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Tropey, Come Home

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More than a pet, you're my best friend
Too cool to forget, come back 'cause we are family and
Forgive me for making you want to roam.
Now my heart is beating like the saddest metronome.
Somwhere I hope you're reading my latest three-word poem:
"Gary come home."
Spongebob Squarepants, "Gary Come Home"

A boy/girl and his/her 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, maybe even with An Aesop or two.

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 getting 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.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • A major overarching arc of the first two seasons of the Johto era of Pokémon revolved around a Snubbull who ran away from home to escape a life of pampering. She ended up sticking around Team Rocket because, for some reason, she liked biting Meowth's tail. Her trainer, Madame Muchmoney, eventually got her back (after she evolved into a Granbull) by promising she wouldn't be spoiled anymore.
    • There's a single-episode version elsewhere in the Johto era, where Ash's Bayleef ran away when he got tired of her Stalker with a Crush antics.
  • The plot of Zero's Journey involves Zero getting lost in Christmas Town, with Jack sending Lock, Shock, and Barrel after him while he handles his duties in Halloween Town.

    Comic Books 
  • Early in Copperhead's first run Zeke volunteers to help Annie find her lost dog Hugo, leading them both into immediate peril. At the end of the run after a bloody battle Clara finally brings Hugo home.

    Comic Strips 
  • At one point in Calvin and Hobbes, 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?!"
    • An earlier storyline had a large dog stealing him, and worried fans of the strip even wrote letters to Bill Watterson hoping Hobbes was okay. Luckily, Susie came across him.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Mittens’s being accidentally abandoned and subsequently found in “The Mall” fits the trope description. Penny even creates a lost cat poster trying to get her back.

    Films — Animation 
  • One of the best known examples is the 1972 animated film Snoopy, Come Home. It starts out as 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.
  • Bolt: Bolt is separated from the girl who plays his companion. The rest of the film shows his search for her while she tries and fails to work with his replacement.
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey: Two dogs, Shadow and Chance, and a cat, Sassy, belong to a family who's moving to the big city for work reasons, so they are left in a friend's farm. The animals don't understand what's going on and eventually run away in order to find their family and go back home, having to brave mountains and forests to do so. The family also makes efforts towards finding them once they hear the news.
  • The Adventures of Milo and Otis. Milo the cat gets lost, with Otis trailing him, and they are trying to return home.
  • Animal, Come Back Animal from The Muppet Movie fits here.
  • The final segment of Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas had Mickey searching for Pluto, who had run away and ended up at the North Pole.
  • The film Gypsy Colt which is basically a variation of Lassie Come Home, but with a horse instead of a dog -it even mirrors some of the scenes from the film it takes it's inspiration from - such as the horse trotting through the village to meet the child as she comes out of school.
  • Hecks Way Home is another movie featuring a border collie trying to reunite with his family.

  • 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 Nickelodeon 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: The Incredible Journey.
  • Rain Reign: When Rose's beloved dog Rain goes missing during a hurricane, Rose frantically calls all the shelters in the are. Rain's previous owners did the same thing, even making flyers, but she was never found because she'd been adopted by Rose's father.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the opening flashback of one episode of Pushing Daisies, Digby goes on a journey to find Ned at boarding school.
  • Married... with Children: When Buck runs away, half the show is him in the pound, the other half is the family finally noticing he's gone, trying to replace him, arguing about going to find him, then finally picking him up at the pound.
  • The first episode of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo is about Skippy getting kidnapped and having to find his way home.
  • The Soup:
    • This happened many years ago on Talk Soup, when, in reference to a previous clip, John Henson was interrupted by an blurry foreground image of a bereft Gumby plaintively calling out for his lost horse, Pokey.
      Gumby: Pokey... Poooookey...!! ... Pokey?!
      John Henson: No, I'm not Pokey.
      Gumby: Oh. Okay. ... ... Pooookeyyy...!
    • Fans of the show were, of course, devastated that Gumby had been left hanging. Eventually, with a little celebrity encouragement, there was a tearful reunion.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • This trope comes up very frequently in the Trails Series where the heroes have to find a lost cat and bring it back to the owner.

    Web Comics 
  • 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).

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball "The Origins" makes this Darwin's backstory. A young Darwin accidentally gets flushed down the toilet and is separated from Gumball back when he was still just a pet. His journey home is what caused him to grow his lungs and legs.
  • 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.
  • 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,Trudy and Penny 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?"
  • Rugrats:
    • Spike leaves for an episode, 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 he 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.
  • Arthur:
    • The episode "Arthur's Lost Dog" had Pal seemingly run away from Arthur and the family. They didn't realize Pal was only trying to get a balloon from Pickles the Clown to give to Baby Kate.
    • An In-Universe example in "Arthur Makes a Movie," where Arthur has to see a movie entitled Kitty, Come Home with his family in the theater.
  • 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 to leave himself due to lack of respect from the other Rangers, but he ends up being the king of a bug tribe.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Sunspot's Night Out", Sunspot goes missing in the neighborhood, and the gang tracks him using the North Star. Mitchell's dog Cody also went missing. Turns out, they were both performing in an animal choir.
    • In "You Can Call Me Albedo", Cody runs away after Mitchell makes him wear a black sweater.
  • Big City Greens: In the episode "Phoenix Rises", Cricket's dog Phoenix runs away from home after sensing something, and the family (plus Remy) goes out to look for him. Ultimately, their search proves fruitless and the give up, but Phoenix returns home soon afterwards with what had caught her attention: Cricket's Missing Mom, who has just been released from prison.
  • Steven Universe: Subverted in the episode "Kevin Party", Steven puts up missing posters of Lion when he notices that Lion hasn't returned home for a few weeks and he needs him in order to visit Lars and the Off Colors who are currently stranded in space. It turns out Lion has been staying with Connie the entire time as he is angry at Steven for ignoring Connie's feelings over his surrender to Homeworld. Following Steven and Connie's reconciliation, Lion forgives Steven as well and returns home with him towards the end of the episode. The following episode "Lars of the Stars" shows that Lion is once again under Steven's care and is on good terms with him.
  • Hilda: Season 2's chapter 9 resolves around Hilda's Deerfox Twig running away from home, and Hilda going after him to find him.


Video Example(s):


Come Home, Perry

Phineas, Ferb and the gang use the power of music to help Perry come home.

How well does it match the trope?

3 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / TropeyComeHome

Media sources:

Main / TropeyComeHome