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"But in my heart's a memory, and there, you'll always be."—Widow Tweed, The Fox and the Hound
Don't look at me like that, Tropey! You know what'll happen if we keep you! Go on, get out of here! It's for your own good, dang it! Shoo! I gotta leave you behind, and there ain't two ways about it! Go!
... Goodbye, Tropey. I'll miss you. *sniffle*
Some specific reasons for sending an animal/friend away, drawn from the examples below:
- To send an animal back to live in the wild where it belongs.
- To put someone in a better situation for them.
- To get them out of a dangerous situation.
- To keep them from following you into a dangerous situation.
- The animal itself is dangerous, such as an exotic animal, beast god, space alien, etc.
Don't be surprised if, despite your best effort to spare them, they decide that You Are Worth Hell.
Anime and Manga
- Preposterously common throughout the Pokémon franchise, besides the video games.
- This is mainly because there is no reason to release a Pokémon in the game unless you bottlenecked on your limit and really have no more use for them. Most people who release pokémon are releasing the ones that they bred (at level 5 or 1 depending upon which generation you are breeding) and waiting for the one that they really want. In the Pokémon world, it would be like throwing helpless pokémon out onto the street and/or to be killed by other wild pokémon.
- Sakaki does this with Maaya, a wild Iriomote cat, in the episode of Azumanga Daioh in which she first encounters him. He comes back in a simultaneous Crowning Moment of Awesome and Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- Another human example in Shinkon Gattai Godannar. Lou was just about ready to defend her base alongside her father... who suddenly set her mecha to launch to Earth, abandoning him to die in a hopeless fight. He still have time to say about the things listed in this trope, much to her dismay.
- A possible example occurs in Kanon where Yuuichi remembers caring for (and becoming quite attached to) a fox that had broken its leg, but once healed he has to take it back in the wild because he has to leave town. Needless to say, both parties are quite distraught. The fox finds Yuuichi upon his return as the human girl, Makoto. Her feeling of loss at their parting is why she is so beset by irrational anger at him.
- Code Geass: Lelouch does this a couple of times to Kallen in R2. In the first instance, he pretends that he was merely using Kallen as a pawn to drive her away, when in reality he was trying to save her from being killed by the rebelling Black Knights. He betrays his intentions with a soft, barely audible, "Live on, Kallen." In the second instance, when Kallen confronts the newly-crowned Emperor Lelouch about his parting sentence and kisses him, he feigns a lack of emotion to again drive her away and make sure that when he dies as part of his planned Zero Requiem, Kallen will not die with him.
- This happens once in Final Fantasy Unlimited when the party runs into a herd of wild chocobo. Yu, upon realizing that his pet chocobo will probably never see the herd again, encourages him to go off with them. Chobi returns triumphantly at the end of the episode to save Yu's life. Aww.
- Ace attempts to do this for Luffy in One Piece as Luffy plunges headfirst into the battle at Marineford and is attacked on all sides by the Seven Warlords of the Sea and Marine officers in an attempt to rescue Ace from his execution. Ace shouts for Luffy to go away, stating that they have their own crews and Luffy is under no obligation to rescue him. He even states that it would be "humiliating" to be saved by a "weakling" like Luffy, all the while silently begging for Luffy not to involve himself in Ace's mistake. Luffy of course just ignores this and shouts that he's Ace's little brother and promises to save Ace even if it killed him. Awww!
- Done even earlier with Nami and Robin, who, despite having become attached to Luffy and the rest of the crew in spite of not being inclined to view their association with him as a temporary alliance, don't think he is willing or able to overcome their problems. Nami in particular does this by stealing the ship and pretending to kill Usopp to save his life from Arlong, which actually temporarily succeeds in convincing Zoro into thinking that Nami is truly evil (but by the time Robin is thought to have betrayed the Straw Hats, he remains open to either possibility being true).
- Chopper gets this from Hiruluk in his backstory after he recovers from his injuries, as Hiruluk is Secretly Dying from an uncurable disease, and to avoid having Chopper see him die, he kicks him out of his house and even shoots at him when he tries to return. After learning this, Chopper sets off to find a cure, only to end up accidentally fatally poisoning Hiruluk, who goes off into a trap and chooses to die on his own terms.
- Utakata, host of the Six-Tailed Slug does this to his student Hotaru in the Naruto Filler arcs because he is a fugitive for killing his master. He eventually comes to terms with his issues, then when he's prepared to train her, gets captured by Pain and has his Tailed Beast extracted, killing him.
- Misato decides to send Pen Pen off to live with Hikari's family in episode 24 of Evangelion because she doesn't know if their apartment will stay safe from another incident like EVA-00's self-destruction.
- The Mall Rats in the Gold Digger miniseries Throne of Shadows. Lydia McKracken sends away her friends Moisha Rich and Romeo Ellis by insulting them. She knows that as Gothwrain's heir she's the target of every criminal overlord on the planet, and that her friends are as doomed as she is if they stay with her.
- In a Crowning Moment Of Tearjerking for The Fox and The Hound, Widow Tweed realizes that Tod is no longer safe with her and releases him into a part of the forest where hunting is not allowed. The accompanying song makes it a hundred times sadder.
- Inverted Trope in The Jerk, where the dog very clearly wants to leave, but poor Navin is too overcome with emotion to let him go.
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids did this with a (comparatively) giant ant, who eventually came back to pull a Heroic Sacrifice and save the titular kids from a (comparatively) giant scorpion.
- Happens in Equilibrium, but the goddamn dog refuses to leave, leading directly to the hero's first act against the government.
- And in that act, we learn that NOBODY fucks with Christian Bale when there's a puppy involved.
- At the end of the movie Hidalgo the main character releases the titular horse back into the wild, but without either of them being upset (in a good way).
- In the Film of the Book Day of the Dolphin, Dr. Terrell has taught several dolphins to speak English, and has come to love them as if they were his own children. At the end of the movie the evil government representatives are coming to take them away. He has to tell the dolphins that he doesn't love them any more to get them to leave him, so they can be safe. A real Tear Jerker moment.
- Parodied in Kung Fu Hustle, when the hero has to follow the trope to get rid of his dim-witted but well-meaning sidekick.
- The Hendersons have to do this to get rid of their lovable Sasquatch Harry in the movie of Harry and the Hendersons.
- There's a human example in A Man for All Seasons. Thomas More is in serious trouble with the King, and his friend the Duke of Norfolk is feeling the heat. More can't convince Norfolk to break off their friendship, so instead, he attacks him verbally until Norfolk actually lashes out. It pains More terribly to do this, but it works: his friend stays away from him after that and is spared the King's wrath. Of course, Norfolk is no dog (he's just fond of water spaniels), but the scene hits all the same beats as the examples above.
- Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron's latter half is essentially about this from the wild horse's perspective.
- In Bolt, the dog's owner tries to get him to leave her behind in a burning building and he refuses, eventually collapsing next to her. Of course as it's a Disney movie we all know what happens next.
- In Help! I'm a Fish, Stella has to send Sasha away (who for a good part of the movie had acted as Stella's Horse of a Different Colour, and Team Pet), before going back into Professor MacKrill's labratory. What makes it sadder though, is that Stella is a little girl, about five.
- There's a Shoo the Dog moment in Air Bud as well, but it doesn't last.
- In a cruel twist of Spared by the Adaptation, in the beginning of Harry Potter movie, Harry lets Hedwig fly away. She comes back later when there are Death Eaters chasing after the rescue crew and takes a blow for Harry.
- Near the end of The Journey of Natty Gann, Natty encourages her wolf friend to follow the call of another wolf back into the wild.
- Parodied in the mockumentary The Independent, during a scene from the fake movie Whale of A Cop. The in-universe story goes that the movie was scripted as a Free Willy rip-off, but the producers wanted the whale to be changed to a cop, so we see a scene from the movie where a kid has to let the title character (played by Ben Stiller) go "to be with the other cops". The cop is acting like a whale for much of the scene, then stands up and begins exhibiting human behavior...up until the point where he spits water like Flipper.
- Final Destination: Despite being in danger, Clear Rivers makes sure her dog doesn't get electrocuted by shooing him away.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, a nine-year-old girl parts ways with a Big Badass Wolf. She has to throw rocks to make it stop following her. She still becomes the direwolf when she dreams, though.
- In Honored Enemy from The Riftwar Cycle, the elf Tinuva must go and duel his brother to put an end to a centuries-long vendetta and buy time for his human allies to escape. His friend Gregory refuses to leave him, even when Tinuva points out that there is no possible way he could help and that he would only be killed out of hand. Tinuva goes as far as slashing his hand to keep him from using his bow and threatening to cut his other hand so badly that he'll never draw a bow again - and only then does Gregory accept that there's no way he'll be able to accompany Tinuva.
- In The Yearling our protagonist has to do this to his pet deer to save its life after it's eaten a corn crop. Unfortunately, the deer in question comes back and eats another corn crop, so the kid finally has to shoot the deer, which he insists on doing himself.
- Richard and Kahlan from The Sword of Truth series when Kahlan tells him she doesn't love him in order to save his life by forcing him to leave with a priestess of the light, Verna. Later on, Richard breaks out of his depression when he does the same thing to his pet Gratch and realizes Kahlan was doing the whole thing for Richard's sake.
- Sam does this to Bill the pony in The Lord of the Rings when the Fellowship has to go through the Mines of Moria.
- Subverted, though - at least in the books - as Bill the pony has found its way back to Bree where they pick it up on their way back to the Shire, and proves to still be the most awesome pony in Middle-earth. And that's saying something.
- Unit 1 of the Cambridge Latin Course is set in Pompeii, so it could only have ended one way. As the main character, Caecilius, lies trapped under a fallen wall, he convinces his slave Clemens to escape... but Cerberus, the family dog, won't budge. He watches over his master till the end.
- Happens in Of Mice and Men, when Lennie has just killed Curly's wife by accident, and George shoots him to save him from the angry mob which would have pretty much lynched him.
- Inverted in The Neverending Story: When Atréju's pony gets stuck in the swamps of desperation, he wants to save it, but it tells him in no uncertain terms that the mission (saving Phantasia) is more important and he must move on alone.
- In Doctor Who, "The Parting of the Ways," the Doctor tricks Rose into getting into the TARDIS, which takes her back to her own time and away from the Dalek armada.
- In one episode of Kamen Rider Den-O, a Monster of the Week is attacking a teen model, and initially she blames her father since he kicked her out a year ago. As it turns out, the father was pulling this trope because, as he saw it, she was damaging her own career by helping him rather than focusing on modeling.
- Dewey does this to a hamster in Malcolm in the Middle.
- Which promptly became a Running Gag.
- Parodied in an episode of ~30 Rock~ when Jack does this Frank to prevent him from becoming a lawyer (and subsequently killed by the Mafia). Notable for being a direct reference to Harry and the Hendersons.
- Walt has to do this as Vincent swims after the raft on Lost.
- Parodied in 3rd Rock from the Sun when Dick orders Harry to get rid of a dog he's become rather fond of.
- Subverted on an episode of Xena. When times are getting serious, she rather viciously shoos off Joxer, the useless tag-along. He thinks it's a joke at first until she gets violent to punctuate her point, claiming that he would just slow them down. We as the audience might likely assume she's performing this trope to protect him from the coming confrontation, but actually she's trying to convince someone else that she's getting rid of him for real, so he can carry out a mission for her without being suspected.
- Samurai Sentai Shinkenger has a minor one. During Dayu/Tayu's existential crisis, she carries around with her one of the little baby puffball demon things from the Sanzu River. Upon her death, she tosses it aside, telling it to flee. The furball simply sits there repeatedly calling her name to the discarded kimono until Dokoku steps on it.
- Attempted by Buffy at the end of the series, when she sends Xander and Dawn out of town before The End of the World as We Know It hits. Dawn promptly tazers Xander, drives back to Sunnydale, and kicks Buffy in the shin.
- In the first Halo game some were doing this. A few were doing this with the Marines, but many were doing it with their armless Flood Buddies. Yes, Flood.
- Done in Fallout 3, when telling Dogmeat to leave your party.
- Made even more heartwrenching near the end of the game should you choose to activate the purifier yourself. Before you enter and seal your final fate, if he is with you, you can tell him goodbye one last time before entering the room. The whimper that Dogmeat does when you tell him this only makes you feel worse.
- In the ending of Final Fantasy VI, if you saved Shadow at the Floating Continent, his segment in the final cinematic of the game will show him leaving to die alone in the collapsing final dungeon. When his dog, Interceptor, tries to follow him, he shoos it. Later, the dog enters the heroes' airship, but its owner doesn't.
- In Final Fantasy XIII, Sazh keeps a chocobo chick in his afro. He bought it as a present for his son, Dajh, but was never able to give it to him. When the party comes across a group of chocobos on Gran Pulse, including more baby chocobos, he suggests to the chocobo "Maybe it'd be best if we just say goodbye here." The chick, however, won't have any of it and returns straight to Sazh. Something similar happens with Chobi in Final Fantasy Unlimited.
- The good ending to Rule of Rose can be seen as this in a metaphorical sense. Over the course of the game, it's revealed the player's best friend is in fact the Big Bad, having arranged the deaths of every other character because she felt abandoned because the player was spending more time with her pet dog than with her. The epilogue is a flashback/dream sequence where the player is sent back before the whole thing began and chains the dog inside a shed to metaphorically protect him, along with her other precious memories.
- The Chao in Sonic Adventure give you a tremendously sad sequence when you're ready to get rid of one or a few.
- The Boss does this to Naked Snake for all of Metal Gear Solid 3 (complete with him trying to follow her like a lost puppy). Breaks his arm, stomps on his foot with her (randomly there) horse and shoots him in the leg...She even chucks him off a bridge. However this is all because if she DIDN'T chuck him off the bridge, break his arm, etc etc he would have surely been killed by Volgin whereas he has a slim chance to survive from the fall into the river/insert other circumstances here. This is only made worse when the player and Snake find out that she was the good guy all along and presumably wanted to protect you from being hurt/test you by hurting you.
- In Dragon Age, if you leave Dog behind for the final battle, every line you can give it is Call Back to this trope.
- From Okami, Exposition Fairy and general inch-high annoyance, Issun, leaves Amaterasu (the player character) just before the final dungeon and drives her away with his sword when she tries to follow. Since you're the dog, you're not amused.
- Dragon Quest VII has this potentially occur in Loomin with Sieble and his pet larval Hellworm, Chibi. The rest of the town is getting antsy about his exotic taste in pets, particularly since they've already had some nasty luck recently; if you warn him about this, he tries to release Chibi into the wild and shoo him away. Alternately, you can sneak into his house and kill Chibi for the villagers, but why would you do that? Seriously. Unless you want the villagers to suffer karmic backlash and Sieble end up as the Sole Survivor...
- Lana Skye tries to do this to her younger sister Ema in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, but Ema refuses to accept that her sister is guilty and together, she and Phoenix find the truth behind the murder and the reason for Lana's cold actions.
- Neopets. Go try to give one of your pets away at the adoption center. Guilt trip and sad tearful Neopet images up the yinyang.
- SpongeBob had to give up his seahorse, Mystery, who seemed rather apathetic about the whole thing.
- And after it, accidentally, Patrick.
- Brock Sampson tries to do this to the Venture family in the season 3 finale to get rid of them. Hank sees through it.
- On the other hand, Brock watches Hank and Dean die on a regular basis, and is he prepared to kill Dr. Venture. This might actually be an inversion of this trope because Brock legitimately doesn't care.
- Note that while he is prepared to kill Dr. Venture, he's noticeably relieved when he doesn't have to, and tries to get them to safety soon afterword despite the termination of his mission. Although his nonchalance about Hank and Dean's repeated deaths because of the existence of their clones is misleading, it's quite clear that he does care about the Venture family.
- On the other hand, Brock watches Hank and Dean die on a regular basis, and is he prepared to kill Dr. Venture. This might actually be an inversion of this trope because Brock legitimately doesn't care.
- Done in the Disney film The Fox and the Hound with the Widow Tweed sending out her pet fox into the wilderness to stop him from being hunted by his best friend's owner.
- Batman Beyond: Using his camouflage gear, Terry (aka Batman) goes into a station monitored by laser shooting cameras. He ends up compromising his position when he tries to shoo a curious cat away from the building. Also reinforces his position as a hero.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Kyoshi Warriors find Appa injured in the woods after he's separated from Aang and nurse him back to health... and then Azula finds them, forcing Suki to shoo away Appa with a torch.
- Avatar Roku also tried to shoo his dragon Fang away from an erupting volcano, but the dragon instead curled up around his beloved master and died with him.
- Subverted at the end of the Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures episode "Fish Out of Water." Orange Blossom finally realizes that the best way to care for her pet frog, Tad, is to let him to back to the wild. She gears herself up for a heartfelt goodbye, only for Tad to hop away happily the moment she takes off his leash.
- Subverted in Camp Lazlo. The campers have adopted a llama, (who's cranky and always spitting and hitting everyone) and eventually have to give it up. Lazlo tearfully tells it to just get out of there, but any sweetness is sucked out of the scene by the llama kicking him in the head repeatedly.
- One episode of Futurama has Fry do this with his pet monster Mr. Peppy.
- In Teen Titans, after Team Pet Silkie grows into a giant monster Starfire is forced to take him away to a remote island and leave him there. When he tries to grab her to stop her from leaving, she's left with no choice but to shoot him with her powers to make him let go.
No, no... Stay, Tropey. Stay. Good dog.