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You're a good dog, Rita. Definitely a good dog. - Runt

Runt Valrunt[1] is a dim-witted and optimistic stray dog. He is Rita’s best friend and believes she is a dog like him, of which Rita plays along with because he hates cats.

Personality

Runt is a slow-witted dog that keeps up a happy-go-lucky streak despite his life as a stray. He has a hatred for cats, which is why Rita doesn't correct him for mistaking her for a dog. Despite that, he is extremely friendly to the people he and Rita come across, or as he puts it "definitely very friendly". However, they do not seem to return the favour, but Rita genuinely cares about him.

Rita and Runt’s main desire is to find a permanent home. Usually, if they're both successful, the home turns out to want Rita and/or Runt for something at the expense of their lives. They either flee the home or are thrown out of it.

Runt’s role in the segment is either comic relief or a moral dilemma for Rita should they part ways, be separated or one of them is put in danger. He is rarely, if ever, the main protagonist of a segment.

Runt will protect Rita from anything, even if he has to lose a home or even Rita.

History

Original Series

As a pet dog, Runt was difficult to house train. His owner got fed up after Runt urinated on the carpet, and sent him to the Pound. Rita asked who was in the cell next to her and Runt introduced himself. He got attached to Rita. When Rita freed him, Runt gave her a bear hug, before saving her from the pound employee. From the start, he assumed Rita was a dog. Unlike Rita, he didn't want to part ways at all.

Each Rita and Runt segment takes place in a different setting, usually following a similar formula of Rita and/or Runt believing they have found a home, only for something to turn against them and cause them to save each other and eventually leave again. The settings take place throughout different time periods and locations, though Rita and Runt seem to be under the impression they remain only in the 90s, as they continue to make pop cultural references.

It’s often Runt who exposes the temporary owner’s intentions or at the very least, the one to save Rita.

When paired with Pesto, Runt thought he was very boring. Of course, while Runt was talking to himself, Pesto took things the wrong way. With sheer luck, a temporary owner [that hates pigeons] called over Runt just as Pesto's temper was steaming up. After being thrown out of that home, Pesto filled in for Rita by singing. Runt thought his talent was “good, not great.”

In some later episodes of Rita and Runt, Runt is sidelined much more often. He is often unaware of Rita’s trouble, goes away and returns at the end none the wiser and unaware of what Rita went through. Runt has extremely limited screen-time in “Kiki’s Kitten”.

Though Rita and Runt are homeless and have once invaded the Warner Bros. studio for food in "'Twas the Day Before Christmas", they are capable of joining up with the rest of the cast, though no proper interactions are ever shown except with Pinky and Pesto.

In the final comic Rita & Runt story, Rita and Runt heard about the luxuries on an ocean liner and stowed away. Runt was put in an oven to be cooked by the staff and while the two tried to escape, they found some fish and the overjoyed Rita sang, unknowingly near a microphone. Runt accidently sat down on a SFX button, letting Rita's singing be heard in the dining room. The staff were impressed and adopted them. Rita and Runt joyfully adapt to their new home as the ocean liner approaches an iceberg.

Wakko’s Wish

Rita and Runt live in the Kingdom of Warnerstock, specifically the town of Acme Falls, where they roam for a home and food. The kingdom had fallen into poverty after the throne was usurped by King Salazar, which unfortunately often leaves the strays hungry.

Upon hearing from Wakko Warner that a Wishing Star had landed, and the first to touch it would receive their wish, Rita and Runt stow away in Dr. Scratchansniff and Hello Nurse’s carriage being pulled by Phar Fignewton. Rita intends to wish for a home, while Runt is simply hoping to see Rita happy. They enjoy being in the carriage until it begins to pick up speed, causing them to be bumped and thrown around. Eventually, Buttons ends up trapped in the wagon as well, and upon realizing that Scratchansniff's elixir has become explosive, they excitedly toss a crate of it at the pursuing Baron von Plotz and Ralph. The carriage eventually crashes by the cliff, where Rita can be seen looking for Runt until he pops up beneath her in the snow, telling her that she's "definitely a good dog." Unbeknownst to them, in the crash they accidentally mixed together several liquids from the cart, helping Scratchy create what will later become his business, Scratchy Cola.

Though they are almost at the Wishing Star, everyone is captured by King Salazar, who orders them all imprisoned and the Warner siblings executed. However, the Warners manage to escape, and with the help of a distraction by Dot, Wakko Warner is able to reach the Wishing Star and wish for two ha'pennies, restarting the economy of Acme Falls.

Following these events, Rita and Runt are adopted by Scratchansniff, and they are content to be together in their new "happy home."

Reboot

In "Good Warner Hunting", Rita and Runt get imprisoned with the rest of the cast by a furious Chicken Boo after he is left out of the reboot; Yakko Warner is the first to notice their disappearance. In the end, Rita and Runt are freed and chase Chicken Boo out of town.

In a deleted scene from "Bun Control", they appear on a poster that parodies the "Hang in there, Baby! motivational poster.

Relationships

Original Owner

Runt’s relationship with his family is extremely unclear, just that he thinks his master is very nice for calling him “stupid”. According to his owner, Runt was difficult to house train and would chew many things in the house. While introducing himself to Rita, Runt says the final straw was when he urinated on the carpet and shows a bit of guilt.

Rita

Despite thinking Rita is a dog, Runt appears to know everything else about her and always has her safety put first.

Runt has great affection for Rita, letting her insults and disdain slide off of him, and (usually) expresses worry and stress when he thinks she is in danger. He even went to the point of biting a man who was trying to cook Rita, and grabs her by the scruff to safety when he assumes they are in danger (although usually incorrectly, to Rita's annoyance). He is also, in his rare moments of coherency, surprisingly attached to Rita, but when she is about to leave on a train to a nice home and he is left behind, he seems sad, but still wishes her a nice life. However, Rita quickly jumps off the train, much to his surprise and delight.

Appearances




Comic Stories

Rita and Runt

  • Mace Ventura Pet Hunter
  • The Lunch Boat

Other Segments

  • FarLap

Trivia

  • Peter Hastings auditioned for Runt, and gave him a deeper voice.
  • Runt's voice is Welker’s impression of Dustin Hoffman's character from Rain Man - Raymond "Ray" Babbitt.
  • Runt is traced from pictures of the original series into two out of three of his appearances in the 2020 series.
  • Runt can often show he has some of Rita's big traits. Though he usually sticks to standing on his four legs. In Phranken-Runt, Witch One and Wakko's Wish, he stands on his hind legs and acts around it the way Rita does. Runt can even sing, as shown in Les Miseranimals and Of Nice and Men.
  • He and Buttons have a few things in common
    • Both are dogs
    • Both walk on all fours all the time
    • Both have a small friend
    • Both are voiced by Frank Welker

Gallery

Animaniacs Wiki has a collection of images related to Runt.

Sources

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