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Gary is SpongeBob's pet snail and the two are shown to love each other very much. It's suggested in "Treats!" that SpongeBob has had Gary ever since the former was a little boy, as it was also revealed that he was adopted. SpongeBob is revealed to have bought him at the Animal Shelter in "Plankton's Pet."
Gary often serves as an advice giver to SpongeBob when no one in Bikini Bottom is willing to help him and the latter often takes said advice despite it only being given in meows. However, SpongeBob occasionally takes advantage of him or forces him into certain situations despite Gary's objections.
Their love for each other
SpongeBob often views Gary as a best friend rather than just a pet, as implied by the musical number "Gary Come Home" from "Have You Seen This Snail?" Though the two have come into conflict from time to time, they usually reconcile near the end and admit that they still love one another no matter what. SpongeBob is shown to go through stages of depression when isolated from Gary, as seen in "Dumped" when the latter neglects him in favor of his best friend Patrick and when he feels regretful for making Gary run away in "Have You Seen This Snail?" and puts up lost pet fliers as a result. In "Pineapple Invasion," he trusted Gary to protect the Krabby Patty Secret Formula while he was at work, as he did protect from Plankton.
Times their relationship has become rocky
Despite their friendly relations, SpongeBob has often fought with Gary and put him through stressful situations.
- In "Gary Takes a Bath," SpongeBob pulls off several desperate attempts to get Gary to bathe even though snails are opposed to water (a phobia based on the real-world depiction of felines' disapproval of water). He even manages to break his shell in a game of leapfrog to transport him to the bathtub.
- In "The Great Snail Race," SpongeBob pressures Gary into winning the eponymous event by overtraining him, which leads to his eyes and shell exploding during the race.
- In "Have You Seen This Snail?," when trying to get SpongeBob's attention off the Dirty Bubble challenge so he can feed him, the latter refuses to do so since he is trying to focus on the paddleball, leading Gary to running away from home and feeling as though SpongeBob doesn't care about him.
- In "A Pal for Gary," SpongeBob wrongfully blames Gary for all the damage that his new "friend," Puffy Fluffy, has done, even when Fluffy is clearly seen eating Gary right in front of him. Gary is shown to be irritated by SpongeBob's obliviousness and support for the monster near the end of the episode.
- In "Gary's New Toy," Gary's obsessive attachment to a new toy ball causes him to abandon SpongeBob in favor of said ball. As a result, the latter is forced to leave his house and reside under a bench.
- In "House Worming," Gary becomes far too fed up with the new worms infesting SpongeBob's holes and kicks him out of his own house as a result.
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