[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/just_for_sidekicks_8983.png]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[AceVentura Spike Ventura: Pet Defective]]]]

->'''Spike:''' What I say, goes!\\
'''Owlowiscious:''' Hoo!\\
'''Spike:''' [[WhosOnFirst Spike, the boss of you, that's who!]]

->Written by Corey Powell

Spike is eagerly making a jewel-encrusted cake all for himself, but thoughtlessly eats his entire stash of jewels before he can get started. And if he weren't feeling bad enough, he wasn't even invited to the Crystal Empire with Twilight and friends to [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E12GamesPoniesPlay welcome the head of the Equestria Games]]. Just then, Fluttershy comes over and lifts his spirits by offering him a big, juicy jewel for his cake...if he looks after Angel Bunny while she's away, that is. Without a second thought, Spike gets the ''brilliant'' idea of convincing everypony else to let him watch their pets in exchange for more jewels. By the time the six ponies ship out to the Crystal Empire, Spike has a small stash of jewels of every shape and size--and a library full of critters that he has no idea how to take care of!

Spike would much rather finish his cake than look after the unruly pets, particularly Angel, who bounces away the first chance he gets. Spike chases Angel to the Cutie Mark Crusaders' clubhouse and finds the bunny better enjoys the company of Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle, so he gets another idea: leave ''all'' the pets with the Crusaders so they can "get their critter-sitting cutie marks"! But Apple Bloom demands one of Spike's jewels in return so they can pay for petsitting supplies. Now not only is Spike short one jewel, but he later discovers that the Crusaders are (shockingly) no better petsitters than he is and have already spent the jewel on a giant pet hairdryer.

The day keeps getting worse for Spike as he tries to find more ponies to shift his responsibilities onto: Zecora takes a jewel in an offer to relieve him of his "bad mojo", which turns out to be his dragon greed and not the pets as he hopes; and he bribes Granny Smith with another jewel to keep her mouth shut about his questionable petsitting methods. Soon Angel Bunny gets loose again and boards a train, and Spike pretends to chaperon the Cutie Mark Crusaders to convince the conductor to let him and the pets board, giving up yet another jewel for payment. Unfortunately, they only catch Angel right as the train departs--straight for the Crystal Empire, no less!

Once they get to the empire--and Spike gives away his second-to-last jewel to pay for a wrecked donut cart--Angel sees Fluttershy and friends at the station, and once again gets loose to reunite with his owner. Spike desperately throws his final, biggest jewel and knocks down a tower of luggage to block Angel's path so he can catch the bunny. Spike, the pets, and the Crusaders all board the train back to Ponyville but, unluckily for them, all have to hide in the same car as the six ponies.

Angel threatens to expose Spike to the oblivious ponies, but overhearing Twilight compliment what a great petsitter Spike is makes the guilty dragon realize he's been anything but and deserves to get caught. Angel has a change of heart, but Spike's sudden stomach-rumbling threatens to expose them all instead, so Angel saves everyone by fetching the big jewel and feeding Spike half of it. They all return to Ponyville and get off the train in time to meet Twilight and their friends, who remain none the wiser to the sidekicks' misadventures. Spike finally goes back to making his jewel cake...only to thoughtlessly eat the rest of his last jewel.
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'''Note:''' [[OutOfOrder This is the eighth episode of the third season, but the eleventh aired.]]

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!!Tropes present in this episode: [[YMMV/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E8JustForSidekicks YMMV tropes here]]

* AesopAmnesia: Played with. Despite how awful he felt at the time, Spike seems to have forgotten the disastrous events resulting from his greed on his first birthday in Ponyville, until Zecora pointedly reminds him. It's possible that Spike doesn't feel he's being too greedy himself since he's not getting the jewels by force but as payment for a service he's offering.
* AmusingInjuries: As it usually happens in Spike-centered episodes. The most common one is Tank crashing into him.
* AndYourRewardIsEdible[=/=]FoodAsBribe: Spike goes to great lengths for a jewelry feast.
* ArgumentOfContradictions: Pinkie Pie has one with her alligator Gummy, though, of course, we only get to hear her side.
-->'''Pinkie:''' No, I love ''you'' more! ''No, I love '''you''' more!'' '''''I LOVE YOU MORE!'''''
* AsYouKnow: Fluttershy informs Spike that [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E12GamesPoniesPlay she and the rest of the Mane Six will be going to the Crystal Empire to welcome the head of the Equestria Games]], just when Spike is feeling particularly bitter that he wasn't invited to come in the first place.
* BabysittingEpisode: Spike pet-sits for all the mane six. He's mainly interested in the gems he received as payment, and he spends the bare minimum of time actually watching the pets. This comes back to bite him when one of the pets, Angel Bunny, resents being ignored and runs away; Spike is run through the wringer trying to get Angel back.
* [[BadlyBatteredBabysitter Badly Battered Petsitter]]
** Spike finds himself in way over his head trying to take care of all the pets.
** The CMC are battered even worse during their brief stint.
* BadassAdorable[=/=]CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Spike goes to sometimes elaborate means to keep the pets in line. Not to mention proves to be MadeOfIron throughout.
* BigBallOfViolence: The pets get into one.
* BigWordShout: Spike screams "WHY?!" twice when he realizes he's out of gems.
* BittersweetEnding: Spike manages to get all the pets in line before anyone's the wiser, however he sacrifices all his gems in the process, and obliviously eats his remaining one, much to his despair.
* BookEnds: The episode begins and ends with Spike eating the gems for his cake, prompting one big '''[[SkywardScream WHY!?]]'''
* BrattyHalfPint: Angel Bunny's defining personality trait. Justified in this episode because he realizes Spike doesn't know how to take care of the pets, so the rabbit feels NoSympathy for the dragon and therefore sees no problem on giving him a bad time on purpose.
* BrickJoke
** In the opening, Spike keeps eating the gems he is planning to add to the cake to the point there are none left; at the end, he eats the single one remaining he got for critter-sitting.
** Rainbow Dash advises Spike to get a helmet, saying that he would only want to get hit in the head by a turtle once. Later, before he goes looking for Angel, Spike gets hit in the head by Tank: cue a scene cut to Spike walking all the animals with a helmet on his head. Further on, as soon as he hands over the rest of the pets to the CMC, he dumps the helmet on Scootaloo's head, who then is promptly hit by Tank.
* BSODSong: After accidentally eating all the jewels he saved for his cake, Spike begins to sing a song about how miserable he is, [[MusicalisInterruptus but doesn't even finish the first verse before Fluttershy comes knocking]].
* BulletTime: When Spike throws the jewel to try to stop Angel. Accompanied by a StockSoundEffect (see below).
* BurningWithAnger: Spike, after he is trampled into the ground by the escaped pets.
* ButtMonkey: As if the pets didn't cause him enough trouble, he losses the gems he endures for to make up for the trouble. Justified as, this time, be brought it all on himself with his greed.
* CallBack:
** Spike and Angel are both against the idea of Spike looking after him, considering how much trouble Angel was for Spike [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E7Dragonshy the last time around]].
** Spike's greed seems to be [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E10SecretOfMyExcess kicking in again]]. Zecora even alludes to this, taking one of his gems and donating it to charity for him.
* TheCameo
** The crazy, barking pony from "Read It and Weep" (Screw Loose), along with Nurse Coldheart, can be seen during one of the shots in town.
** The skinny, nerdy pony ("Gizmo") from "Putting your Hoof Down" is back and now owns a potions store.
** Donut Joe is selling donuts on the train.
* CharacterDevelopment:
** True to his inherent dragon nature, Spike's main concern at the start of the episode is for jewels. As he crosses more ponies who demand jewels for helping him through his misadventures, Spike becomes more and more willing to give them away until the end, when he finally sacrifices his last jewel to get out of a mess all on his own.
** All the ponies' housepets now have established distinctive personalities to some extent.
* ChaseScene: Spike chasing Angel at the train station.
* [[ChekhovsSkill Chekhov's Lack of Skill]]: The sequence of photos with Peewee show that Spike isn't that great a pet sitter even if his heart is in the right place.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: It's doubtful the CMC will reach terminal airspeed velocity needed for skydiving by jumping from the top of the Ponyville bridge.
* ComicallySmallBribe: Played with. Rarity pays Spike with the tiniest jewel, so it's the smallest payment he gets, since he wants to use it for food. Later, the Cutie Mark Crusaders use that same gem to buy a humongous and obviously quite expensive hairdryer, so this jewel obviously has a very high monetary value. For comparison's sake, Spike used two of the biggest gems to pay for train tickets (though cross-country, round-trip train tickets for four people and a bunch of pets wouldn't be at all cheap) and ''a tray of donuts''. [[labelnote:explanation]]This is FridgeBrilliance, however, when you consider that the size of the gem ''doesn't'' indicate its monetary value. The jewel that Rarity gave to Spike could be a [[http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/5583/8530676_1s.jpg?v=8CBB4EBD63309F0 Pigeon Blood Ruby]], which is one of the rarest gems in existence, and therefore valuable. What Fluttershy gave Spike looked like [[http://www.mysticfamiliar.com/library/crystals/images/em2.jpg an emerald]], and emeralds are more common than rubies.[[/labelnote]] At the same time, as a dragon, the monetary value of a gem doesn't matter nearly as much as its size and taste. Spike using the smallest gem as payment to the [=CMCs=] is much less a sacrifice to him than would be the largest.
* ContinuityNod:
** A series of photos show that Spike eventually [[PutOnABus returned Peewee to his parents]], thus explaining his absence.
** Spike is wearing his [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E21DragonQuest heart apron]] again.
** Spike still thinks Owlowiscious is asking "Who?" every time the Owl hoots.
** Spike seems to have a flair for [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E19ADogAndPonyShow screaming dramatically towards the sky]].
** [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E7MayTheBestPetWin Everyone keeps calling Tank a turtle instead of a tortoise]], except this time [[InsistentTerminology Fluttershy isn't around to correct them]] when it happens.
** Spike assures the Mane Six that he can handle pet-sitting, then closes the door and turns around, getting a taste of how tricky the job will really be, just like Pinkie Pie in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E12BabyCakes "Baby Cakes"]].
** You can see Screw Loose from "Read it and Weep" released and reinserted into society [[MeaningfulBackgroundEvent in the background.]]
** Big Mac and Cheerilee are seen [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E17HeartsAndHoovesDay walking down the street together]].
** In "The Last Roundup," Golden Harvest (a.k.a. Carrot Top) and a gray unicorn stallion ([[FanNickname nicknamed]] Written Script by the fandom) were in a few scenes together and implied to be a couple. In this episode, they can be seen nuzzling affectionately at the Crystal Empire train station.
** This isn't the first time the Crusaders have had to [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E17HeartsAndHoovesDay use one of Scootaloo's feathers to get the job done]].
* CruelToBeKind: Zecora takes one of Spike's gems and gives it to charity... in order to prevent his natural greed from getting the better of him. As mentioned above, [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E10SecretOfMyExcess for good reason.]]
* CutenessProximity:
** Rarity's reaction to Tank licking Rainbow Dash.
** The CMC's reaction to Angel.
* ADayInTheLimelight: Spike. The pets also get more focus than in previous episodes.
* DeathGlare: [[BrattyHalfPint Angel]] provokes a good amount of these throughout the episode.
* DevilInPlainSight: Angel. The CMC love him, while Spike and the other pets (even Gummy) react with disdain.
* DogWalksYou: Spike bringing the pets along on leashes is a strange sight. Naturally, Winona is the one plowing ahead while the others keep up (and Opal being dragged along). As seen in the page image, Tank and Owlowiscious are keeping Spike hovering slightly above the ground, meaning Winona gets total control over where Spike and the other pets go.
* DudeWheresMyRespect: Spike helped Cadance save the Crystal Empire, yet she doesn't invite him to help the others with welcoming the Head of the Equestria Games.
** DramaticIrony: By [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E12GamesPoniesPlay "Games Ponies Play"]], it's made evident that Cadance's reasons for not inviting him turn out to be more understandable.
* EasilyOverheardConversation[=/=]TrickDialogue: Spike really gets a good scare when accidentally overhearing the Cutie Mark Crusaders discussing how they take care of the pets.
-->'''Scootaloo:''' ''(from inside the CMC clubhouse)'': Has anyone seen Tank's head? Where's his head?!\\
''(Spike barges into the clubhouse)''\\
'''Spike:''' What have you done to the turtle?!\\
''(Tank's head pops out from inside his shell)''\\
'''Scootaloo:''' Oh, I totally forgot he could do that.
* EmpathyPet: Throughout with Owlowiscious, and by Angel in the finale. All the pets, save Angel, also give a glare at the bunny when he jumps the Friendship Express, mimicking Spike's own feelings towards Angel.
* EveryoneHasStandards: All the pets indirectly cause havoc for Spike, but loathe Angel, who ''deliberately'' tries to give the dragon a hard time.
* {{Eyedscreen}}: Twice. Both punctuated by Spike's "Angel!"
* FacePalm: Spike, at the sight of the industrial-sized pet hairdryer.
* FascinatingEyebrow: Owlowiscious gets one in reaction to Spike's "now you see 'em, now you don't" trick.
* FawltyTowersPlot: Spike uses one gem after another to cover up his lie about being a good petsitter. It would have come crashing down on him at the train if Angel didn't decide to cut him a break.
* FromBadToWorse: Spike's problems to keep the pets under control and save his jewels.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent:
** Fluttershy doesn't even notice Angel pretty much begging her to save him from Owlowiscious.
** While Spike is walking the pets, Screw Loose, the patient from "Read It and Weep" who thought she was a dog, now lives in a house. The nurse outside turns away from her for a moment, hears Winona's barking, and turns back to her patient in alarm. Screw Loose gives her a look that seems to say "It's not me this time!"
** At the end, when Spike shouts "WHY?", Winona howls along with him.
* FurryReminder: Angel the rabbit is terrified of owls.
* GetRichQuickScheme: Spike makes his friends pay with gems in order to make his jewel cake.
* GrowlingGut: Spike's stomach is noisy when he's hungry.
* HiddenHeartOfGold: Rainbow Dash makes sure nopony is watching when she gives Tank a goodbye nose rub, and then quickly plays it off as if nothing happened.
* HouseHusband: A non-romantic example. Spike stays at home to do the chores while Twilight and the girls go out to work.
* IntelligibleUnintelligible: Subverted; Pinkie acts like she understands Gummy's... nothing, really, but it's obvious she's just guessing.
* IronButtMonkey: The only reason Spike can still keep going despite all his AmusingInjuries.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Spike and Angel towards each other. Spike has previously shown that he doesn't like Angel, and Angel's antics throughout the episode don't really change that. Then at the end, when Spike confesses that he should have been taking care of pets instead of focusing on his cake, Angel grabs Spike's last gem and feeds half of it to the hungry dragon to save them all from being caught by the Mane Six.
* TheKlutz: Tank hasn't gotten the hang of flying around; an excuse for why he gives Spike as much trouble as the others. {{Justified|Trope}} because Tank is a tortoise and lacks the quick reflexes to make him an effective pilot.
* LaserGuidedKarma: Spike selfishly persuades his friends to give him jewels just so he can make a cake for himself. So each time he finds himself in a mess and needs to get out of it, he fittingly loses a jewel.
* LickedByTheDog[=/=]PetTheDog: Literal examples. The whole episode is a PetTheDog occasion from the writers to all the pets, giving them the chance to shine by their own.
* LooseLips[=/=]SayingTooMuch: When greeting Rarity, Sweetie Belle mentions the snow globes at the Crystal Empire's train station. Rarity immediately gets suspicious of this, and it's obvious she doesn't buy Sweetie's excuse.
* LowerDeckEpisode: {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d by the title. Due to some organizational changes in the sequencing of the season episodes, the episode this one plays lower deck to airs after it.
* LoyalAnimalCompanion:
** Though her rambunctious and hyperactive tendancies still cause trouble, Winona is the only animal to ''immediately'' obey Spike's orders.
** Owlowiscious is the second-most cooperative, being VitriolicBestBuds with Spike.
* LudicrousPrecision: Rarity proclaims that Opal requires a precise 81.4 degrees (scale unspecified, presumed to be Fahrenheit) to be comfortable. When she is in the library to hand Opal off to Spike, she states, "It's a chilly 81.2 in here."
* MobstacleCourse: Spike chasing Angel at the Crystal Empire's station.
* MusicalisInterruptus: See BSODSong.
* NeverWorkWithChildrenOrAnimals: The main lesson Spike learns in this episode since 'don't be greedy' didn't stick.
* NoodleIncident:
-->'''Rainbow Dash:''' All I'm saying is that you might wanna think about a helmet. You only wanna be hit in the head by a flying turtle...once.
** Also, what happened at the CMC clubhouse between when Spike leaves the pets with them, and when he runs back fearing that Tank's literally lost his head after hearing Scootaloo's comment. How ''did'' Owlowiscious end up stuck to the wall like that?
* NoSympathy: Spike and Angel both bounce this off each other. Spike is preoccupied with his gems and doesn't care about caring for Angel, who misses his owner, which the latter is vehement on reuniting with and couldn't care less what trouble he causes Spike in the process. Averted by the end of the episode, where they both seem to undergo a JerkassRealization.
* NotSoStoic: This episode marks the first time both Owlowiscious and Gummy convey clear facial expressions. Owlowiscious acts as a SilentSnarker while Gummy shows subdued but visible angry and happy emotions.
* ObliviousGuiltSlinging: Twilight, who doesn't realize Spike and the pets are hiding in their train cabin, reassures Applejack with her faith in Spike as a petsitter. Seeing how Spike's been anything but a good petsitter throughout the entire episode, this really hits Spike where it hurts.
* OddFriendship: It seems Spike and Owlowiscious have become pretty friendly to each other since their [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E24OwlsWellThatEndsWell earlier friction between each other]]. [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E7MayTheBestPetWin Similarly]], among the pets, Tank and Opal spend most of the episode together; they even rub heads as a sign of affection, and when the pets board the train, Tank (thanks to his flying device) carries Opal so she doesn't need to walk. Owlowiscious spends a good bit of time carrying Gummy as well.
* TheOner: The shot where the Mane Six bid farewell to their pets before leaving.
* [[OnlySaneMan Only Sane Pet]]: Owlowiscious seems to have the most sense out of all the pets, not to mention more sense than the pet''sitter''.
* OutOfOrder: This is episode 8 of season 3, but it was pushed back to be the 11th aired so that it could air just before [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E12GamesPoniesPlay "Games Ponies Play"]].
* PracticalCurrency: Played with; Spike is getting paid with jewels, something that isn't that practical in RealLife but, in-universe, is a dragon's favorite food. They're also valuable to ponies as well, but their individual worth is very difficult to calculate; the tiniest of Spike's gems (which would likely fit in even Angel's paw) is worth enough bits to buy an industrial-sized pet hairdryer, while the bigger gems are used to pay for a few train tickets and a tray of donuts. Further complicating matters is that Spike isn't using them as proper currency, but as bribes. Rather than getting the full measure of their value, Spike was just handing them over to make problems go away. All that one can say for certain is that a given jewel was enough to make a given problem disappear.
* ProBonoBarter: As said above, Spike is getting paid with food (jewels) instead of bits, the show's normal currency.
* ThePunishmentIsTheCrime: When Spike apologizes to the pets for neglecting them, Angel decides that Spike has suffered enough and helps Spike evade the Mane Six and further punishment.
* PutOnABus: Spike returned Peewee back to his parents.
* [[RealMenHateAffection Real Tomboys Hate Affection]]: Rainbow Dash doesn't really want to be seen showing affection but does nuzzle Tank anyway. Going right back to her awkward stance after it is done.
* RuleOfThree: Spike has three encounters with Tank crashing into his head before he starts wearing a crash helmet.
* RunningGag
** Spike [[{{Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E24OwlsWellThatEndsWell}} continues]] to interpret Owlowiscious's hoots as him repeatedly asking "[[WhosOnFirst Who?]]".
** Through the whole episode, Tank and his very bad flying.
* SchizoTech: The ''industrial-sized'' pet dryer.
* TheScrappy: InUniverse. All of the pets share Spike's dislike of Angel. Even ''[[TheStoic Gummy]]'' [[http://derpiboo.ru/224901 narrows his eyes at Angel.]]
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: Spike gets out of a lot of trouble by throwing his gems around. Train tickets, property damage, mild animal abuse...
* ShaggyDogStory: Spike goes through all sorts of crap to make his jewel cake, only for him to continually have to spend the jewels to get himself out of trouble, until he's only got one left... which he eats prematurely... ''again''.
* ShipTease: Doubling as FunnyBackgroundEvent -- as Spike gets tied up around the tree, Cherilee and Big Macintosh are walking together down a Ponyville street, eventually disappearing offscreen.
* ShoutOut
** Spike's little song to himself while he's preparing his cake in the opening is a reference to Bill Cosby's famous [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuamlBQ2aW4 "Chocolate Cake for Breakfast"]] routine. (The reference comes at about the 7:00 mark.)
** As said before, [[Series/BuffytheVampireSlayer Spike and Angel]] do not get along.
* SilentSnarker: Owlowiscious can say 'who/hoo' but that's it.
* SkywardScream: Spike has two.
* SquashedFlat: Winona is subjected to this by the [[ItMakesSenseInContext industrial pet hairdryer]]. Unlike typical examples, this is shown to be non-injurious and ''Winona is thoroughly enjoying herself.''
* {{Squee}}: Sweetie Belle's reaction to visiting the Crystal Empire.
* StockSoundEffects: When Spike throws his last jewel to stop Angel at the end of the episode, the accompanying sound [[TheSixMillionDollarMan might be familiar]].
* SubvertedRhymeEveryOccasion:
-->'''Spike:''' I have no jewels, I have no cake\\
I'm a sad little dragon with nothing to--\\
''(door knock)''\\
'''Owlowiscious:''' Who...\\
'''Spike:''' ...is it?
* SynchronousEpisodes: This episode takes place at the same time as [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E12GamesPoniesPlay the one four episodes later]]. [[OutOfOrder The initial airings were rescheduled to put them next to each other.]]
* TagalongKid: The Cutie Mark Crusaders are dragged along on the train ride because Spike needs a chaprone for the pets.
* ThisIsGonnaSuck: The moment the Mane Six leave Spike alone with the pets, the dragon realizes this work might be too much for him.
* TickleTorture: The CMC use this on Spike when he tries to stop them from investigating the Crystal Empire.
* {{Tsundere}}: Tank attracts them
** Rainbow Dash insists that she isn't hiring Spike to petsit Tank because she's worried he'll hurt himself but that he might 'slack off' while she's gone. Then he licks her cheek and she blushes.
** Opal [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4PgXFxQv1Y sums the trope up with Tank]]; [[SlapSlapKiss head smack followed by nuzzle]].
* WatchOutForThatTree: Spike is dragged into slamming in a tree by Tank and Winona.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: {{Averted}}. Peewee, Spike's adoptive phoenix from "Dragon Quest", is shown in a series of framed photographs in the library during the ColdOpen to have been returned to a set of phoenix parents (presumably his original parents) by Spike. Likely because of an incident involving ice cream and Twilight's mane.
* WingdingEyes: When Fluttershy shows Spike the Jewel that she was carrying, Spike's eyes turn into the jewel.
* YankTheDogsChain: Yanked by the "dog" himself. Spike, after having to put up with the pets and having to give away all but one of his gems, unknowingly eats his last gem... ''[[WhatAnIdiot again!]]''
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