Trek's Pets: all named and recurring pets in Star Trek

Let's look at the furriest cast members in Star Trek

"Su'Kal" -- Ep#311 -- Pictured: Raven Dauda as Dr. Pollard and David Ajala as Book of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS ©2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
"Su'Kal" -- Ep#311 -- Pictured: Raven Dauda as Dr. Pollard and David Ajala as Book of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS ©2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /
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Porthos - Archers's dog - Star Trek: Enterprise

Livingston and Spot both illustrated something about TNG, the sort of show it was, and the sort of place the Enterprise was. As Star Trek's first regular cast member pet, Porthos presumably telegraphed something about Star Trek: Enterprise, though I'm not sure what. A beloved and pampered pet was a little out of place on humanity's first warp 4 vessel, exploring the unknown.

Or perhaps that was the point. A theme in Enterprise is that Starfleet didn't really know what it was doing a hundred years before the original series. In the Enterprise era, the Vulcans, rather than being friendly allies were fretful paternalistic overlords desperately trying to make sure we didn't blow ourselves up with our shiny new warp drives. Where other Star Trek captains flouted the prime directive from time to time, Archer lived before it existed. The fun of Enterprise was seeing an imperfect, more relateable Starfleet.

In that light, one of Enterprise's cringiest episodes, "A Night In Sickbay" at least makes sense. After Porthos creates a diplomatic incident by peeing on a sacred tree on the Kreetassan homeworld, he contracts a pathogen and is required to spend the night in sickbay. Archer stays with him, fuming about the Kreetassans, having nightmares about Porthos's funeral, and fantasizing about getting it on with T'pol in the decontamination shower. We must also wonder why they'd bring a dog on a diplomatic mission with a species who are incredibly hung up on propriety and ritual as the Kreetassans, but if the point is that they don't really know either, at least that makes sense.

I usually don't like to talk about beta canon (alpha canon is complicated enough,) but the licensed Star Trek comic books had a much better story centred around Porthos. "The Fragile Beauty of Loyalty" begins with an eight-year-old Archer being kicked into a frozen lake by a time-traveling Suliban operative, and being rescued by a mysterious beagle who appears seemingly out of nowhere. Back in the "present," adult Archer is informed that a member of his crew volunteered to go back in time to save him from a time-traveling assassin. Aa Archer wonders who on his crew could be so loyal and brave, the realisation dawns on him.

This is the kind of story they usually like to keep out of the canon, as the implication is that Porthos is smarter than the average pooch, smart enough even to be a Starfleet operative in the Temporal Cold War! I'd like to believe this story was made canon when screenwriter Roberto Orci confirmed that the "prize beagle" referenced in the 2009 reboot movie was in fact Porthos. As this was around a hundred years later, perhaps this confirms Porthos' proclivity for time travel.

Or maybe dogs in the Star Trek universe can live for hundreds of years. Or maybe Archer is Florida Man.