Let's Get a Pup Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
K, 1, 2, 3
Animal Welfare
Civil Society
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.

In this story, Kate and her thoroughly modern parents yearn for a dog after the loss of a beloved cat. They visit an animal shelter and find Dave, who is “everything that a pup could be.” But they are sad to leave behind an older dog named Rosy who tugs at their heartstrings. Each family member has a wish for Rosy to be comfortable in a loving home. After one night at home with Dave, the family goes back and rescues Rosy. And, all their wishes for Rosy come true. If your family doesn’t already have a pet, this book will inspire you to rescue one or to help out needy shelter animals in any way you can.

Before Reading

ASK: Where can we go to find a pet? We can rescue a pet from an animal shelter. This is a place where pets live until a loving family adopts them.

SHOW: Look at the pictures of the dogs at the rescue center. People can go to an animal shelter or rescue center to find a pet that needs a home. Look at all the different dogs. Can you find happy, sad, excited, and quiet dogs?

CONNECT: There are as many different dogs as people. What makes the people in your family unique and special? What kind of pet do you think would fit best in your family?.

During Reading

ASK: What are the family’s three wishes for Rosy? Why do you think they wish these things for her?

SHOW: Look at the picture of the family walking away from Rosy’s kennel. How do you think they and Rosy feel?

CONNECT: Have you ever seen a person or animal in need and felt bad because you didn’t or couldn’t help them? If you didn’t help them, what could you do now to help? Just feeling for a person or animal is a great start. This is called compassion. Look up this word in a dictionary and think of ways to show compassion to others.

After Reading

ASK: Why do you think Kate’s family goes back for Rosy? How does this make Rosy feel? How do Kate and her parents feel?

SHOW: Look at the picture of the family, Dave, and Rosy hugging at the animal shelter. This is a family. What does it mean to be a family?

CONNECT: Who are the people and pets in your family? Draw a picture or write the names of the members of your family. What do you like best about being a family?


  1. Even if your family can’t adopt a pet right now, you can help the pets at animal shelters. First, find a shelter that accepts pet bed donations. Contact them to determine if they need used blankets and towels to use as pet beds. Then collect gently used blankets or large towels from friends, family, or community members. Wash the items in bleach and hot water and dry the used blanket Note: To find a local animal shelter near you, go to the ASPCA Web site and locate their “Find a Shelter” Web page by clicking on the “Adopt” bar on the left side of the home page, or look in your local phone book.
  2. Dogs at animal shelters can always use a treat to let them know they are loved. Make the dog biscuits below and take them to your local animal shelter for the dogs. Older children can help mix, measure, and knead, while younger children will be better at rolling out the dough and cutting biscuits with a cookie cutter.

    Makes 4 to 5 dozen dog biscuits
    Make sure there’s an adult to help you use the oven, and read the entire recipe before you begin baking.
    • 1 package dry yeast
    • 1/4 cup warm water
    • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
    • 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
    • 2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 cup rye flour
    • 2 cups cracked wheat or wheat germ
    • 1/2 cup dry milk
    • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tablespoon milk
    1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Add to vegetable or chicken stock. Next, combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl; add stock mixture.
    3. Knead mixture on a floured surface for about 3 minutes, working it into a stiff dough. Roll out to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut the dough into bars or use a dog-bone cookie cutter.
    4. Beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon milk. Brush each biscuit with a little of the egg/milk mixture and place on cookie sheets. Bake for about 45 minutes.
    5. Turn off the heat in the oven, but leave the biscuits in the oven overnight. This makes them hard and crunchy.
    6. Give a biscuit to a dog and watch it munch away!
    [Recipe courtesy of the ASPCA—see www.aspca.org and follow this path: “Humane Education” to “Service Learning” to “Make a Cat Nip Toy and Bake Dog Biscuits”]
  3. Don’t forget the cats! They need special attention too. Work together to make toys for the cats at the animal shelter.

    • Infant or child size crew socks
    • Cotton balls or cotton batting
    • Dried catnip
    • Non-toxic permanent markers
    • Non-toxic washable fabric glue
    1. Stuff the toe of the sock with 1 tablespoon of dried catnip.
    2. Next, stuff the foot of the sock with cotton balls or cotton batting.
    3. Squeeze fabric glue on the inside of the sock’s ribbing to glue the sock closed or knot the top of the sock.
    4. Decorate with fabric markers.
    NOTE: DO NOT add a fabric or yarn tail. It can be swallowed and become caught in the cat’s intestines, which could possibly result in a need for surgery.
    [Activity courtesy of the ASPCA— see www.aspca.org and follow this path: “Humane Education” to “Service Learning” to “Make a Cat Nip Toy and Bake Dog Biscuits”]
  4. Volunteer to help an elderly or sick neighbor walk their animal. You’ll make a new friend, get exercise, and feel great about yourself.