Captain Jack could hear his mother’s voice whispering in his ear. He didn’t doubt that her words were true.

“Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.”

And more of her wise words: “When the world shouts, ‘Give up,’ Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’ ”

It was as if his mother were right next to him. The past year of Captain Jack’s life had been such a whirlwind of change, adventures, and new opportunities. MawMaw had always told him the world would give him exactly what he expected. She said, “What goes around comes around.” And she always told him that showing kindness was one of the most-important things never to forget.

During the past year, Captain Jack had learned that his mother’s words were true. He had met Penelope, Allen, Stephanie, Robert, Hero, Sarah, Amber, and Howie. He had dedicated his life to being kind to everyone every day, and—in turn—kindness had always come back to him.

However, Captain Jack was about to embark on a path where kindness was not always the rule.

Oh my, I wonder if my MawMaw were here at some time, Captain Jack thought to himself. He stood in front of a large cement-block building with graffiti all over it. The terrible smell coming from the building was something he had never encountered. It burned his nose and made him feel sick to his stomach. But it was not only that.

The screams he heard were like nothing he had ever heard before. They made him want to run away as fast as he could and to run toward them to help the screamer, all at the same time. The puppy was confused and conflicted. Should he go in and look for his MawMaw? Should he turn away and run as far away from this scary place as possible? He didn’t know what to do. He decided to run and get as far away as possible. He ran as fast as his little legs could carry him until he came to a park with big trees, swings, people flying kites, children playing, slides, and children riding bikes. The happy scene reminded him of Penelope and Allen and how very kind they had been to him from the start. He thought the children in the park would treat him with kindness too, but he was in for quite a shock.

Why did the children run away from him and scream?

Captain Jack called to them, “Bark-bark. Stop. Wait. Come play with me. Can you help me find my MawMaw? Bark-bark. Whine-whine. Cry.”

He ran after the children, thinking they would want to play with him and help him. Finally Captain Jack sat down. He was bewildered. The children had all scattered and had run away, screaming at the tops of their lungs and looking for their parents or for a safe place to hide. At first he thought they were playing hide-and-seek, but they weren’t smiling or laughing. They didn’t look or act like they wanted to play with him. Captain Jack was totally perplexed. He didn’t know what to think.

It was getting dark. The poor puppy sat down under a bench and decided to rest a bit. Then a big white pickup truck came circling around the park. It had a kennel in the back and big letters with pictures of animals on its sides. The letters read “ANIMAL CARE AND CONTROL.” A large burly man wearing a hat got out of the truck and started walking toward Captain Jack.

The puppy thought to himself Should I run away or stay safely under the bench? Maybe the man won’t see me. He doesn’t look like a very kind person.

Story Discussion Tips:
  1. Did anyone show Captain Jack kindness in this month’s episode? If not, why not?
  2. How do you think Captain Jack felt when the children in the park ran away screaming? Why? What did Captain Jack want to do with the children?
  3. What could the children have done differently?
  4. If you had been one of those playing children, what would you have done? Why?
  5. Do you have someone who has shown you kindness? What did that person say or do to show you kindness? How did that make you feel?
Follow-up Activities:

What’s the name of the custodian in your building? Each and every day, we walk past nameless faces. Some of us never even show these people a smile or greet them. There are people in our lives who bring with them a wealth of support and knowledge. These people are waiting for a simple act of kindness. On a piece of paper, list several people whom you encounter almost every day. Next to each name, write one way you can be kind to each of these people.

In the “Humane Education Point” section above, several ways to show kindness have been listed. Can you think of any other ways to show kindness? Talk with someone about these ways to show kindness.

For two weeks, keep a journal. Each day record in your journal something kind you did for someone, said to someone, or witnessed someone do for someone or say to someone.

Here are some websites about kindness you may want to check out with the help of an adult:


A true story for your reading pleasure: “During my second year of nursing school, our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: ‘What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?’ Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. ‘Absolutely,’ the professor said. ‘In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.’ I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her first name was Dorothy.” --Joann C. Jones

Organization of the Month:
Russell Rescue

Russell Rescue, Inc. (RRI) is a network of volunteers dedicated to placing unwanted or abandoned Jack Russells into permanent homes. RRI arranges for emergency rescues throughout the country, and gathers information designed to match appropriate permanent and temporary homes. It is funded by donations and supported by Jack Russell Terrier lovers and volunteers throughout the world.

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