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Western Animation / Scruffy

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A 1980s animated film, originally shown as a three-part series during ABC’s "Weekend Specials". It was based on The Tuesday Dog by Jack Stoneley. It follows the life of Scruffy, an orphaned puppy left to fend for herself on the streets. While the animation is simple by modern standards, the film is nevertheless a poignant discussion of the lives of stray animals. Despite being made with children in mind, there is little sugar-coating, and the film is often as bleak and depressing as it is heart-warming and touching.


This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The human villain Catlan and his dog Caesar were created just for the special. Also, Tibbles' mugging attempt was added in.
  • All Dogs Are Purebred: In the novel, at least. While Scruffy herself is an exception, the book otherwise displays this trope with all the other dogs she meets. The film seems to avert this.
  • Animal Talk: The special has all non-human animals able to communicate with one another through words. This is not the case in the book, which as in real life has barking and body language serving as the dogs' only means of communication.
  • Babies Ever After
  • Bloodless Carnage: Justified. Even without being shown from a distance, there are no signs of Duchess bleeding after she is least not yet.
  • Broken Aesop: There are unwanted pets living on the streets and being put to death every day, and it's up to us to think of ways to change this. Also, don't bother getting your pets spayed or neutered.
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  • Crapsack World: Certainly has its moments.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Expy: Scruffy and Butch bear a striking resemblance to Lady and the Tramp. Maybe even Rowf and Snitter from Richard Adams' The Plague Dogs in terms of personality and story.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Poor, poor Tibbles.
    • In the book, he died of natural causes.
  • Gender Equals Breed: Scruffy and Butch’s puppies.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The following exchange is more than a bit suspect.
    Sam: Hey Butch, who’s he? Oh! Hehe, my mistake; you’re a "her", not a "him"! My name’s Sam! *bumps noses* What’s yours?
    Scruffy: S-Scruffy.
    Butch: Errr, she’s not grown up yet, Sam.
    Sam: Oh. Well in that case... later, kiddo!
  • Grumpy Old Dog: Solo.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Caesar after his owner abandoned him.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The hunters that shot Duchess. They even think Scruffy herself (as a puppy) is posing a threat to the sheep! What the hell?
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Tibbles has one.
  • Killed Off for Real: Scruffy’s mother, Duchess. Also, Scruffy’s homeless master, Tibbles.
  • Lovable Rogue: Butch.
  • May–December Romance: Scruffy and Butch.
  • Narrating the Obvious: The narrator.
  • Parental Substitute: After her puppy died, Collie finds a new child...a boot.
    • In the book she is, for unexplained reasons, infertile, and her affection for the boot is partly due to her experiencing a false pregnancy.
  • Please Don't Leave Me
  • Please Wake Up
  • Plot Hole: A minor one in the book, wherein the collie is deaf which gets her non-fatally hit by a truck. At one point she hears Scruffy barking and rushes over to see what the trouble is.note 
  • Pounds Are Animal Prisons: Played with. The dog catchers do seem evil at first, but in reality, they're big hearted dog lovers who would prefer to never euthanize another dog. It's just a deeply unfortunate part of their job.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Scruffy. What do you expect?


Example of: