Role in the film
Emily Watson is seen noticing Calvin Wheeler and Raymond Figg asking Julie the cheerleader a trick question about Gotham Man in the school cafeteria during an interview concerning which girl Calvin should take to the upcoming Spring dance. After Julie fails to answer correctly, Emily passes out flyers about supporting the local animal shelter as it is in desperate need of renovations and volunteers. When Calvin tricks Emily into giving him one in order to write a list of comics for Figg to bring, Emily sarcastically thanks Calvin and provides him with the correct answer; thus, revealing the jig.
At the shelter, Emily, working as a volunteer, befriends and names a dog, who was brought in by Animal Control a few days ago, Tyco; much against the owner, Mr. Dudley's rules about naming animals at the shelter. When Emily mentions she taught Tyco a new trick, Tyco only ends up nearly tearing the owner's shirt by accident.
A few days later, Calvin comes to the animal shelter and decides to adopt a dog. Knowing Calvin for being a bit of a schemer and someone who thinks that animals are dirty (as mentioned by Emily when he refused to hold her puppy she brought for show and tell in the 3rd grade), Emily suspects he's up to something but Calvin, using his wit and cunning nature, persuades her otherwise. Thinking this could be an opportunity to find Tyco a good home, Emily introduces Calvin to Tyco, who takes a sudden liking to him and starts to play Tug o' War with his shirt (a game he likes to play as mentioned by Emily). Emily instructs Calvin not to feed Tyco any Royal Hound dog food products or enter him in a dog show and that she needs a parent/guardian signature from him on the adoption papers, which he later tricks his mother into signing since his parents won't allow him to have a pet (not even a goldfish).
Later, Calvin asks Emily if he should be worried about germs but she assures him that "a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's"; a fact Calvin "finds very hard to believe" when he catches Tyco drinking out of a toilet. Emily also gives Calvin her home number in case he has problems with Tyco and that she will come by in 10 days for a standard post adoption interview just to make sure he is fit as Tyco's owner. Then, Emily reminds him that he is now responsible for Tyco.
A few days later, Calvin calls up Emily one night to see if she can help him with Tyco since he finds that "he's a little bit more than he bargained for." The next day, at the park, Calvin tries to get Tyco to sit until Emily arrives and teaches him the proper way through food, encouragement, patience, approval, and love. Then, they all spend some time having fun at the park.
The next day, at the Royal Hound's Obedience and Obstacle Dog trial, Calvin and Figg try to make an entrance for Tyco while avoiding being seen by Emily, who is on strike. Later, after Calvin and Tyco win the trial against Preston Price and his dog, Jacques and having had a discussion about Calvin with Figg at school, Emily arrives for the interview as she and Calvin are being "served some pizza" by Tyco. After playing Nintendo, saying yes for being asked to the Spring dance, and seeing Calvin with Tyco on T.V., Emily finally realizes Calvin's scheme (which was to win $5,000 first prize at the dog show in order to buy the last of the Gotham Man comic book to complete his collection), rejects going to the dance, and angrily leaves him when she refuses to believe that Calvin has somewhat changed, has a heart of gold, and he really loves Tyco since he refuses to not enter Tyco in the finals. Then, Figg arrives and finds posters of Tyco on the streets; claiming he is "a lost dog named Chester already belonging to a family", thus, forcing Calvin to give up Tyco to his "family". Calvin asks Figg to take down the posters but he refuses. Then, Calvin takes Tyco back to his real "family", refuses the reward money, and asks them to take care of him; much to his reluctance.
When Figg arrives on the day of the Royal Hound Top-Dog finals to see Calvin and finds out he "did the right thing", he goes to see Emily at the shelter and explains what happened until Emily discovers that the photo on the poster matches exactly like the one she took when Tyco was first brought into the shelter. When they tell Calvin the truth, he finally realizes it was Preston behind the plot and that Tyco's "family" were actually a couple of people he hired and paid to pretend that they were his real "family" as a way to exact his revenge for his humiliating defeat at the trials.
Calvin and Emily rescue Tyco from the phonies' basement while Figg provides a distraction by pretending to sell magazines and faking an asthma attack. Then, Calvin's parents drive the kids and Tyco to the finals. After Preston and his dog have finished their routine and score a 98, he is shocked and surprised to find Calvin and Tyco back just in time before their disqualifications. He even tells them that it will be impossible for them to beat his score but Calvin refuses to listen and continues anyway. Seeing as to how incredibly well Tyco and Calvin are performing with the whole skateboard-pulling routine through the dog obstacle courses, Emily, Figg, and Calvin's parents are seen cheering for them and Preston, worried that Calvin will win and refusing to admit defeat, takes his dog and decides to take matters into his own hands by sabotaging one of the dog obstacle courses during the show. Nevertheless, Calvin and Tyco still win, beat Preston's score by one point, and get a 99/100, and Preston gets disqualified for the sabotaging.
Along with using that reward money to buy the last comic book, Calvin uses the money for good. He gives the money to the shelter (where Tyco used to be) so that the dogs can have better homes. In the end, the shelter is saved and Figg along with many other people adopt a new pet. Calvin, Figg, Rondel, his mother, and his teammates now work as volunteers at the shelter. When Figg adopts a Chihuahua named Rufus and seeing how well he is performing with him, Calvin tries to talk Figg into teaming up with their dogs as a tag team with him as the manager "to help count all the money" for next year's competition while Emily tends to Tyco, who is then made a hero for having saved the shelter, and other dogs.
- When Calvin and Emily are playing Nintendo 64, there is no game in the system, but when they're done, there is.