I'm so glad that you stopped by for our linky! Today we are going to share my family's pet adoption stories with you along with the lessons that my children have learned. We promise to be brief! I then want to share some lesson ideas on cats and dogs that my student's went CRAZY for. They thought it was the coolest. If you stick it out to the end, we have some great prizes for you to win.
This cute furry face is Hurley. My girls and I adopted him from a local county shelter while we were dropping off supplies that we had collected for the shelter. One of the volunteers called us over and told us that Hurley only had 2 hours before he was euthanized. He was so close to expiration that the shelter had deeply discounted him. Can you imagine? Discounting a living thing. As if the $50 we save would make a difference over his lifetime. So of course we caved and brought Hurley and all of his quirks home with us. The best the vet and trainer can tell, Hurley is part Terrier and part Basenji. You may know that Basenji are barkless dogs. Hurley is a very quiet dog. He does occasionally alert us when strangers are at the door. Not always though. He makes the cutest sounds that are different for a dog, but common to the Basenji.
Hurley was 2 years-ish when we got him. He's now 4 years-ish. Hurley is fiercely loyal and won't leave my side unless it's to be with this cutie pie. He's also deathly afraid of water and won't do his duty in our yard. He has to be walked. YES it's a pain in the behind. My girls have learned responsibility, love and compassion from Hurley. They have learned to love something despite his differences, oddities and sometimes grumpiness.
These girls are Elsie and Luci. Luci the grey cat was adopted as a stray kitten from my church. We rescued her from the mobs of children at VBS. Elsie the orange/white cat was adopted as a stray as well. When we got Elsie, we were told that she was severely malnourished as a newborn. We now know that because she was malnourished, she will never grow large and of course she is different like Hurley. She's very skittish, crazy and will only let you pet her under her terms. Both of these cats have chosen my oldest as their keeper. They sleep only with her. It's a great feeling when you get to see your child's bond with an animal.
Along with the good comes the bad as well. Luci recently ate a hair tie. This caused severe dehydration and a surgery to retrieve the hair tie that had unraveled in her entire system. The surgery was VERY expensive. Thanks to the kindness of donors, part of the expenses were covered. The other part of the bill will take some (a lot of) time to pay off. Once again, the animals have taught my children a valuable lesson. Saving and sacrifice to give to something that you love. This has been a hard one.
Have you read "The First Dog" by Jan Brett? If you haven't, you must go out and get it from your library or bookstore ASAP. It is a quick read that captivates students. It is set in paleolithic times. It has beasts to delight every child. The book tells a tale about a dog that wouldn't leave a little boy alone. Through their journey, the dog teaches the boy his value by saving him from a Sabertooth. Eventually the dog becomes the first pet and receives the first dog tag. So cute!!!! The students had a great time finding important details from the text. They made a dog craft with their writing in it.
Well we shouldn't leave out the felines so I want to share this book, "Comet's Nine Lives" with you. Another great folk tale by Jan Brett. This book details what a cat's nine lives may look like. A brief warning, the cat dies eight times in the story. Of course it is written in a very child friendly way and the cat lives happily ever after at the end of the book. I explained to my students that it's a fictional book and the cat is happy as a clam at the end. So no harm or foul.
Both of the above books are quick reads. They could each be read in one shared reading lesson. They are appropriate for K-3. It would be so much fun to have a Cat and Dog Week in class. You could add in informational cat and dog books. At the end of the week the students could compare cats and dogs. How much fun would it be to have them write an opinion piece during writing? Which makes a better pet - cats or dogs? If you would like more lesson ideas and materials you can click on the pictures. These materials are part of my Jan Brett unit on TPT.