by Marjorie Blaine Wilson
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
This is the story of a good but difficult day in the life of a boy named Riley. Riley’s dog Jasper is very sick. His family plans a day of all of Jasper’s favorite things—his favorite foods, his favorite places and his favorite people. Jasper’s day ends with the last loving acts his family can do for him—giving him freedom from pain and peace.
ASK: If you could choose three special things to do in a day, what would they be? Why are those things special to you?
SHOW: Look at the pictures of Jasper in the car, at the lake and at grandma’s house. Do you think Jasper is enjoying his day?
CONNECT: How do the things that you do become even better when you share them with someone you love? Can you think of something that you always do with someone else? Would you enjoy it as much if you did it alone?
ASK: Why did his family plan a special day for Jasper?
SHOW: Look at the pictures of Jasper’s face. Is he a young dog or an old dog?
CONNECT: Riley put a beanbag chair “in the right spot” for Jasper to land on when he gets up. How have you taken care of someone who is older or sick?
ASK: Riley said that Jasper’s day was the hardest day of his life. Have you had hard days to get through? What did you or others do to help you get through them?
SHOW: Look at the pictures of Riley and his mom embracing and Jasper’s funeral. What special things did they put in with Jasper?
CONNECT: Animals become such integral members of our families. When they die we miss them greatly. Has someone that you loved died? How do you keep the memory of them with you?
- When people die it is customary to send their family a card to let them know you are sorry for their loss. Design a card that could be sent to someone whose pet died. It might be nice to focus on happier times too, so create some cards for pet’s birthdays and adoption days, holiday cards, you name it. Perhaps you can sell them and donate the money to a local animal shelter.
- Write a story about your special pet. If you don’t have a pet, you can write one about a pet you’d like to have or the pet of someone you know. Write about the wonderful times that are shared with the pet and how much the pet is loved.
- It is hard to know the right things to say or do when a friend looses someone they love. Visit the ASPCA website for more ideas to help you or someone you know through the loss of a pet.