Buddy Unchained Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
K, 1, 2, 3
animal cruelty
by Daisy Bix - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this picture book. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions to build children's understanding of generosity, community, and service to others. Spanish Version Attached.

Have you ever rescued a pet? In this charming story, Buddy, a rescued dog, tells us about his life after being adopted and his painful experiences before. Buddy is forced to spend most of his time chained in a yard with little food and water and taunted by mean children before he is rescued and adopted by a caring family. Children will feel empathy for Buddy as they view the moving pictures in this book. As they look into Buddy’s sad eyes and read about his painful life, they will come to understand that animals deserve caring treatment just as people do. Help children understand the basic needs of all people and animals and how it is our responsibility to care for each other. How can you help care for animals?

Before Reading

ASK: Have you ever seen a dog chained up?

SHOW: Look at the pictures of Buddy chained. Talk about how you might feel if you were chained in one place and could not go anywhere else all day.

CONNECT: Have you ever seen a pet being hurt, taunted, or left without food or water? Talk about what to do if you see an animal being neglected. We should never try to do anything ourselves, but we should tell an adult or the police. Never go near a dog that is chained. If you see a dog being hurt, you should get help. If you see a dog chained, work with an adult to think of ways to help the dog’s owner decide not to chain the dog.

During Reading

ASK: What does a pet need to be taken care of well?

SHOW: Look at the pictures throughout the story and point out when Buddy has or is lacking the basic necessities of a pet. For example, look at the picture of Buddy eating and say, “Dogs need food and fresh water.”

CONNECT: What do you need to live? Have students name things that they need to live, such as food and water. Explain that all people and animals have a right to basic needs.

After Reading

ASK: Who do you think took Buddy away? Where did he take him?

SHOW: Look at the pictures of Buddy being rescued. Point out the man’s uniform. Also have children notice how careful the rescuers are when they take care of Buddy.

CONNECT: Do you know how animals are rescued in your neighborhood or community? Why do you think these people rescue animals? What happens to the animals after they are rescued?


  1. Create a humane animal treatment flyer. Read it as a family. Then take a family walk and distribute the flyer in your neighborhood.
  2. Talk about signs of animal cruelty and neglect, such as:
    • Wounds on the body
    • Patches of missing hair
    • Very thin, starving animals
    • Limping
    • An owner hitting an animal
    • Dogs that are often left alone without food and water, sometimes chained up in a yard
    • Dogs that are hurt but have not been taken to a veterinarian
    • Dogs that are kept outside without shelter in severe weather, such as snow storms
    • Animals that shy away in fear or act violently around their owners
    • [List adapted from the ASPCA—see www.aspca.org.]

    These are negatives, but we can also think of positive ways to impact a pet’s life. Have children draw pictures that show ways to make a pet comfortable and feel loved. For example, a picture of a pet in summer may show the pet sitting with a child under an awning with a bowl of water. Help children start their drawings by asking what a pet might need during a hot summer or a cold winter or what the pet might need to sleep comfortably.

  3. Find the group in your area that is in charge of investigating animal cruelty. Put the name and number by your telephone. If you see an animal being treated cruelly, make sure you write down (or tell an adult) exactly what you saw, when you saw it, and where. But don’t put yourself in danger. Tell an adult and ask him or her to report it.
  4. Take the Animal Cruelty Pledge on the ASPCAs Web site. Go to www.aspca.org and click on the “Fight Animal Cruelty” bar under Key Issues on the home page. Fill out the form to take the pledge to end animal cruelty.
  5. Make a list of needs and wants for pets. A need is something you have to have to live. A want is something you would like to have. How are the needs and wants of people and pets the same or different? Make large collages on construction paper using images cut from old magazines. Create one collage for needs and one for wants.
  6. The ASPCA defines animal welfare as the compassion and respect due animals as living, responsive beings. Animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans. Think of ways people can be respectful to animals and to other people. Talk about how it feels to be treated with respect.