Johnny Cade is one of the most sympathetic characters in The Outsiders. Coming from a horrible home life with an abusive father and neglectful mother, Johnny intensely values his place in the gang, because without them he might never understand true kindness or affection. The greaser gang is like his family. Nicknamed "Johnny-cake," Johnny has become the 'pet' of the gang; they fiercely protect him after the Socs severely beat Johnny when they jumped him. Ponyboy comments that Johnny reminds him of a "dark little puppy that has been kicked too many times." Even hard-hearted Dally Winston has a soft spot for Johnny and treats him like a kid brother.
Johnny was like the pet of the gang. He would always make the gang happy.