.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/2 ... -probably/

67) Grape at least attempts to write embarrassing fan-mail to the actors who appear in The Pridelands movies.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/25/dear-tabby/

68) Grape is not too worried about wolves moving into the neighborhood. Evidently she feels pretty secure.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/3 ... n-my-room/

69) Grape recognizes chess gambits on sight, from across the room.
Inference: Grape has very good eyes - and we have more evidence for an eidetic memory and faulty judgement.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/26/how-terrible/

70) Grape has at least partial recall of her dream about Pete.
Note: As demonstrated later, it seems to be very good recall indeed; perhaps pets have problems telling the difference between dreams and reality to go with superb memories? That could be quite awkward.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/11/1 ... -favorite/

71) Grape is - again - larger and more threatening than the feral raccoons.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/11/2 ... hall-pass/

72) Grape either cannot receive telepathic messages from Tarot (possibly because Pete got to her first) or Tarot is incapable of sending them to her - perhaps due to distance coupled with the lack of an emotional bond or to Grapes possible active dislike/distrust of Tarot.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/11/23/so-cool/

73) Grape - upset about Pete's release - has compiled a comprehensive list of "Petes" in the area, and is quite suspicious. She may now be placing more credence in Tarot’s dire-sounding prophecies.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/12/0 ... christmas/

Oddly enough, while we have more observations on Grape and Peanut than on any other characters in the strip, they’ve also revealed relatively little of their histories.

Probable historical basics for Grape:

Grape was previously owned by someone who named her Princess Periwinkle and then abandoned her as a kitten - whether by dropping her off at an animal shelter or simply by dumping her somewhere. Understandably, she found this quite traumatic, and continues to have major issues with being without her collar (and thus vulnerable to being returned to the pound or an animal shelter) or with any suggestion of abandonment.
Grape is apparently somewhat exceptional - whether due to her upbringing by the Sandwiches or due to natural talent. She is remarkably bright and logical for an animal who is (even now) only about four years old. She learned to read at a remarkably young age, and has been a fan of the Prideland series since kittenhood - although she may not have been introduced to the series until after the Sandwiches adopted her.
Grape was taken to the vets at least once before after the Sandwiches adopted her, but retains only vague and distorted memories of the trip, during which she was apparently terrified. She still has problems with vets, shots, and such trips due to this old trauma - and tended to assume that the same must apply to Peanut (and was rather offended that it did not).
Having lived with the Sandwiches for at least one year, and possibly for two, Grape has become quite familiar with Peanut’s habits and routine, but is still willing to tolerate them - and has been joining in, or leading, impromptu role-playing sessions since very early on in their association. Oddly enough, however, the fact that she was female apparently never came up in that time...


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Character Dossiers


Last edited by Thoth on Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:04 pm
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Dude, forget the "Cast" page; I'll come here if I need information. No offence, Rick. Although now that I think about it, that page is a little out-of-date.

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Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:20 pm
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Yeah I know. I wonder if I can redirect the cast page to one of the threads . . .

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Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:50 pm
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Well, my character descriptions (in the info thread) are simple, quick, and spoiler-free snapshots, and these ones by Thoth are in-depth character analysis. Neither of which really fit as an ideal cast bio page. Which is unfortunate. Furthermore...when it does come down to it? Rick knows his characters the best.

*pokes Rick*

Com'on you. You've been threatening to update that cast page for a while now!

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Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:24 pm
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Okay okay you guys! I was also thinking of consolidating some pages though, probably rearranging Bonuses, About and Cast into only two pages, and probably figuring out the PHPBB gallery and redirecting Fanart there

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Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:41 pm
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
rickgriffin wrote:
redirecting Fanart there
There certainly does seem to be a lot of that... *monocle*

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Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:03 pm
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
the cast page doesn't require too much effort if you know how to do it =3

In my opinion, the pictures at the cast page are fine the way they are for Peanut and Grape, but I would recommend at least adding a face shot of the somewhat more known pets to give an idea with a short description of who they are and what is known about them and just a one-three line summary of them, depending on frequency of importance and appearance. (Squeak & Daisy come to mind)

Ex:

Bino - The ringleader of the neighborhood dogs and chairdog of the Good Ol’ Dogs Club. Although second brother to Fido, Bino is just looking for the loyalty of the neighbourhood dogs just as much as Fido! You don't have to worry about them ideas he likes to think of, everything works out in the end, for better or for worse...

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
I've spruced up the wiki a little, adding some new characters, removing those who haven't had a lot of screen time lately, and updating old info.

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Next up is Peanut Butter Sandwich.

Peanut, like Grape, starred in the first several arcs of Housepets - and so helped set up most of the general world background for the strip. However, since that’s been pretty well addressed under Grape, above, I’m going to try and stick with some specifics here:

1) Peanut gets bored easily, but likes RPG's - and puns.
2) Peanut plays video games and - from later information - plays them quite a bit.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/06/0 ... m-strikes/

3) Peanut doesn't think ahead much (and neither does Grape) - or they'd anticipate the likely consequences of soaking the living room. This may be due to their youth or it may be common to most of the animals (many of them do seem to show such symptoms). If common to most of the animals, it would help explain why they are subordinated to the better-organized humans.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/06/0 ... eanliness/

4) Peanut doesn't pay much attention to Bino if he can avoid it. This may simply indicate good sense.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/06/1 ... situation/

5) Peanut is silly enough to get involved in "The Game".
6) Over the next few strips it becomes apparent that he isn't very good at logical analysis.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/06/1 ... just-lost/

7) Peanut is literate enough to read some fairly sizeable books.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/0 ... hould-ask/

8) Peanut is still easily bored - but has a great many toys. Evidently his owners are quite indulgent, and take the surrogate-child approach.
Note: This may not really be a very common approach to keeping pets. After all, they’re usually going to die long before their owner does - and the death of a surrogate child is going to be hard to deal with.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/0 ... -at-age-8/

9) Peanut is an artist, and - in this case - has drawn a dog with a cat tail, apparently violating some local standard.
10) Peanut also gets embarrassed easily.
Note: Pet blushes show through fur. The “reality” of the strip conforms to artistic conventions rather than to pure physics.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/1 ... od-artist/

11) Bino kicks Peanut out of the Good Ol Dogs Club.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/1 ... n-ostrich/

12) Peanut is relatively easily shocked.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/2 ... your-mind/

13) Peanut has not recognized "that neighbor cat with a spot over his left eye" as Joey in a catsuit until he was informed of this.
Inference; Either comic-strip recognition rules apply, pets are primarily visually oriented, or Joey is just very good at disguises, or more than one of these applies. Later evidence suggests that it is, indeed, all three.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/30/hey-dude/

14) Peanut is aware of pets limited legal status.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/0 ... -for-dogs/

15) Peanut was unaware that Grape was a girl.
Inference: it's hard to tell in the Housepets universe. Ergo - in the next strip - "It's impolite to ask". That’s probably comic strip PG convention, especially since Rick has lampshaded it - but it could be taken to indicate thick fur or biological differences.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/0 ... a-nowhere/

16) Peanut apparently has a crush on Grape.
17) Peanut and Grape are allowed to go into the refrigerator and make themselves ice cream sodas. Their owners are very indulgent, and have apparently gotten over the “flooding the living room” incident.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/0 ... -platonic/

18) Peanut has begun drawing his own comic strip. Judging by later examples, his art will improve rapidly.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/2 ... new-comic/

19) Peanut is still a "Cat-Lover".
Note: The "more powerful than even the humans" line may or may not actually say anything about the capabilities of humans in the Housepets universe - but it would seem to indicate that humans dominate the world as far as Peanut is concerned.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/2 ... n-slipped/

20) Peanut resents being kicked out of the Good Ol Dogs Club - and hasn't heard that Fido was back.
21) Peanut apparently finds the fact that Fido is back quite exciting.
Inference: The Good Ol Dogs Club is a, or the, major social contact group for the dogs in Babylon Gardens. Being kicked out cuts Peanut off from a lot of the news and gossip, and is evidently quite upsetting.
22) Peanut now seriously dislikes Bino; he's quite pleased that Grape hit him and that he had to be dragged away.
Inference: this probably dates to Bino kicking Peanut out of the Good Ol Dogs Club.
23) Peanuts "Puppy Eyes" even work on Grape.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/09/2 ... ty-favors/

24) Peanut owns, or at least has access to, a camera and knows how to use it.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/09/2 ... nel-klink/

25) Peanut discovers that Fido is a cat-lover, takes a picture - and evidently finds it reassuring that a respected authority-figure shares the trait.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/09/2 ... everybody/

26) Peanut is once again waking Grape whenever a problem comes up.
Inference: Grape is the active and independent one in the duo. Peanut may lack self-confidence - a likely reason for his never conveying his feelings to her, almost always allowing her to take the lead, and worrying so much about whether or not other pets approve of his art.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/10/0 ... er-of-che/

27) Peanut likes to harass or tease Grape - more of the semi-sibling behavior patterns.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/10/0 ... tty-tummy/

28) Peanut likes the zoo - or outings in general. Over the next few strips, it's revealed that he has numerous friends at the zoo and is a regular visitor.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/10/1 ... ll-travel/

29) Peanut seems to romanticize wolves.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/10/2 ... he-ground/

30) Housepets get given strange items on Halloween.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/10/3 ... c-you-see/

31) Peanut is readily outsmarted by a snake. Evidently he’s either fairly dim, not at all inclined to think things through, highly impulsive, the victim of supernatural powers, or more than one of those.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/11/0 ... e-animals/

32) Peanut plays scrabble with the zoo animals.
Inference: Zoo animals either get an educational program of their own or commonly manage to pick up at least basic literacy purely from reading their own signs and watching people read them. A fairly impressive display of intellect.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/11/0 ... -literate/

33) Here we have Grape's dream-sequence. Later evidence suggests that Peanut was not actually involved here.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/11/1 ... -mushroom/

34) Peanut is a bit confused about Santa Claus - and only learned that he could write to him this year.
Inference: Given the speed at which pets apparently learn and grow (see the discussion under Grape) this would tend to indicate that Peanut is quite young. The cast page notes "under five" - but it's uncertain where in the strip timeline this might apply. The information from the veterinary arc would place Grape under four at that point. The Cast page also notes that Peanut is older than Grape, so - at this point - an age of about three to three and a half for Peanut seems likely.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/11/1 ... -mushroom/

35) Peanut is speculating about Santa Claus, but is far less cynical than Grape.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/0 ... abor-laws/

36) Fido let Peanut back into the Good Ol Dogs Club - apparently without blackmail.
37) Fido is attempting to patch up Peanuts relationship with Bino. This is a nice idea, but is probably misguided.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/1 ... things-up/

38) Peanut tends to judge by appearances - at least when little other information is available.
Inference: Peanut probably still lacks confidence in his own judgement, and so tends to fall back on first impressions.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/17/lame-joke-83/

39) Peanut thinks motorcycle trips are awesome. Again, probably a first impression, since they can be quite uncomfortable.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/17/lame-joke-83/

40) Peanut gives Bino a very nice Christmas gift despite his dislike for him; this may indicate excessive niceness or - judging by the next few strips - simply awareness that this will make Bino very uncomfortable - a more subtle form of payback than most, but still payback.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/22/ew/

41) Peanut recognizes the symptoms of catnip use - and has apparently stayed up very late waiting for Grape.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/01/0 ... t-a-crime/

42) Peanut apparently dislikes going to the vet at least somewhat - although it's hard to tell if the information that they had an appointment was concealed for his benefit, for Grapes, or for both of them.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/01/1 ... tatistics/

43) Peanuts dislike for the vet seems fairly mild. He may just be disappointed that it wasn't a trip to the pool after all.
44) Peanut finds the name "Princess Periwinkle" rather amusing. It’s hard to blame him, but - to his credit - he’s apparently never mentioned it to Grape again.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/01/2 ... ough-pain/

45) Peanut behaves himself at the vets, and gets a treat for it. Evidently he does not find shots and a his checkup particularly traumatic.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/02/0 ... treatment/

46) Peanut doesn't mind being dressed up. Well, if that’s what his “pack leaders” want at the moment...
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/02/1 ... -stitches/

47) Peanut is curious, and investigates things he doesn't understand.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/09/bzzt/

48) Peanut is embarrassed about having been shocking Bino.
Inference: Now that he's back in, Peanut has forgiven Bino for throwing him out of the Good Ol Dogs Club.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/1 ... -reaction/

49) Peanut was going to give the remote for Bino's shock collar to Bino, but prefers not to have Bino angry with him.
Inference: Peanut prefers good relationships with the neighbors, and doesn't like causing even Bino pain.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/1 ... over-then/

50) Peanut hasn't been paying attention to Grape talking about the Pridelands.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/16/book-smarts/

51) Peanut apparently doesn't pay much attention to his surroundings when involved in something - which is often. Evidently his missing what Grape’s been talking about for a month is a fairly standard bit of behavior for him.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/1 ... cat-again/

52) Peanut likes complicated plots, and gets involved in books easily.
Inference: Peanut - and probably most of the other pets, since the Pridelands series is very popular with them - have no trouble keeping track of a remarkable number of details and some apparently-complex plots. More evidence that their memories are very good, and indirect evidence that their reasoning - even as adults - usually isn’t (or it’s hard to see why they don’t have a lot more rights as adults).
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/2 ... l-of-text/

53) Peanut bets unwisely with Grape. Again, remembering a lot of facts doesn’t add up to the ability to reason with them.
54) Peanut is still only getting a two-dollar-a-week allowance.
Inference: Peanut doesn’t really need much allowance - as demonstrated by the fact that he hasn’t spent at least five weeks worth of it. He probably gets most of his “allowance” in he form of new toys, batteries, and treats.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/2 ... the-drain/

55) Peanut obsesses over books easily.
Inference: Another case of being eage to collect facts, but not necessarily putting them together very well - or being able to clearly distinguish reality from fantasy. “I must know what happens...” is going a bit overboard when it’s simply a book - although you can see a lesser case of the same syndrome on the forums and comments here.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/2 ... s-madness/

56) Peanut reads with remarkable speed, and still recalls page numbers and details.
Inference: Pet memories may be near-eidetic. While this can cover for poor reasoning (especially when you can easily check extensive arguments , it will tend to lead to things like Bino dropping a tree on himself - and would neatly help explain why Pets aren’t more-or-less equal partners in civilization and why the Ferals - who show many of the same attributes - don’t really seem to have much of a culture of their own.
57) Peanut also has a hard time keeping his mouth shut about books he's just read. Again, a fine memory and little judgement.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/3 ... -mistress/

58) Peanut evidently hasn't been filled in about the details of the Sandwich family.
59) Peanut enjoys trips in general. Life in Babylon Gardens probably tends to be fairly routine most of the time - especially when compared to exciting books.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/06/08/no-excuses/

60) Peanut overplans, and worries about being bored.
Inference: he doesn’t find reviewing all the information already in his head much fun - yet video games can hold his interest. I’m more or less going to take the “Splendid memory, relatively poor reasoning and judgement” part as a given from now on, at least for the younger pets.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/06/1 ... childhood/

61) Peanut - at least when implicitly backed by his humans - feels comfortable defying other humans.
62) Peanut is fairly comfortable without his collar. Unlike Grape, this doesn’t make him feel abandoned. It’s likely that he never has been.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/06/1 ... ternative/

63) Peanut plays formal, as well as informal, RPG's.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/06/19/fast-learner/

64) Peanut feels that horses look delicious - and has no real qualms about telling them so.
Inference: Like the cats, the dogs of the Housepets universe have no real trouble with killing and eating other intelligent beings. While that's an inevitable feature of most talking-animal worlds - or at least those with carnivores - in housepets it seems to fall under the "it's just the way things are" convention, along with human dominance - a bit like Grapes noting (towards the end of the farm arc) that Maxwell might get himself hit by a car (poor judgement again), or Zach's "I hope you don't get eaten" in Oops, I Arced.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/0 ... your-food/

65) Peanut is definitely attracted to cats. He is also probably a late adolescent, and fairly easily shocked.
Inference: Given that Peanut is - judging from the Cast page - probably a bit past five at this point, this supports the notion that pets attain their adult size and musculature at three or so, but that sexual maturity is delayed another year or two.
Note: As noted under Graps, the farm cats don't seem to share the “city folk” prejudice against interspecies relationships. They’re probably also somewhat older than Grape.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/0 ... the-mouth/

66) Peanut still has a crush on Grape, and can be completely nonplused by suggestive situations.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/1 ... s-too-far/

67) Peanut doesn't know how to approach girls, and is looking for advice from Rufus.
Inference: Peanut is probably still at the "awkward adolescent" stage. Again, evidently this occurs considerably later for Housepets pets than for real ones.

68) Peanut is still deeply attached to Grape, even if she does want to go out with other cats.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/1 ... t-it-much/

69) Peanut watches The Learning Channel, and has at least minimal skills as a makeover artist.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/1 ... -fabulous/

70) Peanut has the classical "secret admirer" personality; he prefers seeing Grape happy to his own happiness. That’s a bit of a canine-loyalty stereotype, but there is some justification in wolf behavior, where less-dominant individuals help raise the offspring of the dominant pair rather than producing their own offspring.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/1 ... on-parade/

71) The first appearance of Tarot and their instant relationship.
Inference: Peanut may not know how to approach a canine girl - something his human “parents” probably either could not or never thought to teach him - but his instinctive responsive behaviors are quite normal. Considering the nature of the Housepets universe, there are probably some self-help or pet-owners-manual books available, but - considering the nature of the actual strip - such things aren’t too likely to be mentioned.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/2 ... -dramatic/

72) Peanut is exceptionally accepting of odd behavior patterns.
Inference: Like Fox with Bino, housepets dogs are willing to put up with a lot to fit into a group.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/3 ... l-do-that/

73) Peanut seems to have swapped his crush on Grape for a more acceptable relationship with Tarot quite quickly.
Inference: This is probably fairly normal. While the pets are all essentially human in most of the ways which really matter, and doubtless imprint on each other all the time, the ones who actually leave the most descendants are going to be the ones who easily re-orient to relationships within their own species when the opportunity presents itself.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/0 ... otherwise/

74) Peanut comes up with lots of ideas - and supplemental material for Adventures of Spot - but has a hard time organizing them.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/2 ... -probably/

75) Peanut apparently fails to recognize a normal wolf, despite visiting them at the zoo. Perhaps it's just the fact that this one is sitting on a couch and having tea and he simply has trouble separating the creature from the context.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/2 ... er-danger/

76) Peanut is well aware of the conventions of his world.
77) Peanut still romanticizes wolves somewhat, but is aware that actually meeting one might not be what he imagines.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/3 ... n-my-room/

78) Peanut also romanticizes the Feral life.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/0 ... t-speaker/

79) Peanut would like to see a real pack close up. Evidently he’s aware that the pack at the zoo really isn’t a good model for a “real pack”.
80) Peanut knows more about etiquette and human society than he believes he does. Evidently he’s underestimated just how much would appear alien to a complete outsider.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/1 ... e-forever/

81) Peanut is still good at alterations, even if he does get sarcastic about human fashions.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/1 ... han-human/

82) Peanut plays chess, and is familiar with at least a few of the standard openings.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/26/how-terrible/

83) Peanut does not know how to carve a pumpkin.
Inference: The Sandwiches may have regarded him as too young to give a knife to last year. Grape may be in a different category because - as a cat - she has blade on each finger anyway.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/28/punkin/

84) Peanut goes broomstick-riding with Tarot.
Inference: Either Tarot is using telekinesis to hold him up, or Peanuts sense of balance is pretty good.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/3 ... tch-plans/

85) Peanut joins the search party hunting for Zach, and seems to have a reasonably good sense of direction.
Note: Evidently the "wilderness" (or semi-wilderness) area is close by, and the pets feel free to visit it.
Inference: Pet-class cats and dogs are a great deal closer to being the top-echelon predators in Housepets than they are in reality - as is apparently borne out by Grapes scene with the raccoon a bit later. While this could also be explained by theories like "they aren't very bright and life is cheap", that sort of thing does not seem to fit the Housepets world.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/11/1 ... -favorite/

86) Peanut casually accepts telepathy as cool.
87) Peanut is easily distracted by cool things, to the point of forgetting or ignoring major warnings.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/11/23/so-cool/

88) Peanut is, for once, calmer than Grape - or more willing to listen to Tarot.
89) Peanuts logical skills has improved.
Inference: It's possible that - with Grape more skittish - he's had ro rely on his own thinking a bit more recently.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/12/0 ... christmas/

90) Peanut - along with most of the other dogs - is seriously taken aback by King's outburst.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/12/2 ... hed-socks/

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Peanut’s Possible Backstory:

What little we know about Peanuts background is mostly negative; he doesn’t seem to have abandonment issues, he doesn’t seem to have needed to function on his own, he finds visits to the vet a chore rather than something to fear, and there’s been no mention of any problems. Ergo...

Most likely, Peanut was adopted by the Sandwiches shortly after he was weaned, and thus went directly from being cared for by his biological mother to being cared for by the Sandwiches. The Sandwiches weren’t sure they were ready for children of their own, but thought that a puppy - which would grow up very quickly compared to a human child, needed substantially less care and attention, and represented far less of a financial and emotional commitment, would be a good way to try out parenting.
They - like many prospective “parents” in the Housepets universe - hadn’t quite realized just how emotionally adhesive a talking puppy would be, or given much thought to the fact that a dog - at least under current laws - was never really going to become “an adult” and move out like a human child. Of course, by the time they really thought about that, it was far too late.
Thus Peanut’s always been indulged and cuddled, with little to do but play. He’s never had to make any large decisions on his own, and thus tends to turn to others - his “parents” if possible, Grape, Fido, or another more decisive figure if his “parents” are not available - when the need for such a decision turns up or if any emergency arises.
Thanks to his remarkable reading speed, and voracious appetite for books, Peanut has a tremendous array of general facts at his disposal - but isn’t inclined to do that much with them except play. The Sandwiches adoption of Grape has given him someone new to play with, and - since cats tend to be more independent anyway, and Grape has had at least a bit of experience in making her own decisions - someone to turn to when his “parents” are not available, even if she is younger than he is.


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Responses:

None of the previous comments actually need to need much of a reply - although I would suggest that an updated cast page note the character’s approximate ages, owners, and a sentence or two about their pre-comic background. That way it will function nicely as a spoiler-free introduction to the comic.

And I, of course, would get another chunk or two of information to add here, because I am always looking for more puzzle-pieces.

Alternative speculations, other viewpoints, and notes on thing's I've missed are very welcome by the way. I try to be through, but I'm certainly going to miss things.

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Character Dossiers


Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:12 pm
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Next up we have Maxwell's dossier...

1) Maxwell is "Spying" on the Good Ol Dogs Club with Marvin - but is inattentive and gets trampled when the dogs rush out. Fortunately he's not seriously injured.
Inference: The cats probably have no comparable organization. This is later borne out by their having the Yarn Ball outside, rather than having a meeting hall like the Good Ol Dogs Club.
2) Maxwell has a chunk bitten out of his ear, neatly distinguishing him from the other cats.
Inference: Maxwell is probably a bit older, more experienced, and has had a rougher life than many of the other pets. He may have been an adopted stray.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/2 ... dog-thing/

3) Max apparently has a close relationship with Bino - unusual for a cat (OK, considering Bino, unusual for anyone). He also likes to harass Bino - which is more understandable.
4) Bino apparently feels that it's important to stay on good terms with Maxwell, and actually seems to considers his feelings - at least as an afterthought. It's likely that they have the same owner and thus Maxwell is Bino's pet-sibling.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/0 ... our-thing/

5) Maxwell distributed some or all of the invitations to the New Years Eve Yarn Ball. He may or may not be an organizer, but he is definitely far better connected with the neighborhood cats than Grape.
6) Max thinks that Grape is "the coolest cat I know" - but does not know that she is female. Comic-strip recognition rules continue to apply.
Inference: Given that Maxwell does seem to be well-connected it seems a bit odd that he doesn't have a date - unless he's willing to abandon whatever date he has in favor of one with Grape. It's possible that the strip perceptual filters, plus the "it's rude to ask rule" are interfering with the pets social lives - but it's equally likely that the neighborhoods population is biased towards males, at least as far as the cats go. That could be due to simple chance, or it could be intentional on the part of the human population; finding homes for a litter of kittens is likely to be a lot more difficult (and potentially guilt-producing) in the housepets universe than it is in reality.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/12/so-thats-a-no/

7) Maxwell seems to be at home, with Bino. They evidently are indeed pet-siblings.
8) Maxwell is all-too-familiar with Bino's tendencies and personality traits.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/1 ... aid-plans/

9) Bino gives Maxwell the cat treats that he was going to give to Peanut. It may be as an afterthought, but Bino actually does give Maxwell a present.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/2 ... s-edition/

10) Maxwell demonstrates that he knows most of the neighborhood cats.
11) Maxwell does not seem to realize that Joey is not actually a cat. Evidently he's NOT genre-savvy enough to get past the comic strip recognition rules.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/2 ... more-cats/

12) Maxwell knows how to dance. Not a major distinction.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/3 ... he-ritz-2/

13) Maxwell kept Grape up very late at the New Years Yarn Ball.
Inference: Their owners seem to mostly let the pets run their own social lives. The same seemed to be true “down on the farm”, so it may be a common feature of the world.
14) Maxwell probably does have access to catnip, at least on special occasions. It seems unlikely that anyone else would be giving it to Grape while she was accompanying him.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/01/0 ... t-a-crime/

    This non-canon strip was pulled due to it's "drug use" implications and the "smoking catnip" theme, and the effects of catnip in housepets were apparently toned down to approximate the effects of alcohol in humans (and real-life catnip on cats).
    Catnip was implied to be fairly readily available through quasi-underground dealers. Given that it also seems to be available in canon (as per "We're not allowed to sell that to pets") to any human who wants to buy it, that seems understandable, if unnecessary.
    Maxwell apparently got four pounds of catnip for Christmas. That’s rather a lot; it would certainly last our cats quite awhile.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/wp-conten ... thdraw.png

15) Maxwell appears on a sardonic greetings card. This probably isn't indicative of either a modeling contract or of anything but author whimsy.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/02/1 ... otty-line/

16) Maxwell - like many other cats - is a Pridelands fan.
17) Maxwell also does his research on the Internet. Whether or not he has unfiltered access remains unknown.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/2 ... l-of-text/

18) Maxwell is willing to do dangerous stunts - such as pretending to shout out spoilers at a fan gathering for a new book release - for a mere five dollars.
Inference: Either Maxwell is trying to impress Grape, is something of a daredevil, or he doesn't normally get much cash, or two or more of those. The fact that the Mr Bigglesworths are all fans, but their “Mom” will only get them one copy - and they can't buy their own - would support the notion that being short of cash is true of many or most pets (with the notable exception of the Milton Ferrets).
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/2 ... the-drain/

19) Maxwell does not open the door for visitors; instead he just informs his "dad", Jake.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/04/2 ... -violence/

20) Grape - worried about being considered a dog-lover - makes a date with Maxwell. He evidently finds this a very exciting prospect.
Inference: Maxwell is either very interested in Grape or simply cannot find any other dates.
21) Grape also advises Maxwell to "try not to get hit by a car in the meantime".
Inference: Housepets pets often have sufficiently poor judgement to be at risk of most of the same kinds of accidents that pets are at risk of in the real world.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/1 ... t-nothing/

22) Maxwell - now that he knows and Grape's eyelashes are combed out - can easily recognize that Grape is female (and likes the look). Comic book recognition strikes again.
23) Maxwell has brought flowers. Either he’s going all-out, or he’s raided someone’s garden or both.
24) Maxwell is well aware that Grape dislikes Bino, and is not above exploiting his "siblings" accident to amuse his date.
Inference: Maxwell only tolerates Bino, he doesn’t really like him much - although that is quite understandable.
25) Maxwell is unwilling to promise not to keep Grape out past midnight this time. Evidently “out late” is a normal feature of feline dates.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/1 ... on-parade/

26) Maxwell has selected a "semi-formal resturant" which serves trash.
Inference: “Real” cat-oriented restaurants probably don’t exist, and this “restaurant” is probably either an attempt by the cats to make some pretense of independence from humans, simple comic strip convention, or both.
27) Maxwell is willing to double-date if it will make Grape more comfortable. Evidently he’s much more interested in a long-term relationship than in the results of a single date.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/1 ... kill-cafe/

Note: Rick is lampshading the "inability to tell which sex each other are" gag again.
28) Maxwell uses fake coughs to cover up awkwardness.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/1 ... lications/

29) Maxwell recognizes that most of the pets relationships are rather odd.
Inference: Maxwell is probably old enough to have an outside standard of comparison.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/2 ... e-corners/

30) Unsurprisingly, Maxwell would prefer to have a full date with Grape, rather than cutting it short.
31) Maxwell has somehow managed to obtain advanced tickets to Hunters of the Pridelands for his date.
Inference; Given that these are - judging by the apparent populatity of the Pridelands series - considered quite valuable and therefore hard to come by, Maxwell has evidently gone to a great deal of trouble and effort to impress Grape.
32) In contrast to most of Bino's plans, Maxwell's plan does indeed work - he establishes a relationship with Grape and has a nice date. Who is rubbing off on who is hard to say.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/2 ... ou-say-so/

33) Either Jake occasionally locks Maxwell out of the house when he's out too late - (apparently most of the neighbors don't either install pet doors or give their pets keys) OR Maxwell is taking advantage of the rain to try a sympathy ploy.
Inference: Presuming this is a genuine problem, evidently Bino won't let Maxwell in either. That’s unkind if he’s awake, but is hardly out of character as long as he’s either obeying Jake or can pretend to be sound asleep.
Speculation: Since Maxwell did not answer the door either, Jake does not want the “kids” answering the door.
Speculation: From Jake’s immediate, and violent, reaction to someone from PETA, he may have had trouble with PETA before - which might explain why he does not want his pets opening the door for anyone, including each other.
Note: Judging by the for-the-benefit-of-the-reader little heart icons, Maxwell is sincerely fond of Grape, and the feeling is at least somewhat mutual.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/0 ... otherwise/

34) Maxwell takes Grape out in costume for Halloween. Whether it's to a party or for Trick-or-Treating is unknown - but the outdoor setting, having invited Peanut and Tarot, and the pets-as-kids motif, suggests trick-or-treating.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/3 ... tch-plans/

35) According to the cast page, Maxwell is snarky, caustic, eggs Bino on, derives his energy from being annoying, and is still - somehow - friends with all the cats in the neighborbood. It's possible that this is, at least in part, derived from his interactions with Bino, who seems likely to bring out the obnoxious side of almost anyone.

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A possible history for Maxwell:

OK, this is based purely on inference - we basically know nothing about Maxwell’s history - so I’m going with “exciting, fits the (few) known facts, and has lots of interesting future story possibilities” (thus the conflict with PETA, the street connections, and the involvement with the Ferals - all good for possible future stories). Who knows? Some bits of this may even fit in with whatever Rick actually has in mind.

Maxwell was either abandoned as a kitten, or born a stray, and survived on his own for some time before being picked up by Animal Control. Jake - who is more than a bit fierce and combative himself - took a liking to the feisty young cat and adopted him (at least partially because he could probably take care of himself against Bino).

Bino was not entirely pleased to have another rival, but at least this one was a cat and not another dog. Still, Maxwell's arrival didn't help a bit with Bino's "Rampant Zoning Issues". Of course, just like human siblings, pet-siblings tend to wind up accommodating each other. It’s not like they really have a lot of choice about it.

Things went fairly well for a time - until Maxwell unwisely answered the door for a PETA loony, and got snatched. Fortunately for him, he was simply dumped in the woods a long ways away, and made it home little the worse - except for the bite out of his ear. Since then, however, he's taken good care to obey Jake's restrictions on opening up the doors for ANYONE.

These days Maxwell tries to stay on top of what's going on in the neighborhood, and to maintain a good network of connections on the streets, with the local ferals, and among the other pets. If something happens again, he wants to have friends and allies available to fall back on - and the resources that offers him often come in useful. It was some of Maxwell’s catnip that Bino used in his little birdie-trap gift, and was his contacts that allowed him to come up with those advance tickets to Hunters of the Pridelands. Those resources don't include much in the way of cash - he's as short on that as most of the other pets are - but favors are often nearly as good when dealing with other animals.

Lately he's become especially attracted to Grape. Even before he knew she was female, he knew that she was one of the most sensible (at least potentially), rational, and pragmatic cats in the neighborhood, all qualities he values a lot in a friend, especially in comparison to Bino. He can't resist being a bit manipulative - he's had too many bitter experiences to be entirely candid in his relationships - but he's not malicious about it.


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Character Dossiers


Last edited by Thoth on Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:58 pm
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Oh wow, even if your inferences are wrong, I just realized that I have ALOT in common with Maxwell, and want to see more of him...

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Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:10 pm
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
I have to admit, it never occurred to me that MAxwell might've been abducted from PETA once until you mentioned that Maxwell was told not to open doors. such a simple task of opening doors could've been something like PETA would do, and i originally thought it was cat courtesy to not open front doors, but recently recall Grape opened a front door. @_@

what a amusing find indeed...

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Spo’s dossier is relatively short compared to some of the others... On the other hand, as a mouse, and one of the characters who’s NOT a dog or cat, he provides some interesting insights.

1) Spo was caught by either Sabrina or her (undisclosed) owner after - apparently - being spotted by said owner.
2) Spo has no compunctions about making jokes at the expense of large predators who have ALREADY trapped him. Whle they do seem benign at the moment, it's bard to believe that he doesn't know that they could change their minds at any time.
Inference: Spo is not nearly cautious enough for a small mouse - unless he's deliberately gambling on befriending a large protector.
Inference: Spo's "voice" can be clearly heard through a box, and is apparently at normal conversational levels for a dog, cat, or human. This could simply indicate that the Pets have very good ears, or that mouse voices are unexpectedly loud, or perhaps pet "voices" are - like the Dolphin "voices" in the zoo arc - partially the result of projective telepathy adding details and overtones to the sounds they produce.
    Speculation: A limited telepathic ability might account neatly for a number of factors - the use of human actors to portray the creatures in the Pridelands movies (telepathy would not record), why the horses in the farm arc imply that horses don't get to talk on television or in movies and so get portrayed as "bicycles" (telepathy won't broadcast or record), the assumption (also from the farm arc, by Grape's "Mom") that mental traits can be passed on to pets, the ability of the zoo animals that are behind glass to talk to the visitors, the occasional appearance of emotional indicators and the rapid development of relationships (the animals occasionally broadcast emotions), the extremely rapid development of "linguistic skills", the variances in vocabulary, why Karl-Lenin Faust's "Oration far exceeds my writing skills", why most of the animals don't really seem to be good at lying directly, the widespread familiarity with human culture - even among the Ferals - and the fact that all the Ferals seem to speak English. It would not account for the female otter in the zoo arc apparently speaking another language - unless she (1) is intentionally doing so to indicate how upset she is, (2) it's a humor-based anomaly, or (3) she simply imprinted on the dominant language of the area where she was born and raised.
    Speculation: If there is indeed a telepathic factor in pet language, this may help explain why they can be such good readers, and yet seem to be fairly poor authors. It would also help explain why Tarot is not in a lab and is so readily accepted; telepathy isn't too abnormal; she's simply exceptionally good at it. Similarly, it would help explain why pet relationships so often mirror human complications, why they can be satisfactory even if nonphysical (such as Joey and Squeak), and how humans can treat the sapient animals of the housepets universe as normal animals without being fundamentally monstrous; most of them will simply believe that the animals are mirroring them.
    Note: Judging by the response from Rick, this particular hypothesis is too off the wall (and, come to think of it, wouldn't work with Grape on the phone in the farm arc too well); I'll have to settle for "Pets have really good ears" as an alternative and try to account for some of the items above in some other fashion
Note: Fido may still be concealing his relationship with Sabrina from the other dogs, but it seems pretty obvious that quite a lot of the local Ferals know about it.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/02/16/ohh-diss/

3) Spo seems to be familiar with human culture. Possibly another argument for telepathy.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/02/1 ... mebreaker/

4) Spo is small, even for a mouse.
5) Spo can be sensible, even if it takes direct threats to his life to bring it out.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/02/20/compensation/

6) Spo prefers grains to cheese. Of course, too much cheese is actually very bad for mice.
7) Spo was indeed the runt of his litter.
Speculation: This may reminded Fido of Joey, and pulled up some old protective tendencies.
8) Mice evidently have rather large families. The simplest translation of "SPO" would make him (19 x 26 x 26) + (16 x 26 ) + 15'th in his family - or 13,275'th. This seems unlikely - a single mother mouse can have a lot of descendants very quickly, but that's because her offspring start having kids quickly, not because she produces thousands. Presumably mouse "Famalies" are actually sizeable clans or - perhaps - are designated by geography rather than blood. That would mean that most of the mice of Babylon Gardens would be of the same “family”.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/02/2 ... er-charge/

9) Spo is aware of the Babylon Gardens taboo against interspecies relationships - at least as far as the dogs are concerned.
10) Spo does not see much difference between K-9 units and human policemen. Of course, from the point of view of a Feral - who has no rights in either case - there isn't much difference.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/02/2 ... y-who-who/

11) Spo is subject to motion sickness.
Note: Nausea apparently shows through fur as blushes do. The strip reality continues to follow artistic conventions.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/0 ... bike-ride/

12) Spo gets lonely, and likes having a friend.
13) Spo is aware of the oddity of having animal cops with such limited authority.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/0 ... nfessions/

14) Spo has claustrophobia. This provides a good explanation of why he was spotted anyway; he may be too reluctant to hide properly.
15) Spo is a bit insecure. That's probably a way of life for small prey animals however.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/03/0 ... e-the-box/
Note: I get the impression that Spo is rather appalled at the burning building here - but he has no dialogue and the image is very small, so "impression" is as far as it goes.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/04/1 ... good-year/

16) Spo seems to have gotten pretty good at hanging on to Fido - and has apparently gotten over his motion sickness.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/05/0 ... character/

17) Spo has apparently been watching police dramas, and has begun to regard riding along with Fido as the equivalent of an action movie he can participate in.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/05/2 ... at-driver/

18) Spo likes watching violence, and regards toning it down - or departing from the dramatics in favor of dry legalities and procedures - as "ruining it".
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/05/2 ... -mixed-up/

19) Spo is apparently acting as a narrator for Fido's feelings. They're pretty obvious of course, but this could be taken as support for the "telepathy" hypothesis.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/05/2 ... ood-crowd/

20) Spo apparently finds it hard to see how deeply conflicted humans can be.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/05/2 ... nd-humans/

21) Spo is still sensible enough to want to retreat - urgently - form predators who AREN'T friends of his.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/2 ... -cant-buy/

22) Spo apparently does not get taken along on dates.
Note: This may have been because the “restaurant” was primarily a cat hangout, but most of the cats seem civilized enough to refrain from eating someone’s companion. Jinx certainly doesn’t seem worried about it. Fido might have been wiser to bring a chaperone, but it probably wouldn’t have had any effect on Sasha if Grape’s presence, and being in a public place, didn’t.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/2 ... -smooches/

23) Spo has acquired tiny sunglasses to go with the police dogs.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/1 ... stigation/

24) Spo does not know about "Zoning Issues", despite spending a great deal of time with Fido.
Note: Spo does seem quite familiar with human culture. Possibly this is an aspect of canine behavior that Fido just does not want to think or talk about, and so Spo hasn't picked up on it.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/11/1 ... oth-start/

25) Spo apparently finds Tiger and (especially) Bino as infuriating as everyone else does.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/11/1 ... oth-start/

26) Spo apparently was not taken along to the dogs Christmas party either.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/12/2 ... hed-socks/

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Possible History. Please note that this is - again - quite speculative. It’s also rather short: even if we assume that Housepets mice have double or triple their real-world life expectancy, that still isn’t very long - and, since Spo is a recurring character, presumably it will be a few years in the comic before he dies of old age. Ergo, he’s probably pretty young.

Spo was the runt of the litter. He soon developed a dislike for dark, confined, places and a fondness for exploring simply because - whenever he tried to get back into his mother’s tight and well-hidden nest - he got picked on by his siblings.
Being a weirdo as well as a runt didn’t make him many friends amongst the other mice, and his reluctance to squeeze himself out of sight on a moments notice soon led to him being spotted around the house by Sabrina’s owner.
Naturally enough, he called on his cat to get rid of the mouse. Disliking killing things, Sabrina did so by passing Spo on to Fido - and the pair found themselves unusually compatible. Fido kept Spo around instead of simply relocating him.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Replies:

GameCobra wrote:
I have to admit, it never occurred to me that MAxwell might've been abducted from PETA once until you mentioned that Maxwell was told not to open doors. such a simple task of opening doors could've been something like PETA would do, and i originally thought it was cat courtesy to not open front doors, but recently recall Grape opened a front door. @_@

what a amusing find indeed...


Well, it’s pretty speculative - but I do try to make sure that the "possible histories" are as plausible as possible.

And for Rockstar Raccoon: It would be nice to see more Maxwell wouldn’t it? Of course, I’m greedy; I’d like more appearances and information on pretty much every character...

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Character Dossiers


Last edited by Thoth on Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:35 am, edited 3 times in total.



Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:53 am
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Quote:
Possibly pet "voices" are - like the Dolphin "voices" in the zoo arc - partially the result of projective telepathy.


You're reaching!

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Oh yes - but it could be stretched to account for a number of items - and "pets have really good ears" wasn't as much fun!

-And so noted...

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The box had holes on it! As for him being smaller - I don't know about you but I find those with dwarfism, for example, are not necessarily harder to hear. It's not quite the same thing, but it's possible that all it means is that they're higher in pitch!

At the same time, he seems to always be relatively close to Fido's ears! Maybe the other pets can't hear Spo? It would better explain why Fox thought Fido was arguing with himself!

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
These are just things that I found and thought I would add my two cents. Know I don't mean to antagonize, it's just I also like to do character analysis as well but just don't try to delve too deep into it like you do, keeping in mind many things and that some were probably done just so the joke makes sense. (Don't stop what your doing though I like what you do!)

Quote:
Fido may still be concealing his relationship with Sabrina from the other dogs, but it seems pretty obvious that quite a lot of the local Ferals know about it.


Or it could be Spo simply overheard him saying "Of all the cats in the world and I had to fall in love with the only one who doesn't enjoy causing pain."

I'm pretty sure Sabrina isn't a gossip. In fact she hardly has any lines at all for a recurring side character.

Quote:
Spo seems to be familiar with human culture. Possibly another argument for telepathy.


Speculation on my part but it's also possible that Sabrina's owner also plays D&D which is why Spo would know what a dork would be like. It might also explain how Fido and Sabrina met in the first place.

Quote:
Spo is aware of the Babylon Gardens taboo against interspecies relationships - at least as far as the dogs are concerned.


We're pretty sure that this isn't a Babylon Gardens taboo as it is a universal. The farm cats talk about this issue lightly but it does make sense if you think about it. (Probably just a poor choice of words but felt like pointing this out, sorry.)

Quote:
Spo is aware of the oddity of having animal cops with such limited authority.


I don't think it's an oddity as much as humans don't treat animals all that differently from this world and theirs. Except we treat ours like babies they treat theirs like...well more like children I guess. They get toys, they...CAN eat regular foods, (Though throughout the comic Grape and Peanut seem to be the only ones to do so...), but they still don't have as much freedom.
Edit:Oh and Tiger also eats cookies and pizza. How could I forget him?

Quote:
I get the impression that Spo is rather appalled at the burning building here - but he has no dialogue and the image is very small, so "impression" is as far as it goes.


I don't think he's appalled so much at the burning building as more thinking "These dogs are insane."

Quote:
Spo is apparently acting as a narrator for Fido's feelings. They're pretty obvious of course, but this could be taken as support for the "telepathy" hypothesis.


No he's not. Spo is not narrating anything nor does this support telepathy. He's just being a wise-crack.

Quote:
Spo apparently was not taken along to the dogs Christmas party either.


Well I wouldn't take a mouse to a dog's club either.

Also. Max being abducted by the PETA is VERY speculative since there seems to be nothing at all to suggest this.

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Our next Dossier is for Sasha...

1) Sasha doesn't actually appear here, but this strip does establish that she can't spell very well, is more than a bit forward, and that she wants to spend some personal time with Fido.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/09/01/a-breed-apart/

2) Sasha is helping decorate for Fido's party, and regards Fido as very important.
Inference: Since the party is being put together by the Good Ol Dogs Club, Sasha is probably a member in good standing and was fairly likely to have been at the meeting.
3) Sasha does have some sympathy for Bino, and may have a relationship of some sort with him. This makes her next statement - indicating that she values Bino for his relationship with Fido - even more of a low blow.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/09/0 ... ne-to-ask/

4) Sasha attempts to reason with Bino. Given that she's the one who just set him off, this seems unlikely to work.
5) Sasha is familiar with Bino's tendency to rant, and is personally concerned enough to try and help.
6) Sasha does not know the difference between imported "Toilet Water" and water from a toilet.
Inference: Housepets dogs do - at least sometimes - drink from the toilet.
Note: This is actually not as bad as is usually believed; sinks actually do tend to be far dirtier and germ-infested than toilets. On the other hand, it’s never been referenced again, so it may be just a standard “dog” joke.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/09/1 ... e-to-make/

7) Sasha is trying to get Fido to look at her corrected "I want your puppies" sign.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/09/1 ... raise-you/

8) Sasha is "an item again" with Bino. Evidently she did, indeed, have a standing relationship with him before Fido's party.
9) Sasha is "over being flush for” Fido.
10) Sasha is thinking about the possibility that preying mantises are alien probes, rather than the person she's with.
Inference: Sasha is none too mentally focused.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/11/14/deep-thoughts/

11) Sasha appears in a single rather sad panel: evidently her owner doesn't pay much attention to her "I love you daddy" and asks her to fetch him a beer.
Inference: The finer font size seems to imply that "I love you daddy" is a quiet statement. Her "daddy" may not be particularly receptive to such sentiments - at least when he hasn't found any human affection.
Inference: Sasha may do rather more in the way of household chores, and with less reward, than most of the other pets.
Note: Reader response at the time indicated that the common assumption was that Sasha's owner used her in attempts to pick up girls - partially on the theory that her idea of how to handle relationships (which isn't very good) might be modeled on his. This has recently been more-or-less confirmed, although it was an inference at the time.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/2 ... s-edition/

12) Sasha appears on a rather confused greeting card. The confused message might be taken to imply that Sasha also tends to lose track of a train of thought in the middle.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/02/1 ... otty-line/

13) Sasha is participating in the Good Ol Dogs Club Easter Egg Hunt. Evidently she’s still a member in good standing, as might be expected with her connection to Bino.
14) Sasha may have tried to use left over eggs for "bonus points" before.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/04/1 ... e-meeting/

15) Sasha is out for a walk and waving to Daisy.
Inference: Given that the theme of these scenes seems to be "happy pets with their owners", this may indicate that Sasha is out for a walk with her owner. It might also be an ironic suggestion that Sasha could use some help, giving Fatty a tiny bit of accidental truth in his rant.
Speculation: Daisy's mom may be single, in which case Sasha would be out doing her “job” of trying to get her owner acquainted with women.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/04/2 ... ery-naive/

16) Sasha concludes that Peanuts latest issue of "Spot Superdog" is about her and for her. Evidently she is somewhat inclined to focus on superficial details - and to relate everything to herself.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/06/0 ... s-of-spot/

17) Sasha remembers Grape as "that cat that likes dog biscuits"/
18) Sasha is chasing Fido again, in part because Bino - sick in bed - is no fun on a date. She actually told him so.
Note: Kicking Bino when he’s already in the hospital seems a bit cruel, even if it is Bino. Personally, I hope he was unconscious.
19) Sasha didn't tell Fido about breaking a date with Bino to be with him.
20) Sasha is rather blatantly trying to seduce Fido again.
Inference: Sasha's “commitment” to Bino is pretty much a thing of convenience.
Speculation: If Sasha has learned this behavior pattern from her "dad", be may not be a very good example.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/2 ... -smooches/

21) Sasha mistakes King for a cat. Evidently she is still going by superficial impressions.
22) Sasha apparently is concerned about King, and feels that having company is always nice.
23) Sasha does quietly accept being rejected.
Inference: Sasha may be quite used to having her attempts to come along being rejected.
24) Sasha also quietly accepts being locked out in freezing weather "cause I didn't get him any babes at the party" - followed up by the excuse (for her owner) that "I think he just forgets when he's mad".
Inference: This pretty much eliminates the doubt from last Christmas: Sasha's "Daddy" doesn't seem to care about her, and instead is simply using her as a lure for picking up women. Given that example, Sasha's own tendency to go back to Bino whenever another attempt to pick up Fido fails becomes more understandable. Somewhat reprehensible - no matter how bad Bino is, treating him that way is rather unkind - but understandable. It may be the same sort of treatment that she’s used to.
25) Sasha is extremely determined to make the best of any situation.
Inference: Sasha doesn't often have any unalloyed pleasures, attention, or affection, and has learned to make the best of whatever she can get.
Inference: Sasha may not pay much attention to what’s going on because - all too often - paying attention has been emotionally painful for her.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/12/2 ... ace-to-go/

According to the cast page Sasha is a ‘flavor of the week’ kind of girl, and her relationship with Bino depends on his current standing with the neighborhood dogs and whether or not she feels like it. She does, at least, make it very obvious that Bino is a second choice.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Possible Backstory for Sasha:

There isn’t actually much to account for here: it seems reasonably likely that Sasha’s owner got her from a pet store so that he could use the cute puppy as a prop for picking up women. Sasha, like many neglected children, has resorted to attempting to “earn” her “Daddy’s” affection - and to trying to find affection wherever she can. She keeps returning to Bino because he’s desperate enough to accept that sort of treatment and her apparent air-headed optimism is mostly a defense mechanism; if she’s not paying attention, it makes it a lot easier to overlook the emotional abuse and general neglect her “Daddy” subjects her to. Hence she’s become the strips poster-dog for neglected pets, doing more around the house for less reward than any of the other pets.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Responses:

For Ebly:

Ebly wrote:
The box had holes on it! As for him being smaller - I don't know about you but I find those with dwarfism, for example, are not necessarily harder to hear. It's not quite the same thing, but it's possible that all it means is that they're higher in pitch!

At the same time, he seems to always be relatively close to Fido's ears! Maybe the other pets can't hear Spo? It would better explain why Fox thought Fido was arguing with himself!


Oh, quite possible. I was assuming normal conversational volume because Rick apparently used the "small voice" font before (the first Christmas strip with Sasha) to convey reduced volume.

Now, I have kept mice (and gerbils. I never liked hamsters though: I left those to my sister), and their volume isn't much. Not to mention all the problems with voiceboxes and frequency ranges... On the other hand, the assumption of "Good Ears" and "Usually being close to them" also works, especially with Fox not hearing Spo. Pending further information, I suppose I'll just have to chalk up the other problems to comic conventions or world laws. I kind of hate to do that - it's no fun - but I don't have enough information for another theory right now.

Once I get done with the rest of the characters (it's going faster as I get to the ones with fewer appearances) I'll start updating for strips that went up after the posts and editing in the suggestions. Thank you for some good ones.

For ndigit:

ndigit wrote:
Or it could be Spo simply overheard him saying "Of all the cats in the world and I had to fall in love with the only one who doesn't enjoy causing pain."

I'm pretty sure Sabrina isn't a gossip. In fact she hardly has any lines at all for a recurring side character.


I was basing the notion that "quite a lot of the local ferals know about it" on the list of them that Fido has apparently taken in at Sabrina's request, nursed back to health, and released; it seems pretty likely that a fair percentage of them know that something is up; presumably most cats wouldn't hand them over to a mysteriously-obliging dog to be nursed back to health and set free. Secondarily, of course, there's direct observation by mice, birds, and other creatures. Sabrina gossiping is not required.

ndigit wrote:
We're pretty sure that this isn't a Babylon Gardens taboo as it is a universal. The farm cats talk about this issue lightly but it does make sense if you think about it. (Probably just a poor choice of words but felt like pointing this out, sorry.)


As far as the "interspecies relationship" taboo goes... Our actual sources on it are pretty sparse. What we have consists of:

1) Grapes opinion that drawing a dog with a cats tail is "just sick".
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/1 ... od-artist/

2) Bino thinks that "Cat lovers are really weird".
3) Fox and Rex - as usual at this point - echo him. Fox may or may not be being sarcastic, and there's no evidence of whether or not Fox and Rex actually care.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/1 ... ne-either/

4) Grape thinks that "Okay, so Joey is strange. That's the kind of reputation that pets that look outside their own species get" - and apparently feels that being strange leads to becoming stranger.
5) On the other hand, Grape also states that she might have overreacted.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/0 ... -for-dogs/

6) Grape states that "In time they'll come to accept it".
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/0 ... a-nowhere/

7) As far as the barn cats go; they stated that Peanut was "cute" and got rather suggestive towards him. If there is a general taboo, they certainly don’t seem too worried about it.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/0 ... the-mouth/

8) This barn cat seems to find the notion that grape was worried about the "cat lover" and "dog lover" notion "cute". She may or may not have been mocking the entire idea of such a taboo, but she certainly doesn’t seem to take it seriously.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/1 ... g-reasons/

9) The alt-text notes that Rufus thought that Peanut was wanting to approach the Collie next door - but at this point he probably knows that Peanut retreated from the barn cats in confusion (they're all friends and share the barn; somehow I suspect that he got the word), and might be assuming that - since Peanut lives with Grape - if he was interested in her, he would have approached her long ago. No real evidence either way.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/1 ... -occasion/

10) In this strip we find that Fido is keeping his relationship with Sabrina secret from the other dogs - although he certainly made it obvious enough to Spo.
11) The humans apparently think that interspecies relationships are cute, but Fido states that revealing that he was involved in such a relationship would compromise the loyalty of the other dogs. It’s hard to tell if that’s general support for the “Taboo” idea or not. Fido isn't the most perceptive person around. Of course, it would certainly compromise what little loyalty he gets from Bino...
12) Of the other pets we have some information on, Peanut and Joey certainly have no problems with it. Bino does - but Fox and Rex simply went along with Bino without actually expressing an opinion. Grape may disapprove in theory - but is willing to ignore it and hangs out with dogs a lot.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/02/2 ... y-who-who/

13) Of course, here we find that Grape is apparently attracted to a human actor. Evidently that’s embarrassing, but not taboo.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/25/dear-tabby/

14) As far as actual and attempted relationships in the strip go, we have:
Joey and Squeak; Dog and Mouse.
Fido and Sabrina: Dog and Cat.
Peanuts one-sided crush on Grape. Dog and Cat.
Bino and Sasha. Dog of convenience and Dog. I wouldn't call it a very normal relationship myself. In fact, given the way Sasha keeps dumping Bino - and Bino's evident desperation - I don't think I'm going to count it.
Sashas one-sided attempt at Fido.
Peanut and Tarot: After Peanut and Grape didn't work out. Dog and Dog. Still not very normal though.
Miles and Lucretia: Pets only legally, and Feral. Still, at least it's Wolf and Wolf.
Grape and Maxwell: Our first "normal" pet couple.

15) We have glimpsed four additional possible relationships, but we don't have enough information to be sure:

A pair of cats are glimpsed, apparently on a troubled date. We don't actually know if they're a couple though; from what little we see, it looks like the date fell through.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/1 ... kill-cafe/

The Mr Bigglesworths can't tell each other apart. Evidently this was intended to be a date, but it certainly isn't a stable relationship.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/1 ... lications/

Jasper, "Girlfriend Cat", and Jinx - a Tom-and-Jerry reference - appear here. Actual status as a "couple" is doubtful, at least going by the "Tom and Jerry" precedents.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/2 ... e-corners/

Finally, here we have two of the Mr Bigglesworths, who may be cuddling behind the couch. That may or may not mean anything. They might be a couple, close siblings, or simply be playing. There’s not enough information to tell.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/06/0 ... l-of-them/

So: we have a grand total of five confirmed and reasonably stable relationships - Joey and Squeak, Fido and Sabrina, Peanut and Tarot, Miles and Lucretia, and Grape and Maxwell. That's two interspecies, one strange (Peanut and Tarot) but in-species, one Feral and in-species, and one fairly “normal” and in-species. That's 40% interspecies, or 50% if you consider the wolves as being outsiders to the pet community.

We have only three primary sources on the interspecies relationship taboo; Bino, Grape, and Fido.

For a “minimal taboo” theory... For all we actually know at the moment, Bino has some hint that Fido is in love with a cat - and resents Fido having a stable relationship when he certainly doesn't. Ergo his hatred of "Cat-Lovers". Still, Bino realizes at some level that undercutting Fido would undercut his own power base, ergo he takes it out on other "Cat Lovers". He could well have passed that disapproval on to Grape as a kitten, since he does live next door. Fido, meanwhile, could simply believe that the other dogs would feel that - being in love with a cat - his loyalties might be compromised as far as being the local canine leader goes.

I could stretch the evidence to support a global taboo just as well as I can stretch it the other way to blame it all on Bino - but there really isn't enough information available to make a really good case either way. Personally I would suspect on gene-transmission grounds that interspecies relationships are generally regarded as odd, but that - since they will not provoke human efforts are reproductive control - are probably pretty widespread. Pets get lonely too.

ndigit wrote:
Speculation on my part but it's also possible that Sabrina's owner also plays D&D which is why Spo would know what a dork would be like. It might also explain how Fido and Sabrina met in the first place.


Very possible on the D&D part; I shall add that to the speculations section once I get the main list done and go back to update and edit. I'm not sure we really need a reason for Fido and Sabrina to meet though; they both live in the same community after all, and it's presumably not all that enormous.

ndigit wrote:
I don't think it's an oddity as much as humans don't treat animals all that differently from this world and theirs. Except we treat ours like babies they treat theirs like...well more like children I guess. They get toys, they...CAN eat regular foods, (Though throughout the comic Grape and Peanut seem to be the only ones to do so...), but they still don't have as much freedom.
Edit:Oh and Tiger also eats cookies and pizza. How could I forget him?


As far as humans not treating animals that much differently from real animals, that's more or less the oddity; the police routinely work in tense and dangerous situations. The assistance of intelligent canines offers them a good many extra options - and they're apparently (from Fido's list of his training and responsibilities) not taking full advantage of them. Since failing to take full advantage of their options puts their lives at increased risk, that seems odd. Using creatures with no legal rights to deliver Miranda warnings - and therefore to collect evidence as witnesses if a suspect chooses to waive their right to remain silent or makes statements after the warning is delivered - is also rather odd; testifying on what a suspect says after the warning is a normal part of a court case; if pets have trouble testifying, or need other pets to back them up, this makes policework needlessly awkward.

Hm... As "Food" goes, as you noted, Tiger gets to have pizza and cookies. Rex bakes cookies (and presumably eats at least some of them). Grape and Peanut do have their own table with their own dishes, but eat with the family at least on special occasions (Thanksgiving Strip) and have free access to the soda and ice cream (needed to make rootbeer floats). The various dogs apparently usually bring dog biscuits/cookies to the Good Ol Dogs Club meetings. Bino has access to the pantry and the dog snacks/treats (from the first Christmas gift exchange), and Peanut has access to either a seriously specialized caterer/pinata maker or at least "four different kinds of tripe" (if he filled it himself). The Raccoons reference "looking for cat food", but there's no indication of what kind except for whatever they’re looking for NOT being currently sealed in a can (since they don’t know how to open those). Grape references eating the insides of cows during the farm arc. Grape also eats a mouse during mouse-mouse revolution. I'm not sure chocolate-covered espresso beans really count as "food". I seem to recall a reference to tea at some point, some pet (I think it was Peanut got) chocolate at Halloween, and there's Joey having a commercial cup of something at the bookstore during the Pridelands arc. There's Grape eating dog biscuits and Sasha serving "Toilet Water" during Fido's party. And then, of course, there's King getting fed dry dog kibble. Not much consistency there except for the dog biscuits/cookies.

ndigit wrote:
I don't think he's appalled so much at the burning building as more thinking "These dogs are insane."


I think we're just using different words for the same impression here. After all, dogs are at least implied to have set fire to the place somehow - and he's currently associating with them. I’d find looking at a burning building and knowing that the person I’m relying on at the moment was involved (and didn't see the problem) pretty appalling.

ndigit wrote:
No he's not. Spo is not narrating anything nor does this support telepathy. He's just being a wise-crack.


For "Spo narrating feelings", I got the impression that he was more-or-less saying what Fido would have liked to have said if he wasn't on duty. That is just an impression of course. Since Rick already noted that the telepathy hypothesis was reaching, I’ll gladly go with him simply being a smartass.

ndigit wrote:
Well I wouldn't take a mouse to a dog's club either.


Spo’s not being taken along to the dogs club is only "apparent" actually; I didn't see him on Fido's head, and he's not in the tags; that does not mean that he wasn't present "offscreen". That ones just an observation; Spo is usually with Fido these days.

ndigit wrote:
Also. Max being abducted by the PETA is VERY speculative since there seems to be nothing at all to suggest this.


And yes, Max being abducted by PETA is indeed very speculative; all of Maxwell's history entry was noted as "we basically know nothing about Maxwell’s history - so I’m going with “exciting, fits the (few) known facts, and has lots of interesting future story possibilities”
The possibility of trouble with PETA was based on
(1) Maxwell's owner's immediate reaction to a stranger saying "I'm with PETA" was to commit a criminal offence - Assault and Battery - which could easily result in jail time. This argues for some strong personal reason beyond "I've heard about PETA and they're a bunch of loons". This argues for some notable bit of backstory.
(2) The general rule that - in works of fiction - notable bits of backstory are generally attached to major characters - and the humans, and (for that matter) possible prior pets that they no longer own - are distinctly secondary. Ergo, the cause of such hostility was probably attached to either Bino or Maxwell.
(3) Bino, while a good character and foil, is generally disliked. Ergo, attaching some harrowing bit of backstory to him is fairly pointless in narrative terms. It's already been suggested in the comments on the Sinister Shadow arc that it would have been nice if PETA successfully swiped Bino. It also doesn't add much to the story possibilities; Bino already dislikes King and already has a personal link with Fox.
(4) Ergo, the inference of Maxwell's owner having some personal grudge against PETA winds up being attached to Maxwell - and offers the added bonus of providing reasons why he doesn't answer the door, couldn't get Bino to let him in at night, and for his having a damaged ear. This fulfills the general rule for inferring backstories - try to explain as many things as possible while introducing the minimum possible number of new elements.

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Character Dossiers


Last edited by Thoth on Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Thoth wrote:
(1) Maxwell's owner's immediate reaction to a stranger saying "I'm with PETA" was to commit a criminal offence - Assault and Battery - which could easily result in jail time. This argues for some strong personal reason beyond "I've heard about PETA and they're a bunch of loons". This argues for some notable bit of backstory.
(2) The general rule that - in works of fiction - notable bits of backstory are generally attached to major characters - and the humans, and (for that matter) possible prior pets that they no longer own - are distinctly secondary. Ergo, the cause of such hostility was probably attached to either Bino or Maxwell.
(3) Bino, while a good character and foil, is generally disliked. Ergo, attaching some harrowing bit of backstory to him is fairly pointless in narrative terms. It's already been suggested in the comments on the Sinister Shadow arc that it would have been nice if PETA successfully swiped Bino. It also doesn't add much to the story possibilities; Bino already dislikes King and already has a personal link with Fox.
(4) Ergo, the inference of Maxwell's owner having some personal grudge against PETA winds up being attached to Maxwell - and offers the added bonus of providing reasons why he doesn't answer the door, couldn't get Bino to let him in at night, and for his having a damaged ear. This fulfills the general rule for inferring backstories - try to explain as many things as possible while introducing the minimum possible number of new elements.

Given Fox implies a previous encounter, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole neighborhood knows of PETA. It would also fit just as well into all of those things and be more likely!

As fun as it may be to be wild, what I believe the point of speculation to be is not to see the extent of what you can get away with under currently known logic, but to try to come up with something decidedly believable and solid.

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Ebly wrote:
Given Fox implies a previous encounter, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole neighborhood knows of PETA. It would also fit just as well into all of those things and be more likely!

As fun as it may be to be wild, what I believe the point of speculation to be is not to see the extent of what you can get away with under currently known logic, but to try to come up with something decidedly believable and solid.


I'd expect that the entire neighborhood knows about PETA anyway; a great many people in the real world do, and - in the Housepets universe - they are likely to attract even more notice.

Second hand reports would probably suffice nicely for saying something nasty, slamming the door, and calling the cops. I can't see them sufficing for an immediate attack. While it varies with the jurisdiction, Assault and Battery - both clearly demonstratable here - can suffice for an unpleasant stint in prison.

Secondarily, it does account for some additonal its of information, which is always a plus. Alternative scenarios that will account for the available information are always interesting though. What's yours?

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Thoth wrote:
Ebly wrote:
Given Fox implies a previous encounter, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole neighborhood knows of PETA. It would also fit just as well into all of those things and be more likely!

As fun as it may be to be wild, what I believe the point of speculation to be is not to see the extent of what you can get away with under currently known logic, but to try to come up with something decidedly believable and solid.


I'd expect that the entire neighborhood knows about PETA anyway; a great many people in the real world do, and - in the Housepets universe - they are likely to attract even more notice.

Second hand reports would probably suffice nicely for saying something nasty, slamming the door, and calling the cops. I can't see them sufficing for an immediate attack. While it varies with the jurisdiction, Assault and Battery - both clearly demonstratable here - can suffice for an unpleasant stint in prison.

Secondarily, it does account for some additonal its of information, which is always a plus. Alternative scenarios that will account for the available information are always interesting though. What's yours?

Well really, it takes other people thinking deeply to get me thinking deeply, and I tend to not come up with ideas by myself, but more respond to them and make addenda. Either way this specific post isn't exactly deep thought, since it seems to me that the evidence to support this is all there. I'm assuming you don't need references given you seem to be particularly well-versed in the archives, but if you ask, I'll go delving and bring you some pretty little links.

So back on the subject we were thinking about, Fox is obviously a very likable character - I mean, even punchee Joel, as King, was very quick to trust him despite the history he's had with pets (though naturally his problem could more be with strays, given his pets were seemingly friendly with him before running away). It would not be anywhere near a stretch to say that the neighbors know of him and are friendly with him too! Also, the neighbors are perfectly able to be friends with other neighbors, but as you say they are secondary to the comic.

My thinking is that if Fox has been kidnapped by PETA in the past, not only would it have sent ripples through the other pets given his friendly status with them, but that the influence would have been extended to the owners - the neighbourhood is seemingly very closely knit, after all. Fox could potentially be friends with other owners, which would cause such an impression upon them, but more likely I think is the other pets' reactions impressing upon the other owners, and Fox's owners' reactions too!

As much as assault and battery is a serious crime, someone as well-liked as Fox being kidnapped is going to make a much larger splash than an alley cat, pet or not! And Fox's owner, being a police officer, would willingly turn a blind eye to a PETA member being punched by one of his neighbours, I'm sure. I wouldn't be surprised if he would have punched Joel himself!

I'm more the kind of person to suspend disbelief, say "rule of funny!", and leave it at that, but if I need I can try to explain things from my own point of view. x3

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Quote:
I'm not sure we really need a reason for Fido and Sabrina to meet though; they both live in the same community after all, and it's presumably not all that enormous.


Well it's just that I've noticed that the cats and dogs don't seem to mingle at all unless their living with each other or there is an emergency. Or if said cat just likes dog biscuits.

Quote:
So: we have a grand total of five confirmed and reasonably stable relationships - Joey and Squeak, Fido and Sabrina, Peanut and Tarot, Miles and Lucretia, and Grape and Maxwell. That's two interspecies, one strange (Peanut and Tarot) but in-species, one Feral and in-species, and one fairly “normal” and in-species. That's 40% interspecies, or 50% if you consider the wolves as being outsiders to the pet community.


Wolves being outsiders to a community does not make it inter species. It is interesting thought that Rick likes playing around with this taboo.

Quote:
For a “minimal taboo” theory... For all we actually know at the moment, Bino has some hint that Fido is in love with a cat - and resents Fido having a stable relationship when he certainly doesn't. Ergo his hatred of "Cat-Lovers". Still, Bino realizes at some level that undercutting Fido would undercut his own power base, ergo he takes it out on other "Cat Lovers". He could well have passed that disapproval on to Grape as a kitten, since he does live next door. Fido, meanwhile, could simply believe that the other dogs would feel that - being in love with a cat - his loyalties might be compromised as far as being the local canine leader goes.


Even with his prejudices Bino has shown no sign of knowing Fido's relationship with Sabrina. And besides that most existing prejudices today in our world are either generalized stereotypes or simply groundless in their reasoning. So it's not that strange to think that there are those conservatives like Bino who think that animals should only date within their own species. And we've seen from the other pets too not just Bino who share these thoughts. It's kinda like homosexuality. Not completely the same thing but the general concept does apply. Yes, pets do get lonely, but the prejudice is still there. Minimal taboo may be possible but I don't think it's not sociologically sound.

As far as Maxwell goes, I just figured he was a street cat from the city who was found and impounded. It would explain why he feels it necessary to keep connections with other cats and why he would need to spy on the dogs. He's street smart, he's clever, and has a quick wit. As a character he stands out a lot, as opposed to many of the other pets who I'm kinda sure grew up in the suburbs or the country, not the city.

Then again I'm also speculating much since none of this is evident in the comic itself. But that's what this thread is for I guess?

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
"Maxfield"? :P

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sounds like a long lost cousin of Maxwell!

A Dachshund with a Monocle: Maxfield, i dear old chap! I think they are onto us!
Maxfield With a Monocle: Indeed!... *takes a puff of his pipe*

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ndigit wrote:
Wolves being outsiders to a community does not make it inter species. It is interesting thought that Rick likes playing around with this taboo.


No one said it did; if so, that would have made the interspecies relationship percentage 60%. It's 50% if you consider the wolves as being outsiders to the pet community and therefore don't include them in the pet-relationship statistics.

ndigit wrote:
Even with his prejudices Bino has shown no sign of knowing Fido's relationship with Sabrina. And besides that most existing prejudices today in our world are either generalized stereotypes or simply groundless in their reasoning. So it's not that strange to think that there are those conservatives like Bino who think that animals should only date within their own species. And we've seen from the other pets too not just Bino who share these thoughts. It's kinda like homosexuality. Not completely the same thing but the general concept does apply. Yes, pets do get lonely, but the prejudice is still there. Minimal taboo may be possible but I don't think it's not sociologically sound.

As far as Maxwell goes, I just figured he was a street cat from the city who was found and impounded. It would explain why he feels it necessary to keep connections with other cats and why he would need to spy on the dogs. He's street smart, he's clever, and has a quick wit. As a character he stands out a lot, as opposed to many of the other pets who I'm kinda sure grew up in the suburbs or the country, not the city.

Then again I'm also speculating much since none of this is evident in the comic itself. But that's what this thread is for I guess?


    Edit - for some reason the quote button originally assigned this to Ebly. Probably too many nested quotes in the statement I was quoting. This should be fixed now.

Lets see...

As far as Bino knowing anything or suspecting (consciously or not) anything about Sabrina goes, that's simply a possible (and not required) motivation in a hypothesis that is specifically stated to be stretched to support an extreme position. To quote myself:

thoth wrote:
I could stretch the evidence to support a global taboo just as well as I can stretch it the other way to blame it all on Bino


That’s the point there: from what little evidence the strip presents, I could make a case for a global taboo, I could make a case for blaming it all on Bino, or I could make a plausible case for almost anything in between. Regardless of the position I choose, any inference based on a presumption - one way or the other - about said taboo is a great deal more doubtful. It is, however, evident from the strip that individual attitudes vary a lot.

What we’ve seen from the other pets is already linked above. It really isn’t very much - and, while it suffices to make statements about individual attitudes, I’d really hesitate to project anything to a global level from so few datapoints.

As for it being sociologically sound, in the comic we have a modern cow (selectively bred for productivity for the benefit of their owners), racing horses, several apparent dog breeds, and direct confirmation of at least three different dog breeds: Pomeranians, Corgis, and Australian Shepard. While the dog breeds could have originated as subraces, given that the apparent cow breed - at least - is highly adapted for human convenience, and the statements that Rick has made in the forums about domestication, evidently humans have indeed engaged in the selective breeding of various animals.

Primitive methods of enforcing selective breeding are not something that any sane individual would want applied to themselves. To avoid such enforcement and preserve a chance at having offspring in the future the two most likely courses are (1) avoiding close personal relationships, and (2) forming interspecies relationships.

Given that sociology is based on the tendencies of those creatures that successfully passed on their genes, it’s generally adapted to favor successful reproductive strategies. When it’s not, it’s maladaptive and generally doesn’t last - although many apparently maladaptive strategies turn out to be sound on closer inspection.

Avoiding close personal relationships is unlikely to work. Given that the pets are sapient, learned behaviors are likely to dominate later in life - so a habit of avoiding close personal relationships is likely to be counterproductive as far as producing offspring goes.

Given that, I’d expect exactly the behavior pattern observed in Peanut as an “average canine”: an adolescent crush on a female of another species, turning rapidly to an attraction to another canine as an opportunity arises.

Cats, as a species, have generally been subject to far less human intervention in their development than dogs; ergo, they would show such a tendency far less - which seems to fit Grape’s displayed behavior and the preponderance of possible cat couples noted in the earlier section on this topic.

I would also expect older pets to be somewhat scornful of the tendency; failure to grow out of that stage when an opportunity arises is - again - maladaptive.

Now, Rick could (1) have considered that sort of analysis, (2) simply be a good enough storyteller to have a good intuitive notion of “what fits”, or (3) simply be telling stories and not analyzing things so extensively, in which case we’re simply pulling non-existent correspondences from random data. (My personal impression is that Rick is good enough at this to support (2) or better, but that’s simply my impression). Regardless, I’d hope he finds the speculations interesting, or even suggestive of future possibilities for the comic; this sort of analysis is one of the more detailed forms of feedback that an author can get.

Finally, as far as Maxwell goes... the backstories are, of course, speculative; they’re the second half of this particular puzzle-game. First collect all the pieces you can, then try to fit them all together into a coherent picture with none of the pieces left out. As more pieces of information become available, you can refine your picture and - sometimes - you’ll even find that you got a missing piece right, which is always fun.

Ebly wrote:
So back on the subject we were thinking about, Fox is obviously a very likable character - I mean, even punchee Joel, as King, was very quick to trust him despite the history he's had with pets (though naturally his problem could more be with strays, given his pets were seemingly friendly with him before running away). It would not be anywhere near a stretch to say that the neighbors know of him and are friendly with him too! Also, the neighbors are perfectly able to be friends with other neighbors, but as you say they are secondary to the comic.

My thinking is that if Fox has been kidnapped by PETA in the past, not only would it have sent ripples through the other pets given his friendly status with them, but that the influence would have been extended to the owners - the neighbourhood is seemingly very closely knit, after all. Fox could potentially be friends with other owners, which would cause such an impression upon them, but more likely I think is the other pets' reactions impressing upon the other owners, and Fox's owners' reactions too!

As much as assault and battery is a serious crime, someone as well-liked as Fox being kidnapped is going to make a much larger splash than an alley cat, pet or not! And Fox's owner, being a police officer, would willingly turn a blind eye to a PETA member being punched by one of his neighbours, I'm sure. I wouldn't be surprised if he would have punched Joel himself!

I'm more the kind of person to suspend disbelief, say "rule of funny!", and leave it at that, but if I need I can try to explain things from my own point of view. x3


I think we’re just going to wind up differing on this one; liking the neighbor’s dog is one thing. Liking the neighbors dog well enough to take criminal actions against someone who is apparently associated with a group a member of whom committed an offense against that dog (that you might or might not have heard about) seems like its going a bit overboard. I’d still suspect a much more personal offence.

For a comparison, consider punching one of the religious door-to-door types; after all, you could easily claim that they were an imminent danger to your immortal soul - far worse than merely threatening your death - and both “self-defense” and “believing you were in danger” are normally excellent defenses. Sadly, neither hypothetical dangers nor past experiences with other people who belonged to a particular group are excuses for attacking people.

Secondarily, at that point where Joel says “I’m with peta”, could Jake really be sure that Joel wasn’t with the “Personnel Evaluation and Transport Agency”, or “Peta’s Landscaping”, or any of a dozen other groups? Second-hand offenses do not normally lead to people defaulting to violence.

Finally, if I was Bill, I don’t think I’d approve of the presumption that I would be willing to “turn a blind eye” to a reported offence. That would be a violation of his oath of office, have him engaging in conspiracy to conceal a crime, and would mean being derelict in his duty. Personally punching Joel or Fatty when he caught them petnaping his dog would be much more understandable, and - legally - much more excusable. Punching someone who’s just committed a notable offense is much easier to defend legally and ethically than punching someone who’s simply introduced themselves politely.

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Character Dossiers


Last edited by Thoth on Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:36 am, edited 2 times in total.



Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:13 pm
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Thoth wrote:
Ebly wrote:
Even with his prejudices Bino has shown no sign of knowing Fido's relationship with Sabrina. And besides that most existing prejudices today in our world are either generalized stereotypes or simply groundless in their reasoning. So it's not that strange to think that there are those conservatives like Bino who think that animals should only date within their own species. And we've seen from the other pets too not just Bino who share these thoughts. It's kinda like homosexuality. Not completely the same thing but the general concept does apply. Yes, pets do get lonely, but the prejudice is still there. Minimal taboo may be possible but I don't think it's not sociologically sound.

As far as Maxwell goes, I just figured he was a street cat from the city who was found and impounded. It would explain why he feels it necessary to keep connections with other cats and why he would need to spy on the dogs. He's street smart, he's clever, and has a quick wit. As a character he stands out a lot, as opposed to many of the other pets who I'm kinda sure grew up in the suburbs or the country, not the city.

Then again I'm also speculating much since none of this is evident in the comic itself. But that's what this thread is for I guess?

Ebly did not write that! *giggle*

Edit: and you called him Maxfield again!
Anyway, I'm fine agreeing to disagree! There's no harm in having multiple theories. :D

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Hm. Looks like the "Quote" button isn't entirely reliable when there are nested quotes or too many of them. I'll have to trace it back and fix it when I have a little more time later tonight.

"Maxfield" should be easy to fix though... Ah, there it is; must have gotten distracted while typing that list...

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
thoth wrote:
No one said it did; if so, that would have made the interspecies relationship percentage 60%. It's 50% if you consider the wolves as being outsiders to the pet community and therefore don't include them in the pet-relationship statistics.


Sorry, I guess I just read that wrong. :oops:

thoth wrote:
As for it being sociologically sound, in the comic we have a modern cow (selectively bred for productivity for the benefit of their owners), racing horses, several apparent dog breeds, and direct confirmation of at least three different dog breeds: Pomeranians, Corgis, and Australian Shepard. While the dog breeds could have originated as subraces, given that the apparent cow breed - at least - is highly adapted for human convenience, and the statements that Rick has made in the forums about domestication, evidently humans have indeed engaged in the selective breeding of various animals.

Primitive methods of enforcing selective breeding are not something that any sane individual would want applied to themselves. To avoid such enforcement and preserve a chance at having offspring in the future the two most likely courses are (1) avoiding close personal relationships, and (2) forming interspecies relationships.


Um. Ok. I don't know where enforced selective breeding came from but okay. Think of it this way. Before way back when, it was unthinkable for a white person to have a personal relationship with an African. Why? They were too different from each other. Regardless of what other sub species of canine that the dogs have been forced to breed with it's just unthinkable for dogs to have close relationships with cats because it's not natural. And as far as maladaptive reproductive processes go, wouldn't breeding dog and dog be more successful than cross-breeding dog and cat? And actually, I think it might be possible it was because of forced breeding that the dogs are so sensitive about cross breeding than the cats. The drive from humans for pure-bred dogs may have instilled a mind-set that makes looking outside your own species utterly unthinkable.

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
ndigit wrote:
Um. Ok. I don't know where enforced selective breeding came from but okay. Think of it this way. Before way back when, it was unthinkable for a white person to have a personal relationship with an African. Why? They were too different from each other. Regardless of what other sub species of canine that the dogs have been forced to breed with it's just unthinkable for dogs to have close relationships with cats because it's not natural. And as far as maladaptive reproductive processes go, wouldn't breeding dog and dog be more successful than cross-breeding dog and cat? And actually, I think it might be possible it was because of forced breeding that the dogs are so sensitive about cross breeding than the cats. The drive from humans for pure-bred dogs may have instilled a mind-set that makes looking outside your own species utterly unthinkable.


I suspect that you might be taking things a bit back-to-front.

If you want to examine what's "natural", I'll have to refer you to studies on animal behavior. Given the PG rating of this board, suffice it to say that I suspect that you'll find that a great many more behavior patterns than you think are found in animals.

Since a sociological objection was brought up - albeit without details - an examination of the basis of sociology was in order. The fundamental basis of sociology is - necessarily - adaption to the environment (failure to do so leads to there being no individuals to have a society). The most important element of adaption to the environment is successful reproduction. A quick look at the animals in the strip, and their various breeds, showed that they had almost certainly been selectively bred by humans - meaning that their reproductive success had been controlled by human-applied pressures. Therefore their genetic, behavioral, and sociological, adaptions will be to that environment.

As far as "crossbreeding" goes, the various "breeds" have been developed through the enforced selection of particular genetic combinations. This means that only selected individuals get to reproduce. The two basic methods of preventing the rest from reproducing are sterilization (until recently only rather crude methods were available) and death. As I noted, few sane individuals wish to be subjected to either procedure.

In the housepets universe, in a sapient species subjected to selective breeding, a cross-species or same-sexed relationship is indeed adaptive; it preserves and develops the social and physical behaviors of associated with successful reproduction without provoking intervention to prevent offspring - thus offering the individuals in question the chance to pass on their genes later, rather than losing the opportunity permanently. A secondary genetic trend towards subverting the system through unsuitable individuals reproducing early is possible, but - at least in the real world - is normally suppressed through the sterilization or elimination of the offspring. Since that’s already involved in the project, it seems likely that the same would apply in the housepets universe. While modest populations of feral pets are to be expected, they're unlikely to have any major impact; humans pretty throughly dominate the earth in reality, and the housepets universe seems to be a mostly-recognizable version of the real world.

As for it "being unthinkable for a white person to have a personal relationship with an African" - to the very limited extent that it was true (genetic tracing reveals that there may have been few legal marriages, but personal relationships were quite common in the historical United States, which seems likely to be the region to which you are referring), it was only one pattern amongst many, and applied to limited areas. There are and have been many other cultural patterns.

Now, if human pressure for purebred dogs (a relatively recent innovation) was responsible for the "taboo", it ought to apply to potential breeding couples - such as the potential pairings of Peanut and Tarot (unclassified and Pomeranian), Peanut and the "neighboring collie" (from the farm arc), Bino and Sasha and Fido and Sasha (neither Fido nor Bino appears to be the same breed as Sasha). It would also cause problems with the "all the lady dogs want to be with Fido" statements. On the other hand, there's no reason to expect a taboo with such an origin to apply to couples that cannot reproduce, since such pairings will not produce mixed-breed pups. That’s pretty much the opposite of the effect you were apparently looking for.

In the end, of course, all such debates come down to what Rick decides to put in the comic or say in the forms; that's why I included the link to the strips which provide information on the issue. Unfortunately, what we have now comes down to Bino's opinion, Grape's statement that she and other animals find cross-species relationships weird, Fido's statement that humans find them cute but that his having a relationship with a cat might undermine the loyalty of the other dogs, and the Barn Cats having no objection to stating that Peanut was "cute", to behaving rather suggestively around him, and finding Grapes worries on the topic "cute". Four sources, four different statements, and none of them necessarily generalizable.

As I've already pointed out, the available data could be explained by blaming the entire notion on Bino, by taking it as a local exaggeration of a slight - if widespread - sense of unease, by presuming that attitudes vary widely (the best supported, since Joey, Fido, Peanut, and apparently Joey's friends, don't find such relationships too weird, which doubles the number of available datapoints), or by assuming that it represents a widespread or global taboo. As it stands, they're all supportable, although "attitudes vary widely" is best supported, as well as being arguably the most realistic. Extrapolating to a global scenario is highly speculative at best.

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Wow. Um. Ok.

...how long do you spend on your research your stuff Thoth?
I obviously don't spend much time at all.

Two things I'd like to clear up though.
Sociology, by definition, is the study of the origin, development, organization, and function of a human society. The science of social relations and institutions. (But since the animals are sapient this can apply to a certain degree.) So most of my speculation comes from how the animals related and socialized with each other. (Admittedly I would need to start looking at other factors as well...) But in sociology, successful reproduction isn't as important as you make it sound.

Also I said that relationships were unthinkable between whites and africans at one point. Poor choice of words on my part, sorry. What I meant to say was that it did happen, it would be unusual to think it never did, but it was still looked down upon. Like many other types of discrimination, it happens it's just that there are those who choose not to accept it. Very loudly. And I am talking outside (and yes including) the states who have similar prejudices. Even Bino had to get it somewhere.
But yeah "attitudes vary widely" still sounds better don't it?

Ah, okay then I guess I'm done babbling.

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Next up, we have a couple of the characters who haven’t had much exposure... Sabrina and Daisy.

Sabrina:

1) Sabrina appears. She's evidently in a relationship with Fido. Grape does not approve, but Peanut doesn't seem to mind.
Note: Fido may have his own basement apartment.
2) Sabrina can produce an instant happy brain shutdown in Fido.
Inference: It’s a good relationship.
3) Sabrina wears an ankh tag. This may be related to her desire (from the cast page) to be a “Friend of All Living Things”, to it’s association with life, to it’s association with magic, or simply due to owner/artist whimsy.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/09/2 ... everybody/

4) Sabrina is still in an apparently-steady relationship with Fido.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/2 ... s-edition/

5) Sabrina hands off Spo to Fido (who promptly admits aloud that he's in love with her).
Inference: Judging from the “another” part (and Fox’s later list) Sabrina can reliably catch small feral animals without seriously injuring them. This is actually a fairly good trick.
Inference: Quite a lot of ferals - the ones Sabrina has handed off to Fido - probably at least suspect that Sabrina is in a relationship with Fido.
6) Sabrina is apparently good at hiding boxes around her person. This is indeed a trivial observation, but with so few appearances, I’ll have to take what I can get.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/02/16/ohh-diss/

7) Fido is keeping his relationship with Sabrina secret from the other dogs - although he certainly made it obvious enough to Spo.
Note: The humans apparently think that interspecies relationships are “cute”, but Fido states that revealing one would compromise the loyalty of the other dogs.
Note: This is actually hard to tell; Peanut has no problems with his relationship and Joey doesn’t seem likely to. Bino almost certainly would - but Fox and Rex simply seemed to be going along with Bino when the topic came up with Peanut; they expressed agreement that Peanut was a cat-lover, but gave no indication of approval or disapproval. Grape may disapprove in theory - but is willing to ignore it and hangs out with dogs a lot. I’ll take this as “at least enough of the other dogs to be a problem”.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/02/2 ... y-who-who/

8) Sabrina appears with Tarot. They are sitting on what appears to be a red blanket, bedspread, or couch, with a couple of pillows. They also have gold tags in the same style and with the same ancient-Egyptian motif.
Inference: Tarot and Sabrina may well have the same owner and probably spend a good deal of time together. They may share the same interests.
9) Sabrina is peering at a rather large book on a bookstand.
Speculation: There are apparently several types of "magic" abroad in the Housepets universe - Tarot's apparently-intuitive psychic/spiritualist talents (possibly in the same general class as the Dolphin’s routine telepathy), Pete's more active and direct manipulations, and whatever sort of impersonal or "mechanical" magic (or exotic technology) was involved in "Pete's Temple" (if it was his magic, why would he need someone else to push a button?).
Note: The "big book" and "black cat" themes are classic magical “bits”, and the close proximity of Tarot - and Sabrina ignoring Tarot's telepathic-communication routine - may indicate that Sabrina was looking something relevant up and is quite familiar with Tarot’s talents.
Off-the-wall Speculation: Sabrina can be distracting enough to keep people from noticing inconvenient details, such as the fact that she’s carrying a sizeable box - or her relationship with Fido.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/11/23/so-cool/

10) From the cast page: Sabrina: The quiet, unassuming type. She just tries not to make much noise among the other pets. Also, despite belonging to the most vicious killer subsection of pets, she desires most of all to be Friend of All Living Things and refuses to do physical harm to anyone. She’s secretly Fido’s girlfriend.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don’t actually have much of a possible backstory for Sabrina:

Sabrina has apparently been in Babylon Gardens for some time, met and fell in love with Fido, and that relationship has continued for some time. She’s made a habit of getting Fido to relocate the small feral animals that her owner expects her to kill and/or eat, ergo a lot of the ferals know that she’s in a relationship with Fido. She has the same owner as Tarot. The speculation has been mentioned that her owner may play D&D, thus accounting for her introduction to Fido - but if they both live in the same neighborhood, they’re likely to run into each other anyway.

Overall, there really isn’t much data that needs accounting for as yet; when more details appear in the strip I’ll see what I can do.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Next up, it’s Daisy... Sadly, Daisy has - as far as I can determine - only appeared in a total of five panels, has only had one line (“Hi I’m Daisy!”), and hasn't participated in the storyline very much.

1) Daisy appears in the group shot around Fido, and then features in the next panel. Sole line: "Hi I'm Daisy!".
Inference: Since this was a party spontaneously thrown together by the Good Ol Dogs Club, either Daisy was at the meeting or was attracted by the commotion.
Speculation: Fido might have been acquainted with Daisy earlier, probably because, judging by the information on the cast page, if she’s been around Babylon Gardens long he’ll probably have had to look after her at some point.
2) Daisy has a flower tag.
3) Daisy appears to be very happy.
4) Unlike Sasha, there’s no indication that Daisy is making any special play for Fido - although in her case that might be hard to tell.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/09/1 ... raise-you/

5) Daisy gives a large bag of something to the Feral Raccoons, who seem very pleased; she may be friends with them or it may simply be a Christmas thing. The raccoons may actually know her however, or they may just be surprised to be being given a gift at all.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/2 ... s-edition/

6) Daisy appears walking with “Daisy’s Mom”.
7) Daisy has no lines here, but appears happy.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/04/2 ... ery-naive/

8) Daisy wins the ferrets grand prize - stated to be a big bag full of money. It is vaguely implied that this may be for sincerity because Daisy is too airheaded to be insincere.
Note: It's hard to avoid being sincere when your only line is "Hi I'm Daisy".
Inference: Given that quite a lot of other lines - such as “Thank You” here, or “I brought you a present!” or “Merry Christmas!” with the Raccoons - might be more appropriate than “Hi I’m Daisy!”, I would guess that the gag is that Daisy doesn’t say much of anything else.
Inference: Daisy probably did something fairly silly with her money if her owners didn’t do something with it for her.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/0 ... llar-sign/

9) From the cast page, “Amazingly enough, she’s even less intelligent than Sasha.”
Overall Inference: Daisy appears to be happy, reasonably well-liked, friendly, kindly, and thick as a brick.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Daisy’s Possible Backstory:

Daisy was a cheerful, friendly, and enthusiastic puppy. She was adopted quickly, and has turned out to be cheerful, friendly, enthusiastic, and totally incapable of functioning on her own. Ergo, her “parents” moved into Babylon Gardens since they’d heard it was pet-friendly, fairly pet-safe, and had a lot of other pets around - who would be there to help keep an eye on Daisy. They were pleased to find that Fido, and a number of the other dogs, were willing to do so.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Responses:

For ndigit:

Oh, I’m just assuming that species which have failed to reproduce, and are thus extinct, don’t have much of a society to study - but I do tend to break everything down to the most general of possible requirements.

Research time is negligible though; I use this sort of information in other projects anyway, so it's generally ready to hand.

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Character Dossiers


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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Next up we have Miles - and, incidentally, the rest of the Pack. There really isn’t enough on most of them yet to justify individual entries.

1) Miles makes his first appearance. He's apparently used to mugs or cups, as well as furniture.
Inference: Miles has probably had at least a few weeks worth of experience with civilization.
Note: Peanut apparently has trouble with things that are out of context. He's seen wolves at the zoo, but presumes that one in the living room must be something else.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/2 ... er-danger/

1) Miles has moved into the neighborhood; this is evidently quite abnormal.
Inference: Miles is either being backed by someone, or has somehow acquired an independent source of income (and, presumably, a court-appointed Steward like the Ferrets).
2) Wolves are apparently substantially taller and heavier than most dogs.
Note: Wolves are apparently normally ferals.
3) Miles is acquainted with "civilized" mannerisms, such as shaking hands instead of sniffing.
Inference: Miles has spent at least some time observing, if not necessarily interacting with, humans.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/09/3 ... n-my-room/

4) Miles has been introducing himself and his pack to the neighbors. Evidently he is concerned about fitting in.
5) Miles and his pack are renting a house in the neighborhood.
Note: The Ferrets have apparently put together a special social program designed to promote the notion that animals can function like humans in society.
6) Mile's wife, Lucretia, thinks that being feral "sucks".
Inference: Presuming that Housepets wolf-packs are similar to real-world wolf-packs, since Miles is apparently mated, he is either the dominant (alpha) male OR the pack is doing extremely well and he's a beta male. Similarly, Lucretia would be either the alpha or beta female, as appropriate.
7) Miles had access to books in the wilds: this also implies access to various other parts of human civilization and probably implies someone teaching him or helping him learn to read, and a reasonably weatherproof storage location for said books.
8) Mile wears glasses to read. He's evidently farsighted.
Inference: Miles could have picked up a pair of cheap reading glasses at any large store, or he could have simply found them somewhere - but he probably wouldn’t have known to do so unless he either did a great deal of reading before obtaining them (and thus didn't need them much) or someone told or helped him. Ergo, he most likely had a friendly human contact early on. That would also help explain his access to books, his naively expecting other humans to behave similarly, and his evident disappointment and disillusionment when they did not.
Inference: Miles and the pack have been living on the edges of human civilization, and have probably gone well out of their way to avoid any conflict with it.
9) Miles is aware of how some others romanticize feral life. This may indicate actual experience with others with similar views or simply having read books which mentioned the viewpoint.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/0 ... t-speaker/

10) Miles taught himself to read, presumably from some books he picked up. This is a fairly remarkable feat.
Inference: Managing - as a wild animal - to teach yourself to read, to obtain books (and reading glasses), to become familiar with an alien culture, to either teach your prospective mate to read or to inspire her with enough interest in a facet of that culture to lead her to take a name from it, all before reaching adult status (and thus, per a later strip, being ready to choose an adult name) while simultaneously learning to hunt and establishing pack-dominance, is a feat worthy of superman. Perhaps that's what that physique of his is all about.
11) Miles acquired books over time. He may have had a friendly "civilized" contact, scavenged for them, or even have bought them. After all, if a friendly feral has found some money, I suspect that most retailers would be happy to take it.
12) Miles apparently taught the rest of the pack about human culture since "we became fond of human culture".
13) Miles "sought his fortune in the big city".
Inference: Miles may have been familiar with "Dick Whittington and his Cat" or a similar tale.
14) Miles was quite naive about actual human behavior.
Inference: Miles probably had an extremely eclectic collection of books, and relatively little direct experience with humans. He evidently hasn't - for example - read much about things like the second world war or he'd probably be a great deal more cautious.
Note: Even friendly wolves often cause humans to call for animal control and get hysterical.
15) Miles gets thoughtful when discouraged or disillusioned.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/0 ... n-the-car/

16) Miles has been roped into the Ferret's social engineering project.
Note: The Ferrets are aware that they - at least - are powerfully driven by instinct and appetite.
17) Miles is both surprisingly empathic, familiar with intoxication, and - at the time - was familiar with orange soda.
Inference: Miles may be familiar with campers, hunters, hikers, or picnickers. Given the close proximity of the woods to Babylon Gardens - and what is evidently some really nice scenery there - I'd bet on campers, hikers, and picnickers. The woods may be too near to developed areas to allow much hunting.
Note: I'd expect "hunting" to be a bit less popular in the Housepets universe than in reality anyway, given that every kid will probably be acquainted with at least some of the local birds and rodents while growing up, that the animals can plan and hide intelligently (for example, going into neighborhoods where the houses are too close to allow the firing of weapons during hunting season), and that hunters will be able to understand the animals pleading and mourning. Farm animal species may have struck a social bargain of sorts; rather than a dangerous and unpleasant life that ends in being killed and eaten after much terror, they get a comfortable, healthy, and well-cared-for life. While that comfortable life still ends in being killed and eaten, it's arguably an improvement over the feral lifestyle for many animals.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/0 ... st-friend/

18) Miles, and apparently his pack (since they apparently have been taken in by the ferrets) have apparently passed the General Obedience Exam and are now legally pets.
Inference: Feral animals moving in with humans is actually pretty common.
Note: The Ferrets want to make sure that everything related to the pack is done "nice and legal", the better to exploit all the available legal loopholes.
Inference: The wolves are technically pets, property of the Milton estate (in trust for the ferrets), and will be obeying all the applicable laws.
19) Miles, and possibly additional members of the pack, were given "humanish" jobs.
20) Miles is already familiar with Television during what is apparently his first open trip into human civilization. Maybe he's been looking in windows?
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/0 ... o-they-do/

21) Miles and Lucretia have little direct experience with human culture and etiquette, but are apparently familiar with many of the physical details of human civilization - doors, clothing, party streamers, etc.
Inference: Miles and the pack probably spent some time with the ferrets - encounting the physical elements of civilzation outside of human authority - before being ready to move into their own (rented) house.
22) Miles has been methodically visiting the neighbors to invite them to his housewarming party.
23) Miles is not immune to the puppy-eyes routine.
24) Lucretia has a speciality apron in her size.
Inference: The "sniff" motif is probably intended for canines. Since it seems unlikely that enough large ferals join human civlization to fuel the commercial production of such items, either there are larger dog breeds around or it was custom-made for Lucretia (arguing for the ferrets throwing money around in pursuit of their latest project as well as in pursuit of shiny things and treats).
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/1 ... e-forever/

25) Miles recognizes a police uniform, even if he's not entirely sure - and is sensibly cautious about it.
26) Miles evidently implicity recognizes human dominance, and is not about to challenge it.
Note: Wolves - and especially North American wolves - are generally extremely timid around humans. In North America most of the (very few) recorded wolf attacks involve either rabies or children being attacked by wolves being kept as pets. In attacks on adults wolves often come off distinctly second best; for an example, consider Ben Cochrum, who killed eleven, and probably injured an unknown number, when attacked by wolves - shooting seven dead and clubbing four to death with his rifle stock before being overwhelmed. Healthy north american wolves normally only attack humans when starving. European and Asian wolves aren't as timid, but - for example - there are currently plenty of wolves who have regular routes through Paris at night, where they scavenge trash, before retreating to the nature preserves to hide during the day.
Note: Wolves living in human houses is apparently seriously odd. The police, however, have enough sense of realpolitik not to gratatiously argue with the extremely wealthy ferrets.
27) Miles either got his license card while Bill (the policeman) was on his way over, was allowed to go back into the house to get his pet license while confronting Bill (which seems unlikely), or somehow was carrying it with him.
Inference: Since Bill seems to recognize the card readily, it's probably an official standard, and laminated.
Speculation: Presuming the wolves do want to carry their licenses - which would be sensible - a simple bit of string, "dog tag" style chain, or a small velcro pouch would suffice to keep such licenses handy without them showing while nestled in all the fur.
Note: I, personally, get the distinct impression that Miles rather likes humans in general. This is, however, just an impression.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/1 ... y-officer/

Note: There's nothing much here but a joke about pants.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/1 ... han-human/

28) Miles has at least two brothers, and least one of whom is named Daryl.
29) Either the rest of the pack is not as familar with human customs as Miles is, or Daryl is a practical joker.
30) Daryl is weaing a cap with ear holes. Again, probably custom clothing for canines.
Inference: The wolves have no actual objection to clothing and such. They just don't need it at home.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/1 ... mily-tree/

31) Miles has at least three children. He may or may not have more - either so far unseen, adult and moved out, or deceased.
Inference: Miles has been pack leader for at least a year, and probably for two or more.
Inference: Since Peanut feels that the three cubs seen so far constitute a “lot”, while they - judging from the variation in size - might represent more than one years worth of offspring - pets and wolves in the Housepets universe probably do not tend to have large litters. I find this preferable to the next most likely explanation - “many of the cubs are already dead” - in any case.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/21/puppy-power/

32) Miles apparently took Peanuts advice to "hide all his relatives" except Lucretia.
33) The housewarming party apparently went pretty well.
34) Miles has apparently settled on a shirt to try and fit in with the humans and put Bill at ease.
35) Wolves apparently move in with humans fairly often, although this is at least reputed to lead to violence, drugs, gambling, and a lack of pants.
36) Miles and Lucretia forgot to actually cook the steaks.
Inference: The wolves - and likely the other ferals - know a lot less about humans and human society than they think they do, and Miles evidently did not learn that lesson from his first encounter with human speciesism in the city. I'd suspect he's an optimist.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/2 ... eing-bill/

37) The housewarming party visitors apparently did not meet the Wolf Cubs.
38) The Wolf Cubs have learned how to play chess. In contrast to Peanut and Grapes toy collection, however, the few other apparent toys in view are for physical games - a bat and a ball. I'm unsure as to what the green thing is, but the room is otherwise rather barren except for a wooden chest.
Inference: The wolves aren't nearly as into "things" as humans or pets. It also seem likely that Miles and Lucretia wish to encourage demanding physical and intellectual activities rather than time-wasting games.
Note: Peanut intends to introduce the cubs to video games, presumably the next time he comes over.
Inference: the wolves do have a television, but don't have a video game setup.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/10/26/how-terrible/

39) Fido apparently didn't call on the wolves to help search for Zach.
Inference: This is fairly thin, since we simply might not have seen them - but it's also possible that Fido is reluctant to ask wolves to go out searching for a rabbit that he wants to get back safely. That draws some minor support from the fact that one of Fido’s noted activities in Bino’s speech was “fighting ferals”.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/11/1 ... oth-start/

40) The wolves don't seem to be at the Good Ol Dogs Club Christmas party. This doesn't actually tell us much, although I suspect that Peanut would have invited at least the cubs - but it may simply be because the wolves are trying to fit in with the humans, rather than with the pets. It might also be that the cubs are reluctant to leave their “den”.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/12/2 ... hed-socks/

41) The cubs are familar with, and enjoy, the noise-making tradition around new years, but are unclear as to what it's really about.
Inference: Given the lack of depth, this smacks of superficial information acquired from the television.
Inference: Given that Grape is attracted by the noise, despite fireworks elsewhere, the wolves probably live very close to the Sandwiches - at least presuming that the cubs are in their own yard, which seems likely.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2010/01/01/gregory-who/

    The wolves are not wearing collars. This is presumably fine as long as they’re in their own yard - but in the Housepets universe it seems that the collars serve as (1) a place to carry things, (2) support for identification tags, (3) apparently some sort of legal requirement (thus Grape’s worry about being picked up by animal control and sent to the pound when Earl removed her collar at the convenience store), and 4) a quick and easy visual indicator that “this animal belongs to someone and has a place in society”. All of those would seem likely to apply – especially because the Ferrets wanted them to be careful to obey all the rules, the better to take advantage of the loopholes.
    If I were Miles, having observed the human reaction to random “Ferals” during his first visit to the city, I’d want to make sure that the pups were clearly identifiable at a glance as “part of civilization” and not “dangerous stray ferals who have wandered out of the woods”. They might not like collars – but Daryl was already wearing a hat, so there’s evidently no fundamental objection to using something. Carry-packs, shoulder bags, safety vests, coats (as per Fox) and hats all come to mind. They shouldn’t be in danger of impoundment as long as they can produce their pet licences (wherever they wind up keeping them), but there are more direct dangers. Until quite recently in many areas in the US wolves were classified as an endangered species and were protected by some rather tough federal laws - and that didn’t keep people from shooting, trapping, and poisoning them. I doubt that we’ll actually see anything nearly so grim in Housepets – but there was the fate of Karl-Lenin Faust to show the readers that it’s possible. If those were my cubs I’d certainly consider it, just like warning them about crossing the street without looking.

42) The wolves tradationally do not name their children, leaving them to pick their own names when they come of age.
Inference: Miles learned to read, and became familiar with both some Latin words and Ancient Rome, before reaching maturity and choosing his own name. Alternatively, the wolves could be passing down information about Ancient Rome through their own culture, or that information could have been provided in some other fashion (perhaps via Pete’s dreamsending) - but there’s nothing to support either hypothesis.
43) The cubs are definitely immature.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2010/01/0 ... -nor-face/

    This bit is repeated from my commentary on the comic: ergo, it’s been marked here for easy skipping:
    There are a few areas where it is or was traditional not to give children a name until they’re around two, mostly because – at least historically – the infant mortality rate was so high. If childhood mortality rate for wolf cubs in the Housepets universe bears any resemblance to the real-world rate, the same might apply here.

    Fortunately for the cubs, Miles and Lucretia have already done one of the few things that will vastly increase their chance of survival – moving into human civilization. Moving into a zoo would offer similar benefits, which might help explain why the zookeepers would let Grape and Peanut persuade them to let the animals out for a scrabble tournament; the animals are all smart enough to know when they’re well off – and so can be relied on to go back “home” to their enclosures after the party is over.

    Of course, virtually every human culture assigns at least a childhood use-name pretty much as soon as a child learns to talk and walk. That’s simple practicality; humans communicate so much information vocally that not being able to immediately indicate who you are addressing, calling, or (especially) warning of some danger, is a severe difficulty. Could you see trying to manage an elementary school without names of some sort?

    Quite a few tribal cultures let people choose a name, or be given a new one, when they become officially adults. This becomes increasingly impractical as the society increases in size and as record-keeping becomes more important. It’s rather awkward to rely on the reputation you’ve built up, advertise your services, or refer people to your past performance when they have no way of being even reasonably sure that you’re actually referring to your own record.

    In the cubs case, I’d bet that they have some sort of use-names (quite possibly the ones they just gave), no matter how traditionalist Miles is. After all, if they’re living with humans, they’ll need to have been given pet licences, rabies vaccines and such – and the vets and bureaucrats will need a name of some sort to file the records under, even if – like “Princess Periwinkle” – that name is subject to change later.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Possible Backstory for Miles and the Pack:

Miles was an exceptional cub. While all wolves are aware from an early age that the humans dominated their world, Miles wanted to know why - and so he made a habit of watching the hikers and picnickers who visited the woods near Babylon Gardens and even of poking around in the outskirts of human settlements.
He was seen a few times of course, but the forest visitors were expecting to see wildlife, and he carefully avoided contact with either humans, or their pets, when he ventured closer. Inevitably though he eventually bumped straight into a human.
Fortunately for him, that human was friendly - and was interested enough in a wolf that wanted to find out about people to talk to him several times. Inquiries eventually led to said human passing Miles a book or two on some of the topics he asked about - and then a few pointers on the alphabet and some reading glasses. Miles still had to do most of the work of learning to read on his own - but a few pointers certainly made it a lot easier. Miles lost touch with “his” human relatively quickly, but he had enough pointers already.
When he reached adulthood, and chose his name, he and several of the young packmates he’d talked about human culture to took names from that culture.
Eventually Miles and several other young wolves left their original pack - their interest in human culture already made them misfits - and moved into the unoccupied areas on the fringes of human territory; none of the other packs wanted to claim lands that close to humanity anyway.
Shortly thereafter, Miles became a father - and Lucretia started to think about what her children’s prospects were going to be like.
They weren’t all that good - but she was familiar enough with human civilization to recognize that joining it would be a vast improvement. She didn’t want to become a pet or zoo animal however; she’d like to join human civilization on equal terms to the humans.
That’s likely to be a great deal harder than the wolves naively thought - but hooking up with the ferrets was a very lucky start indeed.


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Character Dossiers


Sat Jan 09, 2010 8:12 pm
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Thoth wrote:
the few other apparent toys in view are for physical games - a bat and a ball. I'm unsure as to what the green thing is, but the room is otherwise rather barren except for a wooden chest.

I always assumed the green thing was a sleeping bag, but didn't say anything at the time because I couldn't figure out what they were doing with one (especially if there's at least three cubs)

Great job so far, by the way.

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
The green thing looks like a carpet that's been folded a little, probably because they wrestled and jumped around.....

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Post Re: Character Dossiers
Next up in the dossier parade we have Rex - with a sideline in Jasper and Jinx.

1) First appearance. Rex is apparently a cartoon bulldog, has a skull for a tag, wears a spiked collar, is apparently either angry, frowning, or embarrased, and is apparently upset that Grape is not playing "The Game".
Inference: Rex may have had troublesome experiences with one or more cats who are breaking rules.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/06/2 ... annot-win/

2) This strip lists "neighbor dogs", but doesn't identify any except Bino.
Inference: Rex is probably still with Bino, since he was there last strip. Therefore Rex is probably one of the “neighbor dogs”, and thus lives quite near the Sandwiches.
Inference: Rex is more loyal to Bino than sensible since no sensible person would let Bino have a chainsaw.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/06/2 ... no-escape/

3) Rex again appears as part of Bino's clique. Evidently he has bad taste or is extremely loyal.
4) Either the embarrassed/angry/frown strip across Rex's eyes is a permanent feature, or he is embarrassed by Peanuts drawing of a dog with a cats tail. It's hard to say; he might even have liked it; Joey shows similar indications in later strips.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/1 ... n-ostrich/

5) Rex agrees with Bino that Peanut is probably a cat lover. He may or may not believe that that's a serious issue; he doesn't say anything further.
6) Rex continues to hang around with Bino, despite Bino’s evident irrationality.
Inference: Rex, like many of the other dogs, is extremely loyal to his friends, whether or not they’re really worthy of that loyalty.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/07/1 ... ne-either/

7) Rex appears at the Good Ol Dogs Club.
Inference: Given that there’s nothing going on to upset him, It looks like the coloring across his face is simply frown-wrinkles.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/08/2 ... yal-order/

8) Rex had a brick ready to knock Bino out with.
Inference: Rex realizes that Bino is subject to bouts of complete insanity, and is ready to deal with them - and STILL sticks by him. That probably is the kind of loyalty that Bino wants - or at least is the kind that he needs as well as the only kind that he can keep.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/09/2 ... nel-klink/

9) Rex is baking Christmas cookies and singing a Christmas song with numerous traditional references.
Inference: Rex does a fair amount of cooking, since he has oven gloves that fit and an apron that fits.
10) Rex's reputation among the other does not match his personality. It's presumably founded strictly on superficial appearances.
Inference: Rex probably lets Bino do most of the talking. He may be the taciturn type.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/1 ... on-of-all/

11) Rex gives his (unnamed) owner a watch.
Inference: Rex's owner wanted a guard dog to watch his house. Ergo, he’s probably out a lot.
Inference: Rex’s owner may have expected Rex to be fairly aggressive. Given than random aggression in canines often springs from insecurity and nervousness, I’d guess that Rex - like many real-world large dogs - has little use for either of those qualities.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/2 ... s-edition/

12) Rex is willing to admit that he likes the Pridelands series, even if this does conflict with the impression Bino is trying to produce.
Inference: Rex is literate, honest, and self-confident enough to not worry much about the opinions of the other dogs. Alternatively, Rex is well aware that Bino can’t afford to alienate his few good friends, and will just have to put up with his (Rex’s) opinions regardless.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/04/0 ... ronically/

13) Rex is at the dog park, apparently playing frisbee with Fido.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/05/0 ... character/

14) Rex is apparently still hanging around with Bino.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/07/2 ... mpetition/

15) Rex was apparently supposed to be hanging onto Bino or nearby to rescue him from his folly.
Inference: Presuming that Bino actually told Rex that he was supposed to be ready to grab him (a large if), Rex either forgot, was distracted, or didn't make it in time.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/0 ... somewhere/

16) Rex is at the Good Ol Dogs Club Christmas Party - and is still hanging around with Bino.
17) Rex appears to be taken aback by King's tirade; his otherwise semi-permanent frown line is gone.
Inference: Rex is either dim enough not to realize that having a bomb detonated in your face is a reason to lose your temper OR is empathic enough to realize that King has some larger problem underlying the scale of the explosion. Given that Rex could probably have kept Fox and Bino apart, and yet Fox evidently inflicted some injuries on Bino without suffering any himself, I'd guess the latter.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/12/2 ... hed-socks/

18) From the Cast Page Rex is strong and somewhat lacking in brains, but “makes up for it in his uncanny ability to taste minute differences in coffee blends”.
Inference: Rex being a cartoon bulldog vaguely suggests a connection with Jasper and Jinx (on whom we have virtually nothing except the "Tom and Jerry Homage Theme"). Ergo, I'll go with that. What we have on Jasper and Jinx doesn’t really add much though, since it’s pretty sparse:

1) Jasper first appears here, where it's established that he's the silent type, but occasionally speaks in quotes from forgotten television programs.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2008/12/2 ... more-cats/

2) Jinx appears here (and only here).
3) Jasper appears here, speaking in quotes ("Now you set my soul on fire") to "Girlfriend Cat", and with Jinx giving him a hotfoot.
Inference: Jasper and Jinx are probaby homages to the early Tom and Jerry cartoons - especially likely since Tom and Jerry first appeared under those names and the alt-text tend to support the idea.
Inference: "Girlfriend Cat" looks like Tom's perpetual love-interest, Toodles Galore, and is probably another homage.
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/08/2 ... e-corners/

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For some hypothetical and near-baseless (except in presuming that the group is indeed a Tom and Jerry homage) backstory for Rex, Jasper, and Jinx, we have...

Rex belongs to Mr Bera Ising, while Jasper belongs to his somewhat overweight and politically-incorrect wife Anna (maiden name Tshoe). The Isings own and manage a cleaning and landscaping service - which gets a lot of work considering the things the pets get up to in Babylon Gardens. Jinx belongs to their young son (which is why he can harass Jasper without being eaten and even dares to show up at a "restaurant" that primarly caters to cats; there is a family link with Jasper and some pet-to-pet courtesy to help him out with the other cats).
Since his owners are so busy - entrepreneurs tend to work long hours - the house is left to the pets a lot (one reason why Mr Ising wanted a good watchdog), and Rex manages a lot of the household chores, including a good deal of the cooking. Jasper and Jinx tend to get bored while Anna is at work and the kids are at school, and so spend a good deal of time watching television (one reason that Jasper, when he speaks, mostly speaks in quotes from old television programs) and harassing each other - occasionally interrupting Rex's tasks, and being slapped down for it.
The Ising’s moved into Babylon Gardens fairly early on, making Rex one of Bino’s oldest friends - in part, simply because there weren’t all that many other dogs around at the time. Thanks to his strong loyalty and sense of duty, Rex has stuck with Bino over the ensuing years - which has prevented many of the younger pets and more recent arrivals from really getting acquainted with him, leaving them to judge Rex on his general appearance, spiked collar, and skull tag. (Having Rex looming behind him has actually been a good deal of help to Bino; it’s helped protect him from the obvious consequences of some of his behavior). Jasper is somewhat younger, and was adopted later than Rex, and has been happy to leave most of the household chores to him - although he will sometimes pitch in to clean things up in a hurry before the Isings get home if he and Jinx have caused some sort of disaster, which is all too common when they start chasing each other around the house.

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Responses:

Ah, a sleeping bag or large pad is an excellent idea. I was trying to fit it in with the other toys, but the wolves are new to houses - so it seems reasonable that the pack is simply treating the “kids room” as a multipurpose den for them. Ergo, something to sleep on. If the cubs are anything like the litters of Great Pyrenees pups I used to raise, they’ll all like to cuddle up and sleep together anyway.

Once I finish up the final sets of dossiers, I’ll go back through and edit the various suggestions in.

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Character Dossiers


Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:34 pm
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Post Re: Character Dossiers
I didn't realise you'd already done Daisy.
Not like there's much to do.

But anyway. She's a reference to, well, Princess Daisy.

Just so you know.
If you didn't figure it out already.

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Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:14 pm
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