Alright, I guess I need another rule.
Remember these are rules I'm coming up with off the top of my head. Don't expect genius, I know I don't.
This is rule number three only because it's the third rule I've posted here.
3.) Kill dogs if you need to. By that I mean, do what you need to and to hell with the content police.
I have a story where the antagonist is a disturbed young woman. People die, no big deal. She wasn't very likable. She also wasn't three dimensional. (I hate that term. If anyone thinks of a better one, tell me.)
So, I killed her favorite dog in spite of the fact that a former critique partner told me, and several others at the table agreed, that one should not kill dogs or horses in fiction. "You will lose many readers if you do," they told me. But, my readers needed to see her grieve for something. Maul's untimely death made her a better, more likable character.(I know the correct term is, sympathetic, but I hate that one too.) I did what I had to.
We introduce our readers to our characters. We only have a short time to spend investing our readers in the fate of our characters. If the readers don't care, why bother? Do what you have to no matter how distasteful.
But, do distasteful for distasteful's sake at your own risk.
Some of the time, perhaps even more often than not, guidelines like, don't kill dogs or horses, make sense. But, I say, if you must, off with their heads.
Now, just because, my top ten reasons why Labrador Retrievers are better than cats. I specify Labradors because there are some dogs that are not better than cats. But, Labs definitely are. You'll notice I capitalize Labrador Retriever and any shortened version thereof. That should indicate how I feel about them.
1.) Labs will hold a treat on their nose almost until you tell them to get it.
2.) The only thing you need to give a Lab a pill is a piece of bacon to wrap it in. No gloves are required.
3.) You can bite a Lab on the ear and it will lick yours while you do.
4.) Labs come when you call them.
5.) Labs go lay down when you tell them.
6.) Labs will alert to that the mail has arrived
7.) Labs love it when you pull their tail.
8.) Labs never swear or complain.
9.) Labs are grateful for their food.
10.) Labs will sit on your lap as long as you like.