While SpongeBob and Gary are playing tag, Patrick joins in and begins to get better acquainted with Gary. At the end of the day, Gary seems to want to spend time with Patrick a while longer, so SpongeBob agrees to let Gary have a sleepover at Patrick's house. The next morning, Gary is still reluctant to leave Patrick, who concludes that Gary wants to be with him permanently and so claims him as his own pet. SpongeBob refuses to believe this, but when Gary is given the choice of who shall be his owner, Gary heads for Patrick. SpongeBob is heartbroken, and out of jealousy, he attempts to find a new pet to show to Gary that he does not need a two-timing snail.
First, SpongeBob gets Rex, a worm, and shows him off to Patrick and Gary. SpongeBob extols all the traits that make worms superior to snails, such as their loyalty. Rex promptly illustrates this by completely abandoning SpongeBob and hitching a ride on a bus. Next, SpongeBob brings home Lary, a snail with a terrible temperament. SpongeBob bends over backward to accommodate Lary, even giving up his own bed to the picky snail, but Lary's unceasing viciousness leaves SpongeBob forlorn and he probably runs away like Rex did. Even the anatomically correct snail, Jerry, can't fill the hole in SpongeBob's heart.
Patrick, accompanied by Gary, stops by SpongeBob's house to do some laundry. In desperation, SpongeBob begs and pleads with Gary, offering him all manner of gifts and privileges if only he'll come back. Patrick patronizingly tells SpongeBob to let it go, that Gary has already made his choice. Gary, meanwhile, crawls into the washing machine after Patrick's shorts. SpongeBob and Patrick watch, Patrick angry that Gary apparently just likes him for his shorts. SpongeBob, however, realizes that all along Gary had only wanted a cookie left in Patrick's pocket.
As SpongeBob and Gary, now satiated and reunited, go outside for a walk, a heartbroken and devastated Patrick stares at the door and saying "Gary, I thought what we had was special!".