Well, finally, someone pointed out how long and ungainly Santa’s Little Helper’s name is.
Lisa always was a sharp one.
After an accident involving Professor Frink’s sound-powered car crashing into the Springfield Retirement Castle, Grampa moves in with the Simpsons for the time being. Homer would have helped with the movie but he threw his back out trying to lift his back supporting belt. As such, he stays home and plays a video game on a tablet computer while ignoring the dog. When the others come back, there’s no sign of Santa’s Little Helper. Fortunately, the dog was in a revolving cabinet after Homer pulled out a cheese-scented window cleaner to drink. But Homer didn’t seem too put out the dog was missing or found, unlike the rest of the family. He says he’s not a dog person.
Then Grampa mentions the name “Bongo”.
That causes Homer to tear up and run upstairs to his room. And now, thanks to new medicine he got at the Home, Grampa can tell coherent stories with endings and everything, so he relates who and what Bongo was.
In short, Bongo was Homer’s childhood dog. The two were inseparable and best of friends. Even when Mona left Grampa, Homer still had Bongo. Things went bad when Mr. Burns rolled into town. He was handing out free toys to all the children in town to make it look like the Nuclear Plant was a good thing, but Homer wanted to give his toy to Bongo. That made Burns upset, and when he told young Homer off, Bongo bit the old man. Grampa knew what that meant, so he quickly hustled Homer and Bongo out of town. They barely escaped the animal control officer, one Clancy Wiggum, who had a young Lou with him as part of a Big Brother program. Wiggum knocked the truck on its side, letting all the dogs he’d collected loose, and he took off Herman’s arm in the process, but young Lou’s aspirations to be either a police chief or a voice for his people like Ralph Abernathy gave Wiggum both career aspirations and a name for any kid he might have.
Truly, this episode is full of origins. Like how Krusty’s first Mr. Teeny was an angry gorilla.
Grampa then took Homer and Bongo out to the countryside, where a “crazy” former neighbor lived who was willing to take Bongo. Homer was heartbroken, but he did give up a sweatshirt for the dog. Once back in Springfield, Burns had tracked down Abe and despite Abe’s proficiency with a bug zapper, the only way to get Burns to give up on Bongo was for Abe to sacrifice his spirit for his son and the dog. As such, Abe spent a year letting Burns’ hounds attack him. When he was finished, Burns told Abe he must forever wear a bolo tie and slippers instead of a real tie or shoes.
As it turns out, Homer had an extra something to add. He snuck off to see Bongo two months later and the dog seemed happy without him. But Grampa has one more detail. It seems the neighbor sent a photo a few years later showing Bongo still loved that sweatshirt and never forgot Homer. Homer and Abe reconcile (you know, until the next episode), and that night, Homer and Grampa both cuddle with Santa’s Little Helper.
See, that’s sweat. It isn’t the kick in the crotch that Futurama‘s “Jurassic Bark” is, but it’s sweat.