It turned out the big, goofy black-and-brown dog that Captain Jack had thought was named Horace also had another name. The puppy found out the dog’s real name that day when he blacked out after encountering the jellyfish. The big dog’s name was actually Hero.

That fateful day as Captain Jack floated farther out to sea, Hero saved him. Hero jumped into the water and swam faster than he could have run. He was an excellent swimmer. Since Captain Jack had a harness on, the big dog grabbed the harness with his mouth and swam valiantly back to the shore with the harness held tightly in his mouth, dragging the puppy along to safety. Amber had initially been the one to swim to Captain Jack’s rescue, but it was Hero who actually dragged the paralyzed puppy back to the beach.

Once Hero, Captain Jack, and Amber were back on the beach, Sarah immediately performed puppy CPR on Captain Jack, and the puppy began to breathe and move normally again. Captain Jack checked to see that all his limbs were still there and working. They were, and his tail was still in place too. The puppy wagged it just to see if it still worked, and it did. To all who were watching, it appeared that no great harm had been done.

Everyone talked at once about how glad they were that Sarah had taken a doggy CPR course and what a good job she did reviving Captain Jack. All the while, Amber and Hero stood by Captain Jack’s side, never leaving him for a second. Everyone complimented Amber and Hero for their efforts in Captain Jack’s rescue. Everyone hugged and petted both dogs.

The big black-and-brown dog that the puppy had thought was so goofy had another side to his personality. Apparently, in the past he had won an award for having saved a child’s life. And he had actually survived some sort of catastrophe himself. He had truly earned the name Hero. Captain Jack gained a new respect for Hero that day and never again referred to him as a goofy dog.

The funny thing is that respect is something no one can really make up or force on anyone. It is something that must be earned. Captain Jack realized he had never really understood what respect meant. He had never had the opportunity to learn about respect for himself, for anyone else, or for any other dog. It had always made the puppy nervous when he was being challenged by a dog bigger or faster than he was. He was never sure enough about himself when he was around others of his species. Maybe that stemmed from his bad experiences as a young pup. Anyway, things were about to change for Captain Jack in a big way.

Earlier at Stephanie and Robert’s home, Captain Jack had made one friend that was both a hero and a survivor: the big black-and-brown dog named Hero. Today he had made another friend named Amber. Like Hero, she was not only a hero, but also a survivor. In the puppy’s eyes, they were both amazing dogs. Amber could do anything any dog with four legs could do. She could run, jump, swim, and play catch. And she loved to play Frisbee. It was pretty amazing how she had learned to adjust to her life with only three legs. She was really an inspiration, and Captain Jack found that he respected her in another way as well. The puppy respected the ways she carried herself, never gave up, and never thought less of herself just because she had lost a leg. In fact, it was almost something she was proud of. She definitely didn’t feel any less capable than any other dog. And you know what? Sarah, her owner, was the same way. They were the perfect human-animal companion bonded pair. They both inspired others and gained respect wherever they went.

Captain Jack’s harrowing, experience turned out to be nothing more than having tangled with what humans called a jellyfish. It looked like something that would have been fun to play with in the water. Boy oh boy, was the puppy ever wrong. Nothing could have been further from the truth. It turned out the jellyfish puts out a toxin whenever it is touched. The toxin causes great pain and temporary paralysis. Well, guess which puppy will never go near another jellyfish. You guessed it: yours truly

Sarah and Amber had one more surprise in store for all of us. She had another dog. They all went back to her home to meet him. He was also a tripod. But he was not quite the same type of dog as Amber, who was missing a back leg. Instead he had come from an abusive situation where he had been severely injured. The injury had necessitated that his front leg be amputated. His personality was not nearly as friendly as Amber’s. In fact, he was not very good at socializing with other dogs or people. Boy, someone must have been really mean to him in the past. Sarah told us he was a “work in progress” and said he had already improved greatly since he had come to her home and spent time around Amber.

He was a nervous type of dog and because of that, he made Captain Jack nervous too. The puppy decided he wouldn’t bother with Sarah’s nervous dog and would just focus on Amber and Hero as friends for now. Sarah’s other dog didn’t seem disappointed by that at all. In fact, it seemed as though he had never had a friend before and didn’t really know how to make friends. All of them decided that maybe he just needed to be around some nice dogs and people. He could watch them for a while until he became more comfortable. The dog could learn by watching them as they played and enjoyed being with each other. They all decided it would be best to show him respect and not try to force themselves on him. They gave him all the space and time he needed to heal mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Story Discussion Tips:
  1. In what ways did characters in this episode demonstrate respect toward one another?
  2. How did Hero help Captain Jack in the story? Why did Captain Jack respect Hero and Amber much more after what happened in the ocean?
  3. What did Captain Jack find out about Hero’s past that showed ways in which the big black-and-brown dog really was a hero?
  4. How would you feel if you ever became physically unable to function on your own? What do you think you would do? How would you react?
  5. Have you ever witnessed a person or an animal being saved from a life-threatening situation? What happened? What emotions did you feel while it was happening? What emotions did you feel afterward?
Humane Education Follow-up Activities: Make a list of things people who are respectful say to others. Examples include the following: “Please.” “Thank you.” “Excuse me.” “May I hold the door for you?” “I’m sorry if I offended you.” “Could I help you by carrying that?”

Make a list of things people do to show respect. Examples include the following: listening carefully without interrupting, picking up after themselves, holding a door open, putting trash outdoors into receptacles, following the rules of the road when riding a bicycle, not cutting in line in front of someone, using appropriate voice volume for the environment, following classroom rules, being on time for classes or games or practices or events, turning a cell phone’s ringer to silent in a bank or store checkout line or hospital, being silent during a concert or play or program or speech or church service, placing flowers or candles or letters at memorials, writing a special story to honor someone, attending a graduation ceremony or an awards ceremony for someone, or telling a military person or a veteran thank you for their service.

What would you do if someone were disrespectful to you? How would you act? What would you say? Role-play a situation when this happened to you. Then role-play it in a different way.

Keep a journal of actual times when you showed respect for someone or for a pet and when someone showed respect for you. Include the date when each event happened. Keep this journal to read later to remind you of these meaningful, positive, inspiring times that illustrate the meanings of the word respect.

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