Captain Jack could hear the birds chirping, which he thought must have been a good thing. He no longer heard any of the banging, clanging, or loud noises. He pushed his nose into the little slit in the top of the box and took a deep breath. The air smelled like rain. He loved to play in rain but didn’t like thunder and lightning. They scared Captain Jack. His MawMaw had taught him to be honest so he could admit he was scared by the thunder and lightning going on outside his box. Each time he heard the thunder, he wanted to run and hide. He was terrified of the lightning. Today he didn’t feel safe inside the box because every time it thundered the ground shook and he could see flashes of lightning through the little slit at the top of the box.

Suddenly the box started to move, and then it got very wet inside. The puppy tried to crawl to a dry spot. But within minutes, the entire box was soaked and starting to get soft. The wind sounded like a loud roar, the box lid flew open, and he was getting pelted by little balls of ice. He could see trees going by very fast and figured the box must have been floating on water. Very fast, scary, rushing water. It took everything in him and all his self-control to stay in the floating box. He wanted to jump out. But he was afraid if he did, he might drown.

All of a sudden the box fell apart and Captain Jack went flying through the air. He kept swirling around and around and could see the tops of the trees. He closed his eyes, thinking he would never see his MawMaw again. While his eyes were closed, he could feel himself falling, falling, falling. Then—with a thud—he landed in a huge pile of leaves and mud. Captain Jack opened his eyes and could see nothing but leaves, mud, and broken-down trees. He could hear a faint cry that sounded like nothing he had heard before. He saw two small, muddy and dirty children: a boy and a girl. They were wandering around and crying.

The puppy let out a small whimper and they stopped. The girl was going to run away, but the boy looked at him and convinced her to wait. The boy slowly walked over to Captain Jack and sat down in the pile of leaves and mud with the puppy. They were a fine pair. Both soaked to the bone, muddy, and dirty. But the boy had a smile on his face and the puppy quit whimpering.

“Look, Penelope,” he called. “It’s a puppy and it needs our help.”

Apparently the little girl was in no mood to think of anything or anyone but herself. She yelled at the boy and told him to leave the stinky, dirty puppy alone.

“Boy, I’ll bet you are hungry,” the boy said.

Captain Jack really didn’t know what to do. Should he run away and hide or snuggle up to the boy? He decided to snuggle up because he was really cold and wet. The boy lifted the puppy up, gave him a hug, and promised the dog he wouldn’t leave him there all alone. Then the boy scolded Penelope for being unkind.

Penelope responded, “We can’t even find food for ourselves and you want to try to feed a puppy?” She was actually yelling at him. At least you could say that she was being honest about her feelings.

But the boy showed such incredible patience and self-discipline with her. He didn’t yell back and wasn’t mean to her in return. He seemed to understand how miserable she was and also how much the puppy needed help.

Kindly he told Penelope, “We’ll find a way and work it out. The pup can share my food, and you don’t have to share if you don’t want to.”

“Wow,” she responded, “you really have lost your mind.”

The boy assured her all three of them would be fine. However Captain Jack could see the worry in the boy’s eyes as he walked silently and he and Penelope continued to look for food and shelter of some kind.

Follow-up Activity: What three actions can you take if you find a lost pet during or after a storm or disaster? What three actions can you take if you cannot find your pet after a storm or disaster?

Story Discussion Tips:
  1. How did Captain Jack feel before the storm started? How do you feel about storms? Rain? Thunder? Lightning? Wind? Hail?
  2. How do you think Captain Jack felt when the box he was in fell apart and he went flying through the air?
  3. What did Captain Jack hear while he was lying in the leaves and mud?
  4. What kinds of attitudes did the girl have? How would you describe her? What qualities did the boy demonstrate in his actions and words? How would you describe him?
  5. What did the girl think of the boy and his actions and thoughts? How did he respond to her? What would you have done if you were the boy?
Humane Education Point: People often help find pets during a storm or disaster. What do you do to prepare your pets for a disaster so they don’t get lost? Or if they do get lost, how do you help them get back home to you if they are found by a stranger?

Organization of the Month:

KC Pet Project is a 501c3, nonprofit charitable organization operating the Kansas City, Missouri Animal Shelter. We care for nearly 10,000 animals a year and work collaboratively with Animal Control and other animal welfare organizations to increase the number of homeless pets adopted, and focus on lifesaving programs promoting pet retention, identification, lost pet reunions, and pet ownership education throughout the community. The KC Pet Project (KCPP™) is creating a No Kill Kansas City – we’re passionate about lifesaving!

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