It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
A boy and his pet are nearly inseparable
, until the pet goes missing. For some reason, a character's pet will wander away from home, get kidnapped, or get himself lost some other way. This leads to two separate storylines. On one side, the pet is incredibly lost, scared, and desperately trying to get home
. The second story will involve the humans dealing with the loss of their pet, either by feeling miserable
or by actively searching for them
. In the end, the two parties will eventually reunite, often leading to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming
and maybe even An Aesop
May overlap with I Will Wait for You
where the human refuses to give up on waiting or to get a new pet. When the pet has been driven away by a cruel owner instead of lost, it's Come Back My Pet
. The human equivalent of this is There's No Place Like Home
The trope namer
is, of course, Tropey the Wonder Dog
- The original story Lassie Come-Home (1938) by Eric Knight was adapted into the beloved 1943 film Lassie Come Home, which is almost certainly the Trope Namer, and probably the Trope Codifier as well.
- Ribsy by Beverly Cleary: Ribsy is left in the Huggins' car in the mall parking lot. He pushes the button that opens the window and gets out of the car, but when he tries to find his way back he gets into the wrong car and another family takes him home. He spends the rest of the book finding his way back home.
- Pretty much the entire point of the short story Loveliness (1899) by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps. The titular dog is stolen and and his frail mistress, heartbroken, wastes away during the several months when he is missing. He gets found and everybody gets better and we learn that selling pets for medical experiments is bad .
- There's a Jimmy Neutron storybook titled Goddard, Come Home! Goddard goes missing, but, with help from a beagle named Billy, Jimmy is able to track him down to the hideout of the tyrannical robots who dognapped him.
- Goddard has actually gone missing about 3 times in the franchise, once in the above mentioned storybook, once in a comic from Nick Magazine and once in an actual episode of the series.
- A somewhat odd example appears in James Herriot's books - a farmer sadly sends off his old cow to the meat market, and when she breaks away from the herd and runs home, he is overjoyed and vows that she will never leave home again. Besides being in the original books, it was slightly edited for a children's story titled "Blossom Come Home".
- The Incredible Journey, about two dogs and a cat crossing the Canadian wilderness to get home. This novel would form the basis for a 1963 film adaptation of the same name and, much later, Homeward Bound.
- At one point, Hobbes gets lost in the woods, and Calvin's parents have to go look for him at night. Calvin's mom even calls out "Hobbes! Where are you?!"
- The "Highway Star" portion of Elite Beat Agents revolves around a pug's efforts to return home after being accidentally driven hundreds of miles away.
- When Chev "escapes" in Papi Nyang his owner spends a lot of time trying to find him, of course he's eventually trying to get home as well. Except she moved, to a place that would allow her to have cats (previously she was keeping her ownership of cats a secret).
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: In the episode "Appa's Lost Days" we follow the kidnapped Appa fighting abuse, starvation and loneliness as he tries to find Aang. For an episode about a character who can't even talk its incredibly moving.
- Snoopy Come Home is a light-hearted look at the concept. At least, until Snoopy decides to go back to his original owner. And then Snoopy learns that his original owner lives in a pet-free apartment complex, so he says goodbye to Lila and returns to Charlie Brown.
- Perry the Platypus in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Oh, there you are, Perry!". The song for that episode is actually called "Come Home Perry".
- The Proud Family: Oscar accidentally loses Sugar Mama's poodle, who is naturally upset about this until his return.
- A Pup Named Scooby-Doo: Scooby Doo runs away after feeling unappreciated, and of course, everyone goes looking for him.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: "Where's Gary?"
- The Aristocats: Duchess and the kittens are kidnapped and misplaced by the butler, Edgar. They try to find their way home while their owner worried frantically about them.
- Done with a twist in The Brave Little Toaster, in which the "pets" are household appliances. Radio even broadcasts one such story, which serves as motivation for the others.
- Spike leaves for an episode in Rugrats, for a long enough period for Stu to go through several new pets, including a tarantula and pair of gerbils. Subverted on the Spike half of the story, though: He gets taken in by a rich old man, who eventually brings him home. The man at the pound the Pickles go to even says this is a pretty common thing there.
- Another episode has Angelica kick Spike out after it refuses to participate in a pretend wedding ceremony the same time Tommy and Chuckie send her doll Cynthia on a boatride... down a sewer drain. Spike finds the doll in a garbage dump and, remembering Angelica, decides to leave it. However, when he remembers Tommy, he snatches it and heads back. No one really realizes he was gone.
- Ace's A Day in the Limelight episode of Batman Beyond, where he goes after the guy who used him in dogfights, leaving Terry torn between tracking him down, and investigating the dogfighter himself.
- Hey Arnold! episode "Abner come home".
- Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers has the episode "Zipper Come Home". The twist: Not only did Zipper, one of the team members and not a pet, decide for himself to leave due to lack of respect from the other Rangers, but he ends up being the king of a bug tribe.