In Captain Jackís heart, he knew he needed to find out if his mother and family had survived the storm. He remembered the horrible storm, the cardboard box, and lots of water. He also remembered being scared, but he couldnít remember much more. Even though he had a great life and wonderful friends and family, it haunted him day and night that he didnít know what happened to his canine family. It wasnít that he lost sleep or anything like that. But still it was on his mind a lot.

Captain Jack realized there was nothing he could do about the past, but he was dedicated to finding out the answers to his questions in the future. He knew he needed to form a plan and see if he could convince at least Penelope and Allen to be advocates for him to convince their parents that a trip to find his long lost family could be in their future. Having such an idea is one thing, but being dedicated to seeing it through to reality is quite a different thing. Captain Jack realized it would take a good bit of work and an investment of time. His plan could even involve some money, which of course Captain Jack didnít have. That meant the puppy would definitely need the support of his friends and family.

Here was his initial plan. He wanted you to read it and let him know what you think. First heíll come up with an idea to raise some money to help cover some of the costs. He will have to convince Penelope and Allen to help him do that. Then they will need to decide on the best time of year to plan for travel when they wonít run into horrible weather that could cause problems. Next theyíll need to look at a map and plan a route to travel. Finally theyíll make the trip to find Captain Jackís canine mother and family. They will need to stay dedicated to the plan in order to succeed, but these four steps will make all the difference. It always helped to have a plan.

Captain Jack really didnít know where to start. But one thing he remembered was that one day before the storm, he noticed a flag flying on a pole. The flag had a white background with a crimson cross of St. Andrew that crossed the flag diagonally from corner to corner.

The puppy heard someone say one time that the official state gemstone was a Star Blue Quartz, but he didnít know what that was.

His former owner used to go hunting for wild turkey and said that the Eastern Wild Turkey was a sought-after prize to hunt. Since Captain Jack didnít like guns, he never went hunting with her.

Captain Jack never understood what this fact meant, but he learned before the storm that the official state mascot and butterfly was the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

It made the puppy feel good that some of these memories were coming back. Maybe his memories would help him find where he came from. He didnít remember the weather ever getting cold where he lived before the storm, but then he was a very young pup. He might not have remembered if it had been cold there.

Story Discussion Tips:
  1. Do you know anyone who is an orphan, whether it be a two- or four-footed friend or family member?
  2. What are some ways you can be a friend to that orphaned person or pet?
  3. Have you ever lost anyone you loved whether this was a two-footed, four-footed, furry, or feathered friend or family member? What is one good thing you remember about this person or pet?
  4. How did you feel after your loss? Did your feelings change over time? What memories help you feel better about your loss?
  5. People suffer losses every day. Itís how each person deals with each loss and the support he or she receives that can help to make the difference. Dealing with grief and loss takes time. What kinds of support did you receive after your loss? How did that support help you deal with your grief and loss?
Follow-up Activities: From the clues given in the story, can you guess which state Captain Jack was trying to identify because it was where he lived before the big storm? Write down your guess or guesses.

Go to your local public library. Ask the librarian to help you find lists of state gemstones, mascots, and butterflies. Also ask for help to find pictures of state flags. See if you can figure out the state that Captain Jack has identified with the help of all his returning memories.

You may want to ask an adult to search for each of the hints from the story in a web search. See if you two can discover the state that Captain Jack has identified through his memories.

Compare the state you identified with your written guesses. Did you guess correctly?

Read a poem about the Rainbow Bridge. Write your feelings about the death of a loved one or of a loved pet. If you feel comfortable doing so, share your feelings with someone you trust. If you donít feel comfortable sharing your feelings, think about ways you can share your feelings with others. Then make a dedicated effort to help someone who has lost a loved one or a loved pet.

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement is ďa nonprofit association of concerned volunteers who are experienced and knowledgeable in the tender subject of pet death.Ē Their website is aplb.org and can provide you with some helpful information and ideas.

The Pet Loss Support Page is on the web at pet-loss.net. It can provide tips for coping with pet loss, support groups, counselors, hot lines, handouts, and more.

Organization of the Month:

ďSAFPAW continues our groundbreaking spay/neuter work. Since our founding in 1998, we have fixed and vaccinated more than 10,000 dogs and cats in Davidson County, Tennessee, and that number continues to grow. Since 2001 we have focused solely on pets belonging to folks who are homeless or housed but live at or below the poverty level.

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