Homeward Bound II: Lost In San Francisco

Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco is the sequel to Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. In this follow-up adventure, we again find the three trusty companions, an American Bulldog named Chance, a Golden Retriever named Shadow and the prissy Himalayan cat known as Sassy, bonding together as friends and cohorts. These pets, as in their first journey, manage to become separated from their family of humans and have another incredible adventure finding their way home. When the Seaver family leaves their suburban home in San Francisco and takes off on a camping vacation to Canada, they also take along their pets, Chance, Shadow and Sassy. Once at the airport, the pets, loaded into airline carriers for the trip, begin to believe that they are going to be separated from their humans forever and they panic. As the carriers are being towed out to the aircraft, the animals manage to escape and run to find their family back inside the terminal. However, the Seaver's are now on the airplane heading for Canada and the animals are confused. Since they are pets and don't understand what is actually happening, they set off to find their way back home. Their journey through the streets of San Francisco brings them face to face with danger, mayhem and even puppy love. The resourceful animals again prove that will finds a way, even against great odds.

  • Starring: Robert Hays, Kim Griest, Michael J. Fox, Sally Field
  • Director(s): David Ellis
  • Producer(s): City Dog Productions
  • Screenwriter(s): Chris Hauty, Julie Hickson
  • Distributor: Walt Disney
  • Release Date: Friday, February 02, 1996
  • Rating: Acceptable

Featured Animal Action

Animal action is extensive throughout the film consisting of, not only the three lead characters, but also a group of dogs at a baseball field, a pack of stray dogs who befriend the pets, two bulldogs who become a threat, several dogs captured by dognappers, a poodle, a puppy, a kitten and some fish. The role of Chance, the American Bulldog, was played by four dogs, Shadow by two different Golden Retrievers, and Sassy, the Himalayan, by seven different cats. Non-toxic makeup was applied to the animals in some cases to create the identity match. In general, the film was done in many sequences and each sequence in many cuts. Much of the action was simple A to B movement as a response to visual and voice commands with food as a reward. Extensive pre-production training was done to get all the various dogs who would be used in combination during filming accustomed to being together and being worked together. As the film opens, we see Chance chewing on a sneaker and telling us that it belongs to his pal, a young boy named Jamie Seaver, who rescued him (in the first film) from "the bad place", his name for the pound. Chance is upset that his buddy, Jamie, seems uninterested in playing with him. In frustration, a hyperactive Chance chews Jamie's sneaker, leaps after a butterfly in the yard, pesters the cat, chews a baseball, and steals a doughnut from the table. For all of this action, the dog was trained in pre-production and responded to verbal and visual commands with food rewards. In the scene where he chases and goes to chomp the butterfly, it flies away and Chance is left with dandelion seeds on his nose and appears to spit them out. For this scene, a fake butterfly controlled by a length of monofilament was used, as well as a prop dandelion that had gone to seed. Additional dandelion seeds were tossed at the dog's nose and face making the dog respond as if he were spitting them out. Sassy is not amused by Chance nor his antics and runs up the stairs where she startles Mr. Seaver into tossing the laundry he is carrying. Chance ends up with underwear on his head and after shaking it free proceeds to chase Sassy into the yard. In the yard, on top of a small rise, is a child's hide and seek tunnel where Sassy takes refuge. The incorrigible Chance pushes the tunnel down the incline just to create mischief and we see Sassy running inside as if in an exercise wheel. When the tunnel stops rolling, we see Sassy emerge and stagger around, dizzy from the ride. This scene was shot in cuts. For the chase shots, the dog and cat were very comfortable working together and had a long pre-training period. Chance was given voice commands to nudge the tunnel down the slope with food as a reward. For the segment where the cat is inside, the tunnel was rolled gently and the cat walked forward as it rolled. No cat was inside when the tunnel was rolling fast. When the cat emerges, it is from a slow rocking tunnel controlled by the trainer who also used an undetectable waistband on the cat made of monofilament, which he pulled gently, making it appear as if the cat was dizzy. Throughout the film, Sassy is seen licking her paws, sometimes as a haughty commentary on the superiority of cats. For this, fish oil was placed on the paws of the cat and naturally licked off. Chance follows Jamie to the baseball field where he encounters four other dogs who are sitting on the sidelines commenting on the game as if they were canine sportscasters. Chance disturbs things by running after a game ball and ends up grabbing the mitt off of the hand of one of the young players. For this scene, each dog was attended to by his own trainer who gave visual and voice commands to get the dogs to look in a particular direction and to stay on their marks. When Chance grabs at the mitt, he had been trained in pre-production to take the mitt into his mouth in response to a verbal command by his trainer. When Jamie and Chance return home, they find the family loading their sports vehicle to head for the airport and begin their vacation. The pets are loaded into the back of the sports-utility vehicle and we hear the pets discussing that they were given tranquilizers to remain calm. Chance is taking no chances and throws up the pill. For this scene, the trainer was out of camera range on the floor of the vehicle with the animals. The scene was shot in cuts and the dog given a command to yawn. The yawn was enhanced in post production by a sound effect and prop vomit which gave the impression that the dog disgorged the pill. No tranquilizers were actually given to the animals. At the airport, the pets are loaded into kennel carriers so that they will travel with the family by plane to Canada for vacation. The pets converse and we realize that Chance is worried that they are being sent to "the bad place" and separated from their family forever. As the carriers are traveling out to the plane on a moving baggage cart, Chance starts to rock his cage to escape. His carrier is knocked off the cart which is then hit by an oncoming cart and it breaks open. Sassy is able to unlock her carrier and, once free, she unlocks Shadow's carrier as well. The three, determined to find the Seavers, set off through the airport, up and down luggage conveyors loaded with suitcases and boxes and finally out onto the airfield where they watch the plane that is bound for Canada take off over their heads. This very complicated sequence was shot in many cuts with both live and fake animals being used. The matching "stuffies" were used at some point during filming to depict all three animals. The dog portraying Chance was trained in pre-production to jump around inside the kennel, making it rock back and forth. The kennel itself was actually secured to the vehicle so that the dog could jostle it and have no chance of knocking it off onto the ground. When we see the carrier get knocked off the baggage cart and hit by the other vehicle, freeing Chance, it was a fake animal in the carrier. When Sassy opens the kennel carriers, the cat had been trained in pre-production to reach out of her own carrier and put her paws on Shadow's kennel door. The doors were actually electronically opened by remote control. In some of the sequence, we see the lead animals and other dogs in carriers. These carriers were tied down to the vehicles so that they had no chance of falling off. Trainers were dressed as airport personnel, so were able to be near-by the moving baggage cart. The area in the airport where the filming was done was cleared and only film personnel and animal handlers were permitted to be on hand. Once free of their kennels, the animals rush back into the terminal to try and find the Seavers. They run in through an opening in the terminal building and find themselves on the luggage conveyors before finding their way to the waiting area where they last saw their family. They realize that the Seavers must already be on a plane, so they turn around and go back out to the airfield, risking another climb on the conveyors. For the scenes where the animals were seen on the luggage conveyors, there was a good deal of pre-production training. Early in the training, the speed of the conveyor was very slow. Over a lengthy training period, as the animals became more accustomed to the movement, the speed of the conveyor was gradually increased. Later the luggage and boxes were added as obstacles. Each animal was prepped individually and eventually together. Finding that their family is no longer in the airport terminal, the threesome run out onto the airfield and lie down on the runway hoping to stop the plane which takes off over their heads. Filmed in a series of cuts, we watch the animals as they sit on the airfield in direct alignment with the approaching plane and look up as the plane flies overhead. We then see Chance react by putting his paws over his eyes. At that same moment he "says" he wasn't afraid, but a shot of his back end with a trickle of urine seeping onto the runway, reveals his true feelings. For this scene, the crew, director, photographer and humane representative went onto the field first and tested wind and noise conditions created by planes taking off. Over a pre-training period, rehearsal fly-overs were done to accustom the animals to the elements. To protect the animals, their ears were plugged with cotton batting and they were attended by their handlers who were always near-by. A tie-down line was stretched across the runway so the dogs could be attached to it for added protection. When the three are seen from a distance, the cat was a fake animal. For the close-ups of the animals looking up as the plane goes overhead, the animals were placed on a special platform and filmed from below. The dogs responded to a voice command and stayed on the platform which was only approximately three feet high. However, the cat was held from a short distance by the trainer who used a waistband on the animal which was then attached to a tie-down board on the platform. Whenever the cat was seen from behind or at a distance the fake cat was used. When the plane lifts off over their heads and we see Chance lying down, putting his paws over his eyes and the trickle of urine being released, the trainer had placed the paws over the eyes of the animal. Immediately, the dog removed his paws. Then, in the editing process, this shot was run in reverse, making it appear as if the dog was placing his own paws over his eyes. For the effect of urination, a small tube was comfortably placed under the dog and Gatorade was pumped through it from off camera. Airport personnel spot the animals out on the runway and chase them off the airfield. They escape over and under a chainlink fence. Shadow and Chance dig under the fence, although Chance gets his collar caught and almost doesn't make it. Sassy climbs up and over the top, risking the barbed wire that crowns the fence. This scene was done in many cuts. The chainlink fence and barbed wire were made of plastic that would not harm the animals. The dogs had been taught to dig under the fence and did so by obeying voice commands with food as a reward. The cat responded to a buzzer command from her trainer who was positioned on a specially constructed ledge the height of the fence. A ramp was leaned against the fence making the actual climb for the cat less steep. Since they believe that their only hope of reuniting with the family is to find their way home, they set off into the city to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and find home. As the threesome ventures through the streets of San Francisco, they dodge tourists, root around in the garbage for snacks, take refuge from the rain in an old cardboard box, and explore Chinatown. Chance is also nearly hit by a truck. The scenes of the pets walking along streets in city traffic were done with controlled vehicles only, traveling at very slow speeds. The truck sequence was shot in cuts. The dog ran from one trainer at point A, the release point, to a second trainer at point B who was giving the animal both visual and verbal commands. The street was cleared of all other traffic and the moving truck was filmed from behind. It was never actually near the dog. While in Chinatown, Sassy becomes fascinated by a tank of trout at a fish market, but gets shooed away by the shopkeeper. She picks up the scent and then spies the fish in a tank outside the vendor's store. Sassy puts her paws up on the edge of the tank and appears to be hungrily watching the trout as they swim around. The shopkeeper sees her and picks up a broom to shoo her away. For this scene, the cat responded to buzzer commands given by her trainer, followed by food rewards. The cat was never frightened by the broom. As they continue trekking through the streets, Sassy spies a little boy on the stoop of his house holding a tiny kitten. Sassy is confident that she can charm the boy into giving her some food. Chance again gets rambunctious and decides to chime into the action. The boy sees the bulldog running up to the house and calls for his mom who comes to the door and shoos the strangers away as she ushers her son inside. For this scene, four kittens were used from the local S.P.C.A., cared for by the humane representative during filming and later adopted by individual crew members. Later, Sassy and Shadow return to this same neighborhood and find that this little boy's house is on fire. Shadow daringly enters the burning building and rescues the little boy, while Sassy follows behind to rescue the kitten. This fire sequence was shot in cuts and two dogs and two cats were used in rotation during the filming. A special frame was built with safety firebars and stage smoke dispensed on the ground to create the fire atmosphere. The animals were removed from the area for the shots of the house seen burning at a distance. When you see the dog walking in the area of the fire, the flames and smoke were controlled. For added protection, his fur was covered with a fire retardant. The cat walked near the smoke, but never near the flames. For added protection, her fur was wetted down with water. Sassy is seen carrying the kitten in her mouth as she exits the building. This was a stuffed animal which the cat had been trained to carry in her mouth. The fake animal also had a small cloth tag attached to the back of it that had been coated with food, making it even more attractive to Sassy. Eventually, our heroes encounter two bulldogs named Pete and Ashcan, who start a fight with the pampered pets whom they see as intruders on their turf. Chance, at one point in the fight, grabs hold of Pete's tail. As a fight ensues, a pack of strays, led by a dog named Riley, comes to the rescue of Sassy, Chance and Shadow. Chance runs off to distract one of the bullies and Riley sends a beautiful white dog named Delilah to find him. Delilah and Chance at first tussle, but once he knows she was sent by the friendly strays, it is love at second sight. All of the fight scenes were done by play fighting. The dogs had been prepped in pre-production. Each of the dogs had a trainer assigned to him and the scenes were shot in cuts so that the dogs could be individually cued by voice and hand commands. In the scene when Chance grabs Pete's tail, the dog's real tail was wrapped and hidden alongside his hind leg and a fake tail was attached to the dog. In part of the sequence, this prosthetic tail was merely held by a trainer who was positioned out of camera range. In the midst of the fighting, we see Sassy poised atop a large wooden cable spool, where she does her part by knocking over a flower pot onto the head of one of the dogs. This was shot in cuts. The cat was cued to touch the pot by responding to a buzzer command from her trainer. We then see a shot of it landing on the head of one of the bulldogs who turns and walks away from the spool. The pot, which was made of foam rubber, toppled off of the spool with little effort from the cat and lightly landed on the head of the dog. For the scene where Delilah gets the better of Chance, the dog had been trained to be submissive, roll over, and allow other dogs to sniff him. Later, when they kiss, babyfood had been placed on the faces of the dogs and they merely licked it off. Throughout the film, we encounter two bungling dog-nappers who travel around in, what the street dogs call, "The Blood-Red Van," and collect animals for laboratory experimentation. Most of the time the strays are able to hide from the nappers. Eventually, the pets and their stray allies foil the nappers. The blood-red van pulls up to the warehouse on the pier where the strays hang out. At first, they try to capture Chance who is so busy looking in the garbage for food that he doesn't see them. They lure him with a hamburger and finally get him into the van using a come-along. The other dogs and Sassy watch this from the warehouse windows and decide to save Chance. They ban together making a canine barrier to stop the van, scare the nappers, free the dogs in the van, chase the dog-nappers away and send the van rolling off the end of the pier. This complicated sequence was shot in cuts. Each dog had two trainers and responded to voice and hand commands. One trainer was positioned in front of each animal to give it commands, both for movement and to direct the animal's focus, while a second trainer was positioned behind the animal. When the animals moved from point A to point B, it was the trainer behind who released the animal, while the other trainer used commands and food rewards to call his dog to his mark. When the seven dogs line up in the path of the van, the trainers were present and the van's speed and movement was highly controlled. Each part of the sequence was shot in cuts and the animals were trained in pre-production to do the stunts, such as releasing the handbrake of the van to get it to roll off of the pier. When Sassy releases the door at the back of the van, the cat was responding to buzzer and hand commands from her trainer with food rewards. As the nappers run away, one is attacked by a dog and his pant leg torn. For this shot, the dog was trained in pre-production to respond to voice and hand commands and the trainer, wearing heavy leg padding, acted as a stunt double for the actor. A snarling look on the dog was created with the use of an elastic device attached to the top of the dog's jaw. This caused no discomfort to the dog and was used for no more than ten seconds. Having saved Chance from the dognappers, the pets set off again to find the bridge and home. As they walk through the city, they are spotted by the two bullies, Pete and Ashcan. Pete climbs onto Ashcan's back to get a better look over the fence. The scene was filmed in cuts and the dogs were trained in pre-production to do the stunt, using a platform for added support in some shots. The bottom dog was positioned under a platform the height of his back and filmed using a camera angle that made the platform imperceptible. The bullies follow the pets expecting to pick another fight with them. Chance gets the better of Pete by rolling him in a big industrial piece of tubing, similar to the child's tunnel in the yard at home. The scene was shot in cuts and no dog was actually in the tubing when it rolled. Even though Riley had told the pets that he would not help them find their way home because he was distrustful of humans, he eventually leads the pets to the Golden Gate Bridge. In the flashback sequence when Riley explains how he came to be a stray and why he distrusts humans, we see him as a puppy being given to a child as a Christmas present. Days later, he is abandoned in the rain when the child becomes disinterested in him. For this scene, the puppy was placed by the trainer and actually two pups were used in rotation for the sequence. We watch the pets bid farewell to their friend, Riley, and cross the Golden Gate Bridge on the final leg of their journey. To make the animals secure on the bridge, the dogs were on leads, while the cat was outfitted with a monofilament waistband and lead. The leads were secured to three steel cables approximately 100 ft. long and anchored to the sidewalk. Trainers were close-by at all times. The area was scouted and swept for glass and debris prior to filming All this time, the Seavers have been worried about their pets and try desperately to find Chance, Shadow and Sassy through the proper channels. They cancel their vacation and fly home to San Francisco, but begin to give up hope. As they drive toward home, they have a near accident with a tractor trailer truck. Of course, what they don't immediately realize is that it is the mischievous Chance who is the cause of the accident. The truck driver sees Chance sitting in the road staring at the river and longing for his love, Delilah. As the driver breaks, the car following him containing the Seavers, swerves to avoid a crash and the truck ends up traversing the road. Luckily, no one is hurt and Chance is found lying under the truck with his paws covering his eyes. Shadow and Sassy, who have watched this from the hillside above the road, run down the hill to check on Chance and are surprisingly reunited with their humans. For the accident, a very calm dog used to staying on his mark was used while the camera angle made it look as if the truck was much closer to the dog than it actually was. When the dog is seen under the truck at the end, the trainer placed the dog, put his paws over his eyes, and gave a verbal command to stay. Once at home, everyone is happy except for Chance who is heartbroken, missing Delilah. As the family and pets enjoy an afternoon at home, Delilah suddenly appears at the gate to their yard. Chance is so excited he leaps for joy. When the Seavers decide to then adopt her, Chance is so ecstatic that he knocks over the delivery man who happens to be arriving with a pizza and proceeds to gobble up the fallen food. For this scene, Chance was given verbal and hand commands and was actually a natural jumper. However, a crane was out of camera range where a trainer was placed above the dog holding a bunch of flowers for which the dog liked to jump. Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco is a Canadian production filmed primarily in Canada. The British Columbia S.P.C.A. monitored the animal action, except for two weeks during filming in the United States where the American Humane Association was on the set. American and Canadian trainers were used for all of the dog and cat action and American Humane Guidelines were followed during these extensive animal scenes. However, during pick up shots in Canada in the brief scene where Sassy is fascinated by the fish, six fish were brought onto the set. The containers in which they were transported were too small and unsuitable for their specie. Also, proper aeration and temperature control was not provided, all of which are violations of the AHA guidelines. Three fish died. Three more were brought in and these six managed to be kept alive by the crew just long enough for filming, but died shortly thereafter. No trainer was present. Normally, under these conditions a film would receive an "Unacceptable" rating. However, because of the extensive dog and cat action and the brevity of the scene in which the fish were used, American Humane has decided to make an exception in this case and give Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco a dual rating. The dog and cat action is rated "Acceptable." Fish action is rated "Unacceptable."