Animals in Literature

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Tulip Loves Rex

Tulip loves to dance. When she meets Rex, a dog who also likes to ’dance’, an instant bond is formed. This is a story about friendship, doing what you love, and sharing that with someone special.

Why use this book:

  • Showcases that animals (dogs) are unique just like humans. Tulip isn’t like other girls, and Rex isn’t like other dogs.

Animal Welfare Considerations:

  • Tulip does not meet Rex (a strange dog) in a realistic or safe manor. When meeting a new dog, it is important to ask the dog’s owner for permission first, and let the dog come to you.
  • Tulip hugs Rex at the end of the story. While this is a common portrayal in many picture books, most dogs (even your family pet) are probably not comfortable being hugged. When dogs feel uncomfortable there a potential for them to bite.

Ask your students:

  • Why did Tulip bond with Rex so quickly? They both liked to ‘dance’
  • What are some of the similarities and differences that you have with your friends?
  • Do you think the family made the right decision by taking Rex home? The family decided on a whim that Rex can join their family. This could give students a false narrative that adding a pet to the family can be decided on a whim. Adding a pet to the family is a big responsibility, and one that should be thought through to ensure that the pet’s needs can be met for the entirety of their life.
  • What advice would you give the family before they made the decision to keep Rex? Try and find Rex’s owners by checking for identification, call animal control/shelters, take Rex to a veterinarian, etc.


  • Do dogs like hugs? – As a class, watch this short Alberta SPCA video where dog behaviour specialist, Kris Rooney, answers the question: Do dogs like hugs? Then, as a class come up with a list of other ways to show dogs affection or respect. Taking on a walk, giving a treat, brushing, playing, petting or scratching, , giving dogs space (if they are uncomfortable with dogs), etc.  Next, take a poll of your class to find out “what is your favourite way to show dogs you care for them/give them respect.” Students can collect the data and create a bar or pie graph to display the data.
  • Greeting dogs – Often when we see dogs, we get excited and want to pet them, without always thinking if the dogs want to be petted. Ask students: How would you feel if someone that you did not know came up and invaded your personal space? Do you think dogs would share that feeling? As a class, go over Sophia Yin’s guide to greeting a dog (and what to avoid). In pairs or small groups, have students pick an interaction for them to role play (the incorrect interactions as well as the correct human to dog interaction) for the class. See if students can guess which human-dog interaction is recommended! After each group presents, have a discussion on what made some interactions recommended and why the others should be avoided

Additional Resources Related to Book:

  • For additional information on dog safety (reading dog body language, safely greeting a dog, etc.) visit The Family Dog website
  • For additional information on greeting a strange dog visit the BC SPCA website.


Alyssa Satin Capucilli, 2013


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