Top 5 Child Sending A Pet Away Scenes

24 Sep

This week in the Top 5 List we thought we would tackle what we thought was a huge cliché in movies.  Especially in children’s movies.  That’s right.  You guessed it.  It’s the child sending a favorite pet away scene.  We all remember them.  They made us cry as children (or a couple weeks ago, depending on the movie).  They played on our emotions.  And they were everywhere.  Or at least that’s what we thought when we started this list.  Both Lara and David remembered these scenes being in almost every movie we watched as children.  However, it would appear we were just watching the same movies over and over again because this list was extremely hard to finish.  Some of the movies were not actually as sad when we went back to refresh our memories.  Sometimes the animal didn’t leave at all.  I guess we were just so sad that we weren’t watching it anymore.  Anyway, all this to say, our lists need some help.  Please leave some comments below with your suggestions of the ones we left out.  We both know there have to be some.

David’s List


5. Harry and the Hendersons – “Listen to me. You’re wrong. I was like you! I almost killed him myself. But it would’ve been murder. He’s not an animal!”

The Hendersons are forced to take their new friend Harry back into the wild after a crazy hunter named Jacques LaFleur decides to kill him.  This is not the last we’ll see of crazy poachers on this list.

pete's dragon

4.  Pete’s Dragon – I couldn’t find a quote for this scene online, and I don’t own the movie.  Sorry.

This movie is actually a stretch for this list.  Pete doesn’t send Elliot away.  Elliot has to leave to go help another child after Pete doesn’t need him anymore.  I’ve decided it counts though.  Pete is crying as Elliot leaves and it’s really sad.


3.  The Royal Tenenbaums – “Go Mordecai!”

This scene isn’t so sad, it’s more beautiful.  There’s just something about him standing there against the sky with his hawk, about to set him free that’s beautiful.


2. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey – “Be a good dog.  Stay.”

The scene where Peter has to leave Shadow on the farm is heartbreaking.  Shadow is trying to understand why Peter is sad is the whole time.  And then he starts crying when the car drives away.  This scene ends with Shadow sitting by himself in the driveway.  Still staying like Peter told him to.  Then I start crying.


1.  Cheetah – “Go on!  Get Out of here!”

This might be the hardest one for me to watch.  The quote above is a short piece of the scene.  It actually drags on for quite some time.  They have to make the poor cat feel unwanted before he’ll leave.  They yell at him and then turn their backs to him so he’ll walk away.  Not many people have seen this movie, but I used to watch weekly as a child.  And it always made me sad.

Lara’s List

flipper5.  Flipper – “I can’t come with you. Go on boy. Please. Just go!”

Flipper loves Elijah Wood. Elijah Wood loves Flipper. That’s why it is all the harder for Elijah to send Flipper back to his watery home to be amongst his family pod. A tear is shed. A dolphin laughs. Nature runs its course. (Sidenote about the poacher who is trying to catch Flipper: his boat is named Dolphin Killer. Real subtle.)

HoneyIShrunkTheKids4.  Honey, I Shrunk the Kids – “Mom’ll never let me keep you”

After a day of using an enormous ant as a vehicle, young Ron feeds and attempts to send Anty away. Anty, unable to part with his new master, continues to follow Ron, and eventually gives his life as a sacrifice against an evil scorpion.

3x13_Goodbye, My Friend #11393.  30 Rock – “Get out of here! Go to the Writer’s Room. There is no scholarship. Can’t you see we don’t want you any more? Why don’t you go back where you came from?! Leave me alone! Goodbye, my friend.”

I know, I know this is a show. But the episode “Goodbye, My Friend” is what inspired this list. Jack and Frank become bizarrely close after a night of drinking, sharing Daddy Issue stories, and watching HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS. Jack decides to help Frank live to his full potential and send him to law school. Thinking he is being kind, Jack finds it shocking when Frank’s mom tells him he has to get Frank to quit law school because it’s what brought about the death of all the men in her family. Jack returns to the office and has to tell his new friend off. Sending him, tearfully, back to the Writer’s Room.

air bud2.  Air Bud – “Go on, Buddy, you’re free now. Go on, Buddy! Get! You have to go, Buddy. Please, Buddy, go. get! Goooo! Get out of here! Don’t you understand?! Get! I don’t want you anymore! Get!”

Voice squeaking, Josh cries as he sends Buddy away. It’s for his own good! A crazy man is trying to kill Buddy for some odd reason or another. After Buddy doesn’t respond to Josh’s admonishments, Josh throws his basketball into the oblivion and runs away before Buddy can fetch. Tragic.

free-willy-500x3221.  Free Willy – “You can do it, boy. You can be free… I believe in you, Willy!”

Cue 2nd most inspirational shot of all time (after E.T. and Elliot’s flight past the moon, of course). Jesse sends Willy back to the ocean to save him from poachers. Wait, didn’t we read about that already on this list? Poachers were all the craze in family movies from the 1990s. But this was THE save-animal-from-poacher-movie. A killer whale flies over a kid! Amazing. But, hold on, how is there a FREE WILLY 2?


9 Responses to “Top 5 Child Sending A Pet Away Scenes”

  1. Joey Strawn September 24, 2009 at 2:11 pm #

    I am surprised at both of you. Two words: Old. Yeller.

    • iamhrothgar September 25, 2009 at 10:59 am #

      i know i know. but they didn’t really send it away. they killed it. so i was conflicted as to how to proceed with that.

  2. Brent September 25, 2009 at 1:29 am #

    ok… I remember almost all of these as some of the saddest moments of my cinematic childhood. Specifically Pete’s Dragon, Cheetah, Homeward Bound, and HISTK. My immediate thoughts, though, were Free Willy (that image IS great isn’t it), Old Yeller, The Fox & the Hound… and does the whole Never Ending Story Artax in the swamp of sadness count. I know it’s not a sending away… but it is one of my saddest pet moments in kid movie history.

    • iamhrothgar September 25, 2009 at 10:59 am #

      i actually cried through most of the rest of the movie the first time i saw him drown.

  3. Val September 28, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    The whole time I was reading this I was thinking, “They’d better have Free Willy on here!!”

    Well done.

  4. esizemore September 30, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    Awwww! I forgot about “Pete’s Dragon”. I used to love that movie. I’m gonna go rent it now.

  5. hootenannie October 24, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    I CANNOT BELIEVE that someone else in this great wide world has seen “Cheetah”!! I am flabbergasted – and impressed. Bravo, David.

    • iamhrothgar October 24, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

      I know! It’s so good. I’m glad you’ve seen it. They used to show it on the Disney channel a lot.

  6. Noni August 20, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    In the spirit of Free Willy and Flipper… I’d like to add “The Water Horse” 2007
    It’s a brilliantly made film that had me reaching for the tissue box more than once.

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