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"Arthur's Pet Business"
Season/Series: 1
Number in season: 5a
Original Airdate: United States October 11, 1996[1]
Canada January 10, 1997[2]
Germany December 13, 2001[3]
Written by: Marc Brown (original)
Joe Fallon (adapted)
Storyboard by: Jean Lajeunesse
"Arthur's Lost Library Book"
"D.W. the Copycat"
Read transcript

"Arthur's Pet Business" is the first half of the fifth episode in the first season of Arthur. It is based on the book Arthur's Pet Business.


Arthur wants a dog very badly, but he has to prove he is responsible first. To do this, Arthur decides to start his own pet business, which includes watching over the neighborhood dog Perky, who is very mean and aggressive.


Arthur is looking through the window of Al's Pet Shop. He wishes he could have a dog, for he thinks it could be helpful. In his imagination, Baby Kate is up high in a tree, crying, while Jane stands at the bottom watching in despair. Suddenly, Arthur runs up with a collie dog. Arthur commands his dog to get Kate down, and the dog obeys, picking up Kate with his mouth and brings her down to Jane. Jane is very grateful for Arthur having a dog, while the collie licks him. After his imagination, he is standing, in a wary matter, up against the window. He then says, "But I never expected this," and the camera cuts to Perky, growling at him.

Arthur's Pet Business

Arthur is in his bedroom, cutting out pictures of dogs. D.W. comes in, remarking that Arthur wants to have a dog. Arthur tells her not to say anything, explaining that he is waiting "for just the right moment" to ask his parents. D.W. tells him he can trust her, but at dinner, she announces Arthur's desire to have a puppy, much to his annoyance. David tells Arthur that owning a puppy is a big responsibility. Arthur promises to "feed", "walk", and "play catch with" his puppy. David says he and Jane will "think about it" (which, D.W. mockingly informs Arthur, "means 'No.'")

D.W. is eavesdropping through the kitchen door on David and Jane. Jane expresses concern about what a puppy might do to their new carpeting; D.W. tells Arthur that Jane does not want to find a 'puppy treat' on the carpet. David and Jane come into the kitchen, and tell Arthur that, if he is able to take care of a puppy, he may have one. Arthur is thrilled, but Jane tells him that he must first prove he is responsible enough. Arthur wonders how he can best do this. D.W. suggests Arthur get a job (which would also allow him to pay back seven dollars that he owes her.)

At the playground, Arthur's friends suggest potential jobs for him. Muffy tells Arthur that her father is looking to hire a new car salesman, and suggests that Arthur could take the job. Arthur does not think that would be right for him. Binky suggests Arthur work at Joe's Junkyard "crushing old cars". Francine tells Arthur that his job should be something that he likes to do. Arthur decides that the best job would be to look after other people's pets, which would prove to his parents his ability to handle a dog.

Arthur and Francine make flyers for "Arthur's Pet Business". His mom, dad, and even Kate, help with distributing the flyers. That night, Arthur waits by the phone, hoping for a customer to call. Jane tells Arthur he needs to get ready for bed. Just as Arthur pleads for ten minutes more, the phone rings. Mrs. Wood is going on vacation, and hopes Arthur can look after her dog, Perky. According to David, the mailman refers to Perky as "Jaws". D.W. knows Perky to be "nasty".

At Mrs. Wood's house, Perky growls at Arthur, and Arthur is hesitant to go near her. Mrs. Wood tells him not to mind Perky's behavior, commenting that "she hasn't been herself lately." She gives Arthur two lists: Perky's day schedule (multiple pages long) and a list of all the things that Perky does not like (an extremely long list which trails down to the floor). Mrs. Wood tells Perky she will be back next Sunday. Arthur promises Mrs. Wood he will take good care of Perky, who goes from acting happy and sweet when Mrs. Wood was addressing her, to growling again at Arthur. Arthur comments rather uncertainly that he and Perky "will be the best of friends."

Arthur is doing homework until the timer rings, letting him know that he needs to brush Perky. He brushes her an even hundred times, which relieves Perky, but only temporarily.

At dinner, the timer rings again, which reminds Arthur to feed the dog. He feeds her in a very finicky way: a quarter-tablespoon of chicken, a quarter-tablespoon of liver, the middle of a cheeseburger, without a pickle, and a cherry on top. He gives it to Perky, but she does not eat it; Arthur wonders why, and then notices he forgot the parsley.

Arthur's family is watching The Bionic Bunny Show on TV, until the timer rings again, which begins to annoy Arthur.

Later, Arthur is taking a bath, when the timer rings once again, which exasperates Arthur. Arthur rolls out a mat for Perky across his bed. Perky notices a wrinkle, which Arthur fixes. He begins to tire out from taking care of Perky. Later on, while Arthur is feeding Perky, his mom asks if he wants a dog if it is a lot of work. Arthur knows that if he can take care of Perky, he can take care of any pet.

Suddenly, D.W. enters and tells Arthur that Prunella wants him to take care of her ant farm. Prunella instructs Arthur about what to do and to put on music for them on Tuesdays. D.W. looks out the door and notices that Arthur's advertising his business has worked. Arthur looks outside and sees a large line of people and their pets that need care.

The house is then full of animals, including a pig, frogs, a cat, a dog, a bird, an ant farm, a turtle, a turkey, fish, a rabbit, a mouse and a snake. David becomes concerned about all the animals. Arthur is worried too, about how he will keep them on schedule. D.W. is in the bathtub, screaming; four frogs are jumping around in the bathroom. D.W. runs out of the tub with only a towel and runs to her room. David runs upstairs to see if she's all right, and Arthur says, "Uh-oh" in a quiet tone (as though he has a hunch about what happened).

Arthur then notices Kate playing with the ant farm. Arthur quickly grabs it out of her hands, which causes her to cry. Perky growls at a bird in its cage, scaring it. In fear it escapes from its cage, having Arthur to chase it. While running after the bird, he steps on a cat's tail. Mrs. Read is nervous, for a snake is wrapped around her legs. D.W. and David enter the room rather angrily. Then a frog hops off an ice cube in a pitcher of lemonade that Mr. Read is holding.

The scene then fades in to where Arthur puts all the pets in the basement to store them. The timer rings again, telling Arthur it is time to walk Perky. He then smiles, and asks D.W. if she would like to be his assistant; he will pay her two dollars. D.W. is more than happy to do this, and then says “Let’s just say three dollars a week.” Arthur says "Deal" and they shake hands. Arthur then heads off to walk Perky, while D.W. smiles.

While walking Perky, he says hello to the mailman, who notices Perky growling loudly and asks what Arthur did to her. Arthur objects, claiming he took care of her. But the mailman is unsure, for he never saw Perky so mad before.

Later, Arthur checks a dog care book and sees that he did do everything just right, but Perky is more unfriendly than ever. He is sad, because he thinks he is not a dog person and that when Mrs. Wood picks Perky up, she will tell everyone that he made her dog even worse.

Arthur has Perky's things all packed and ready. D.W. tells Arthur that he should be happy, because he is returning Perky and is going to earn ten dollars. But Arthur is sad for he thinks he can never have a puppy. Arthur's parents let him know that Mrs. Wood is coming to pick Perky up. Arthur goes to get her ready, only to find that he can not find her. He asks his family if they have seen her. His parents notice that they have not heard her make any sound that day. The family looks all around, but have no luck finding her.

Arthur is even more sad; he says that he wrecks dogs, and loses them: "Now I know I should never have a dog."

The doorbell rings and his mom answers it. It is Mrs. Wood, coming to pick Perky up. D.W. promptly enters and tells Mrs. Wood that Arthur lost Perky. In reaction to this, Mrs. Wood begins to worry about Perky's safety, while Mr. Read is sorry for the world. Immediately, Arthur calls everyone to come to the den. They all run in and see that Perky had puppies — three to be exact.

And Perky is no longer growling, but is now happy, revealing that the reason she was so grumpy was because she was pregnant. Mrs. Wood gratefully thanks Arthur for taking good care of Perky and gives him the ten dollars. She then asks him if he wants one of the puppies as a reward. Arthur is surprised, and looks at his parents, who smile. His dad allows this, saying that he has earned it.

Arthur is overjoyed to hear this and wonders what he should name his new puppy. "Ten dollars," D.W. answers. Arthur thinks that is a ridiculous name. However, D.W. then explains that she was talking about the money he owed her — seven he first owed, and three for being his assistant, which comes to ten dollars.

Arthur merely smiles at this while holding the ten dollar bill.






  • At the end of the 2000 rerun intro on PBS Kids before this episode, Arthur’s crashing sound remains the same.
  • Morals: Taking care of a pet means great responsibility.
  • One of the customers in the line looks almost exactly like Brain, albeit much older and rugged, and he is also smoking a pipe.
  • Arthur picked Pal as his adoptive dog, and it is revealed that Perky is Pal's mother, but Pal has made some appearances in previous episodes.
    • It can be assumed that this episode predates Pal's earlier appearances. What we mean is, it's possible that it takes place before his earlier appearances.
  • This episode contains a very rare instance of rear nudity, when D.W.'s naked buttocks can briefly be seen as she runs out of the bathtub calling for help. Even though this was acceptable practice for several kids' cartoons in the 1990s, it's very unusual an edutainment animated series airing on PBS Kids would get away with it, and subsequent episodes avoid showing such rear nudity.

Cultural references

Episode connections

Storyline Analysis

  • Since Pal appears in "Arthur's Birthday" which takes place near the end of Arthur's second grade year, it's likely that this episode takes place during the second semester of Arthur's 2nd grade school year, along with the later episode "Arthur's New Puppy". These two episodes would have taken place after the events of "Arthur's Baby" and "D.W.'s Baby" as Kate is present in this episode.


  • When Arthur is running up the stairs in excitement, D.W. is wearing her normal clothes, but after she hears about Arthur having to watch Perky, she is in her pajamas and has her toothbrush. Although it was bedtime, it is seemingly too quick for her to have put on her pajamas and gotten her toothbrush in this time.
  • During the scene when Arthur is taking a bath, the bubbles are floating upwards, which is impossible, for bubbles are filled with air and not helium. It is possible the air conditioner was turned on and the blowing air made the bubbles float up.
  • The cage the bird escapes from is missing a lock.
  • Two of Perky's babies are orange in the first scene, but yellow in the next.
  • Arthur is running an illegal pet business as he would need a permit to do so.
  • When Arthur takes a bath, he has four toes, but in other episodes he has five.
  • When D.W. is screaming in her bath due to the frogs, in one shot her head and hair are drawn strangely, looking like one of the Tibble Twins wearing a stringy brown wig.

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