[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/250px_dog_of_death_promo.jpg]]
Episode - 8F17\\
First Aired - 3/12/1992

The Simpsons must make budget cuts in order to pay for Santa's Little Helper's stomach surgery, but Santa's Little Helper runs away after the family expresses resentment for having to give up their favorite things in order to pay for the vet bill. Meanwhile, lottery fever hits Springfield, and local news anchor Kent Brockman hits the jackpot.

!!This episode contains examples of:
* AndroclesLion: In a sense, as Santa's Little Helper snaps out of his attack state once he realizes who he's supposed to (help) attack. In fact, SLH turns on Burns' hounds and changes them instantly from bloodthirsty killers to whimpering, sniveling cowards, literally saving Bart's life.
* BearsAreBadNews: Santa's Little Helper encounters one while roaming the countryside. The two fight, but it's Santa's Little Helper that wins.
* BlackComedyAnimalCruelty: A photo shows Homer strangling Santa's Little Helper.
* BorrowedCatchphrase: Lisa says "D'oh!" when Miss Hoover assigns the class to write a report on Copernicus, who's covered in the first encyclopedia volume she has to miss out on.
* BrandX: Encyclopedia Generica.
* ButtMonkey: The family all make sacrifices to pay for Santa's Little Helper's operation. They all end up suffering for it:
** Homer stops buying beer. He's forced to sing for quarters at Moe's to pay for a drink.
** Bart gets his hair cut for free at Springfield Barber College. One of the students accidentally shaves his head.
** Lisa stops buying encyclopedias, and the first volume she misses out on covers the explorer Copernicus. Miss Hoover then makes the class write a report on Copernicus. Lisa's forced to write her report using a third-rate Copernicus biography she found at the bus station.
** Maggie's baby clothes need to last a while longer. Her last set immediately falls apart and she has to sleep in a Crown Royal whisky bag.
** Marge gives up her weekly lottery ticket. This is the worst one of all, since Marge's numbers win $40,000 the week she stopped buying tickets. The family could have easily paid for Santa's Little Helper's operation without making any sacrifices.
* ComeBackMyPet: The family realizes that they were wrong in how they treated Santa's Little Helper and send Bart out to get him.
* ContinuityNod:
** The map of Springfield used to follow Santa's Little Helper's adventures when he runs away includes the "Music/MichaelJackson Expressway;" Mayor Quimby renamed the road that when everyone thought Jackson was coming to town in the Season Three opener "Stark Raving Dad".
** Ned is wearing his [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS2E16BartsDogGetsAnF Assassins sneakers]].
* DidntThinkThisThrough:
-->'''Homer:''' I've figured out an alternative to giving up my beer. Basically, we become a family of traveling acrobats!\\
'''Marge:''' ...I don't think you thought this through.
* DisneyDeath: Right before the first {{Act Break|s}}, Abe declares Santa's Little Helper dead. When the show returns from commercials, it turns out not to be the case, and Abe refuses to admit his mistake.
* {{Expy}}: The vet is a parody of Series/BenCasey.
* {{Flashback}}: Homer suggests that ''he'' could perform surgery on the dog, since as he sees it it wouldn't be any different from carving a turkey. We then go to a flashback to a previous meal as Homer proves no expert with an electric carving knife...
* FreezeFrameBonus: When Homer is hanging up the posters, you can see one of the Principal Skinner "Have you seen my body?" posters from "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS3E4BartTheMurderer Bart The Murderer]]".
* GoshDangItToHeck: After Bart learns they can't afford the operation to save Santa's Little Helper:
-->'''Marge''': Bart, I know you're upset.
-->'''Bart''': Darn right I'm upset!
-->'''Marge''': ''(Strictly)'' Bart! Watch your language! ''(Realizes)'' Oh, you did. Sorry.
* HeavenAndHell: "There can't be a 'Doggie Heaven' without a 'Doggie Hell'."
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Mr. Burns wanted Santa's Little Helper to be a vicious attack dog and ended up being one person the dog attacked. Considering he was wearing protective gear at the time, however, it was likely he anticipated this.
* {{Homage}}: Santa's Little Helper gets programmed into a killer in the same way that Alex was programmed ''not'' to kill in ''Film/AClockworkOrange''. The montage (which features violence against dogs and things dogs hate, like cats and Lyndon Johnson holding his dog by the ears) even features Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as the soundtrack.
* ItsAllMyFault: Bart really blames himself for making Santa's Little Helper run away.
* KickTheDog: In this episode, Burns not only tortures an actual dog to make him a killer, he sends him and the whole rest of the pack after a 10-year-old boy. However, Burns fails to count on SLH's instinct buried deep within him, denying him the satanic satisfaction of watching a young boy being mauled to death.
** Homer and Marge initially decide that it would be too costly ($750) to have Santa's Little Helper receive surgery, meaning that they would rather have their dog face a slow and painful death than find a way to afford his treatment.
** To pay for the operation, the family makes various cuts, including Homer giving up beers, Marge not partaking in her group's lottery ticket, Bart starts getting discount haircuts, and Lisa can no longer get encyclopedia volumes. Santa's Little Helper is saved, but the family is quickly grousing about the things they had to give up and shun the dog.
* TheLudovicoTechnique: Burns {{brainwash}}es Santa's Little Helper into being a vicious, soulless killer.
* MeaningfulBackgroundEvent: Santa's Little Helper can be seen sickly limping and falling down in the background multiple times while the story is still focused on the lottery.
* NearDeathExperience: Santa's Little Helper has one during his operation, proving that there ''is'' a Doggie Heaven (despite Homer's claim otherwise later in the episode).
* PetTheDog: Mr. Burns, of all people, gets one reminiscing about his favourite attack dog, the elderly Crippler.
-->'''Burns''': I remember the day he bagged his first hippie.
* ThePowerOfLove: How Bart gets through to the brainwashed Santa's Little Helper. Bart saying he loves him causes SLH to remember all the good times they had and snap out of it.
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: The story is loosely based in writer John Swartzwelder's experiences with his own dog, which had also suffered from bloat. However, unlike the events in the episode, Swartzwelder's dog did not receive treatment as the operation was too expensive and the dog was too old, so it was euthanized.
* RunningGag: Homer tossing a book in the fireplace when he realizes that it's useless.
* ShoutOut:
** People buy/check out from the library copies of Creator/ShirleyJackson's ''Literature/TheLottery'', thinking it's a how-to guide to winning the lottery, when really it's a short story about conformity gone mad.
** Creator/RayBradbury's ''{{Literature/Fahrenheit451}}'' also lies in the [[{{Irony}} fireplace]].
** While Santa's Little Helper strolls in the forest, music from ''Music/PeterAndTheWolf'' can be heard.
** Among the violent films Santa's Little Helper sees are the Hindenburg disaster and President UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson yanking a dog's ears (as he used to do in real life).
* SpecialGuest: Creator/FrankWelker as Santa's Little Helper
* TruthInTelevision: Santa's Little Helper's diagnosis of bloat is a health risk for several dog breeds in real life, including greyhounds.
* ThoseTwoGuys: The two barflies who teases Homer for making a fool of himself dancing for spare change.
* WouldHurtAChild: Mr. Burns. Unsurprisingly, really.
-->'''Smither''': I hate to interrupt your longevity treatment, sir, but there's a sweet little boy at the door.
-->'''Burns''': ''[without opening his eyes]'' Release the hounds!