Animals in Literature

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Fred Stays with Me!

Told from the point of view of a young child whose parents are divorces, Fred Stays with Me! follows a girl and her dog from one parent’s house to the other’s, giving her a sense of stability and comfort. The story addresses and expresses a child’s concerns, highlights the bond that can form between children and pets, and resolves conflict in a positive way.

Why use this book:

  • Highlights the strong connection and relationships people have with animals, known as the human-animal bond
  • Highlights responsible pet ownership behaviours

Note for Teachers:

  • This book touches on the topic of a girl with divorced parents who lives part time with each of her parents and may not be suitable for all students or classes. In the front matter of the Health and Life Skills program of studies, it is stated that the program allows students to:
    • Help expand strategies for coping
    • Understand there are social factors beyond their immediate control, which have a significant impact on their health
    • learn strategies to deal with….traumatic events.
    • examine the various sources of stress in relationships
  • The activities and discussion are designed around pet companionship rather than divorce

Ask your students:

  • What are some of the ways Fred comforts the girl?
  • What are some of the characteristics of being a good friend?
  • In what ways are animal and human behaviours similar? Different?
  • Which behaviours of Fred’s are considered inappropriate as a pet? Why? Do you have a pet that misbehaves? How do you train your pet to behave appropriately?
  • Is Fred a bad dog because of his behaviors? Why or why not?
  • Why do Fred’s inappropriate behaviours become a problem for the girl? How are the problems solved? How do you solve your problems?
  • In the story, the girl says when she is happy, Fred is happy, too and when she is sad, Fred is there. What does she mean by “Fred is there.”?
  • Do you think dogs (or any pets) can be sad? How do animals show their sadness?


  • Positive Interactions Through Art – There are many examples of the girl and Fred interacting in the story. As a class brainstorm a list of ways to positively and appropriately interact with animals. (Petting a dog, brushing a cat, feeding horse, playing fetch, filling a birdfeeder and observing birds, etc). Ask students to create art demonstrating a positive interaction with an animal.
  • How Service Animals Help Us – There are many ways animals can help us! As a class brainstorm a list of all the different types of animals that are trained to help people. Examples include: service dogs, hearing dogs, search & rescue dogs, seizure alert dogs, protection dogs, livestock guardian dogs, herding dogs, military dogs, therapy animals, etc.
  • Challenges and Solutions – Have students find a solution to match each of the following problems.
    • Challenges
      • Not listening
      • Muddy feet
      • Chewing clothes
      • Stealing clothes
      • Too much energy
    • Solutions
      • Buy a chew toy
      • Put clothes away
      • Wipe feet
      • Take for a long walk
      • Training or obedience classes

Additional Resources Related to Book:



Nancy Coffelt, 2007


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