Captain Jack sat—wet and shivering—in the dark box, not knowing where he was. His MawMaw had taught him not to bark since it made most humans mad. He always listened to his MawMaw because the others in the barn called her the “Wise One.” Whom was he to doubt the “Wise One”? He and his brothers and sisters never really had lived in a home, but did have a nice barn that was warm and smelled sweet from hay. He loved the smell of the horses and cows. But now all he could smell were things he didn’t even know how to describe.

“Where am I?” Captain Jack asked himself, curling up in a little ball to keep warm. “Where is my MawMaw, and why didn’t she come back?” he wondered to himself.

He didn’t like being all alone in the dark with nothing to eat or drink and no one to keep him warm and dry. He missed his brothers and sisters. He was hungry and thirsty, but the little bits of food and water that had been left in the box were all gone. His MawMaw had taught him that if he remained calm and didn’t panic—even when he was scared—eventually something good would happen. He didn’t doubt that her words were true. He could hear her voice in the darkness that surrounded him, and it made him feel safe inside: “Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock. When the world says, ‘Give up,’ Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’ ” MawMaw had told him this the time he fell down into a big ditch and couldn’t get out. Eventually he did get out, but only after many hours of trying over and over again. He never gave up hope and persevered in his efforts to get out of that ditch.

All of a sudden there was a loud bang sound that shook the ground. Then a puff of black, putrid smoke wafted into his box, making him cough and choke. That brought him back to the reality of where he was. He couldn’t breathe and wanted to run away, but didn’t know where to run. He tucked his head under his tail, closed his eyes, and hoped this was all just a bad dream. He fell asleep whimpering and shivering, but hopeful that when he woke up, his MawMaw would return and he could get out of the box. He remembered her words once more: “When the world says, ‘Give up,’ Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’” He went to sleep peacefully, believing that he could persevere and survive.

Follow-up Activity: What three actions can you take if you find you cannot keep your pet?

Story Discussion Tips:
  1. What are your favorite smells? While Captain Jack was stuck in the box in paragraph one, what do you think some of the smells that he couldn’t describe actually were? Did you change your mind as you read more of the story? Why?
  2. How do you think Captain Jack felt when his MawMaw didn’t come back?
  3. What do you do when you’re scared?
  4. Do you have someone who has given you wise words to help you whenever you’re scared? What did that person say that helped you when you were scared?
  5. Can you remember a time when you did not give up when you wanted to? How did it feel?
Humane Education Point: Millions of pets are abandoned every year. Many—if not most—meet with a sad ending. Please be responsible. If you cannot keep your pet or don’t want it, call a local rescue group or animal shelter. Someone is almost always willing to help if you will ask. Please don’t abandon your pet and leave it helpless to fend for itself.

Organization of the Month:
Take a Moment - Make a Difference

Our Mission

We raise, train, and place service dogs with disabled veterans and children. The majority of our recipients include children with autism and combat veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and mobility issues. Paws & Effect is approaching its 10 year anniversary with a hard won optimism and enthusiasm. With a continued dedication to Pet Partners, Paws & Effect intends to more fully develop its volunteer base and support its handlers with ongoing education, regular evaluations and a more diverse selection of volunteer opportunities. Paws & Effect is proud to continue to place service dogs at little to no cost to recipients, while covering all the veterinary and training expenses associated with raising service dogs.

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