Animals in Literature

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“Let’s Get a Pup!” Said Kate

When Kate and her parents go to the animal shelter to adopt a puppy, it’s love at first sight – twice! The young family decides that two dogs are better than one – especially when one is wee and bouncy, and the other “old and gray and broad as a table.” A fun way to introduce the joys – and struggles – of pet ownership.

Why use this book:

  • Demonstrates the benefits and challenges of owning a pet
  • Highlights adopting from an animal shelter as one way to bring a pet into the family
  • Highlights the strong connection and relationships people have with animals, known as the human-animal bond

Ask your students:

  • Pre-Reading Discussion Questions
    • Show the front cover of the book and ask students what they think the book is about.
    • Ask students why some people like to have pets
    • Discuss the responsibilities of owning a pet. (Stress that it’s okay not to have a pet)
  • Post-Reading Discussion Questions
    • What does the author mean when he says “there were only Kate’s two feet to keep each other company?” Describe a time when you were lonely.
    • What is a rescue centre? What is the name of a rescue centre (animal shelter) in our community? Have you ever been to a rescue center?
    • Have you ever helped an animal? Have you ever adopted a pet from an animal shelter or picked up litter so that wildlife and neighbourhood pets don’t eat it and get sick? What are other ways to help animals?
    • Why do you think Kate and her family wanted to adopt a puppy instead of an adult? Do you think more people want to adopt puppies or adult dogs?
    • How does the author describe Rosy? The phrase “she radiated good intention” means Rosy used body language to show how she was feeling. What do you think Rosy was trying to communicate?
    • Kate and her parents all had wishes for Rosy that came true. What were they? Do you have any wishes for animals in shelters?
    • What words and pictures in the story show us that Kate and her family are responsible pet owners? What other responsibilities do pet owners have to make sure their pets are happy and healthy?
    • What did you learn from this story that you didn’t already know? Did you learn anything new that has changed what you previously thought?


  • Reasons to Adopt – Ask students if they think baby animals get adopted more often than adult animals. Make a class list of the reasons to adopt an adult pet versus a puppy or kitten.
  • Which Animal Would You Adopt? Group Activity – Have students form groups of 4 or 5 and hand out Animal Cards. Students will take turns selecting a card, placing them face up on the table and listing one benefit and one challenge of owning that animal. Other group members can then add other benefits and challenges.  Encourage students to think of as many as possible. When students are finished going through all the cards, have each group member pick the animal that would suit their family the best and explain why. Once groups are finished ask a few students to share their responses with the group .
  • Which Animal Would You Adopt? Writing Exercise – Once students have shared their responses within their group, ask them to write about what pet they would like to have and give three reasons why. Prior Knowledge:Students should have had experience
    • Writing simple sentences
    • Using visual organizers

    Teachers then use the following process for the writing exercise:

    1. Brainstorming – Group activity to generate ideas (Animal Cards Group Activity)
    2. Drafting – Using visual organizer to organize ideas and create writing piece.
    3. Revising – In small groups, students read their drafts then add, delete or change words to improve their writing.
    4. Editing – In small groups or as a whole class, have students check to ensure that they have capitals at the beginning of sentences and proper names, periods at the end of sentences and that frequently used words were spelled correctly.
    5. Publishing –Decide if students should rewrite their drafts into good copies or whether draft copies already represent students’ best work.
  • Pet Survey – Using the Student Activity Sheet – Pet Survey, ask students how many have pet horses, cats, dogs, birds, fish, other pets, or no pet.  Have students complete the graph by colouring in the right number of animals for each category. Emphasize that it’s okay not to have a pet – not every situation is a good one for animals.You can choose how your students will collect the data – using concrete objects, tallies, check marks, charts or lists.

    After the graph is complete, have students ask and answer questions and draw conclusions using the information from the graphs.


    Question: Do more people have cats or dogs?

    Conclusion: More people in my class have cats than dogs.

     Question: What is the least popular pet?

    Conclusion: The least popular pet in my class is a horse.

    If there are not enough students with pets, you can use the data collected from post-reading Activity #2 to create the graphs.


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