This is a tale about Buddy
Last year I took a course through RedRover called “RedRover Readers.” Here is a paragraph explaining a bit about the program.
The RedRover Readers program promotes empathy by presenting powerful stories, encouraging children to put themselves in the place of animals, and asking questions that promote critical thinking. A 2009 pilot study of the program (then known as the Humane Education Ambassador Readers) conducted by Inverness Research, Inc. suggests that the program:
~Builds self-esteem and motivates students to take an important subject seriously
~Stimulates additional student-directed learning
~Builds students’ knowledge and potentially affects their behaviors related to caring for pets
~Builds students’ empathy and compassion for pets
(Taken from redrover.org)
A few days ago I read a book called “Buddy Unchained” to some children. This book is part of the Readers program. It is about a dog that was ignored by his family. He was left outside on a chain in the cold and in the rain. He wasn’t fed or given fresh water everyday. Children threw rocks at him and because he was on a chain he could not escape or protect himself.
While reading the book, I would stop and ask questions to the children. The questions are geared for them to do the observing and thinking on their own. They are asked to look at his body language and what is happening on the page. And then asked questions like “How do you think he feels?” and “What is he learning about people?”
This dog is so neglected and finally one day collapses in the snow. A man takes the chain off of him and carries him to a shelter where they warm him up, clean him, feed him, and get him ready for adoption. A family does comes to adopt him and they name him “Buddy.” Buddy is brought INTO his new home where they play with him, cuddle with him, take him for walks, and tell him he is a good boy.
Again, I asked the children questions about how they think Buddy feels by looking at his body language and what is happening in the picture.
While reading and discussing this with them I wound up in tears for two reasons. One, I am a huge softy, emotional mess when it comes to animals and the story is a tear-jerker. Two, because of the comments the children were making. Here are some:
“Awww…I can’t stand it.”
“How can they do that to him?”
“Someone must have bought him when they didn’t even really care about him.”
“How did they get him off that chain?”
And then of course, the typical children’s answer:
“I hate those people!”
“They are so mean!”
“I’m gonna punch those people.”
But hey, who are we kidding? We adults think those very same things, right?!
I encourage you to consider purchasing this book for the children in your life, whether they are grandchildren, nieces, nephews, godchildren, neighbors, or your own. We all have children in our life. Children are the future for animals, we need to teach them empathy towards them which also helps them learn empathy in general. This book is available on Amazon. You can see the entire book here.
The tale about Buddy does have a happy ending. But there are many dogs, like Buddy, still waiting and need our help.
I would like to end with another question one of the children had when I read the part in the book where the man unchained him was, “they stole the dog?”
Yowzah! That’s a tough question! From the picture in the story, it looks like the guy is wearing possibly a uniform. But if the dog belonged to another family and if they hadn’t been warned, and if it wasn’t a humane organization or the police that took him, then yes, maybe technically, he would be considered stolen.
But there needs to be more laws protecting animals! It should not be considered “stealing” an animal when they are neglected or abused. It is rescuing, is it not? We can’t be expected to sit by and watch a living creature suffer, or worse, die.
Unchain Your Dog is a helpful website that has a list called 18 Ways to Help a Chained Dog among other great resources including how we can help pass new laws.