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Separate Vocations
Dog of Death
Colonel Homer

"I'm not giving up. I don't care if I have to knock on every door in this two-bit town. I'm going to find my dog!"
Bart Simpson

"Dog of Death" is the nineteenth episode of Season 3, and the show's 54th episode overall.


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, everyone in Springfield is gunning for a chance at a $130 million-dollar lottery jackpot.

Full Story[]

Springfield is "in the grip of lottery fever" with a $130 million jackpot and, as a result, an ailing Santa's Little Helper is ignored.

Once he is discovered to be sick, the family rushes him to the hospital to undergo an emergency operation. Homer is saddened to tell Bart and Lisa that they just can't afford the $750 for the operation, but seeing how much everyone, including himself, loves the dog, he resolves to finding a way to pay for it.

To save up the money, the family makes budget cuts, having everyone give up their small luxuries. Among other things, Homer has to give up beer, Marge has to forgo her weekly lottery ticket, Bart has to have his hair cut for free at the Springfield Barber College, Lisa has to forgo the fourth edition of Encyclopedia Generica: Copernicus to Elephantiasis, and Maggie's clothes have to last a little longer.

Matters begin to fall apart after it is found that Marge's regular numbers would have won $40,000, and the family begin to resent the dog for forcing them to lose out on the things they enjoy, as Homer is reduced to singing at Moe's for petty money, Maggie's clothes split open, Bart gets a terrible haircut, and Lisa coincidentally has a school report on Copernicus and because the dog at her book the only copy she has was one on a bus.

Feeling ignored and hurt, Santa's Little Helper runs away from home and goes off in an adventure, only to be adopted by Mr. Burns, who trains the hound to become one of his vicious attack hounds. After a long brainwashing process, which includes having The Simpson family dog watch a film reel consisting of dogs betrayed by their owners, and being trained to attack Mr. Burns wearing a protection suit, Santa's Little Helper in turn becomes a bloodthirsty killer.

In the meantime, the family, feeling remorse for their behavior, choose to bring their hound back. While putting out posters, Bart passes Mr. Burns' mansion as well, only to discover Santa's Little Helper among the other vicious dogs. When the dog leaps forward to attack, he suddenly remembers all the good times they had, and snaps out of his brainwashed state. Briefly embracing each other in joy, Santa's Little Helper then turns to the other dogs, still bent on attacking Bart. As he growls, the other dogs cower back in fear, and run off. Bart then goes home with Santa's Little Helper, greeted by their loving family.

The episode finishes with a disclaimer: "No dogs were harmed in the filming of this episode. A cat got sick and somebody shot a duck, but that's it."


Season 2 Season 3 Episodes Season 4
Stark Raving DadMr. Lisa Goes to WashingtonWhen Flanders FailedBart the MurdererHomer DefinedLike Father, Like ClownTreehouse of Horror IILisa's PonySaturdays of ThunderFlaming Moe'sBurns Verkaufen der KraftwerkI Married MargeRadio BartLisa the GreekHomer AloneBart the LoverHomer at the BatSeparate VocationsDog of DeathColonel HomerBlack WidowerThe Otto ShowBart's Friend Falls in LoveBrother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?