Fallout 4 first came out in 2015, and it shows. In the base game, you can only pet a single dog—your dog, Dogmeat—and you can only do it once, during a cut-scene. 2019, emboldened by the Can You Pet The Dog Twitter account, will not stand, sit, lie down, shake, or roll over for that. Thankfully, modders have once again corrected developers’ sins against canine kind with a mod that lets you pet all dogs.
The “Pet Any Dog” mod, created by Fallout 4 fan Sagittarius22, is not the first to let you voluntarily pet a dog in the game, but it is the first to let you pet any random NPC dog, of which there are many. Some are mangier and more mutated than others, but they all deserve pets.
There are, however, a few stipulations. First, you need at least the first rank of the “Animal Friend” perk. Second, you cannot pet your dog with nuclear arms, nor any other kind of armament, for that matter. If you have a fist or weapon out, no fluffy fistfuls of fur for you. If you’re wearing power armor, you also can’t pet dogs, which is good, because if you tried, you’d probably crush them.
All of this means that if you’re in combat with a dog, you cannot pet it. This makes me sad, because I feel like gentle physical affirmations followed by immediate friendship should be a viable solution to all video game combat scenarios involving dogs.