A story about “Changes” (SEAL topic) illustrating the value of LOVE (6mins)
Dotty the Dalmation has to leave her home
Everyone calls me Dotty, but actually I am ‘Miranda Saint Edmunds the Second’. I am a Dalmatian. I come from a long line of famous dogs. I am sure you know my breed; we are white, spotted all over with black dots. We are considered to be very pretty and a little stupid – hard to train – you know the sort of thing; we don’t like to ‘fetch’ or to ‘sit’. We just like to do our own thing.
When I was born, my owners had plenty of money. The husband worked in the city, in ‘The Bank’, and the wife had no job as such. She bred us Dalmatians and spent of lot of time walking us on Hampstead Heath. She had lots of friends who were all ‘doggy’ people. They used to arrive in their big ‘four by four’ vehicles, usually with at least two dogs for us to play with. My brothers and sisters all disappeared one by one usually in one of the big cars that arrived. My mother and I were the ones that our owners wanted to keep. They were very fond of us. We made them laugh and they never tired of telling stories about us to their ‘doggy’ friends.
One day the husband returned home looking very pale and worried. I might not be very clever but I knew I should not jump up to greet him that day. He didn’t even look at me. He came in and collapsed on the sofa, his head in his hands. I lay quietly and waited. When his wife came into the room she took one look at him and went white. “Has it happened?” she asked. He nodded his head. They both sat on the sofa and wept.
The next thing I remember was men arriving in a big van and taking all their expensive furniture away. Soon the house was empty. A ‘For Sale’ sign went up outside the front gate. My owners put us into a van with wire mesh on the windows. They patted us sadly and the wife said: “Be good dogs, you’ll be all right. Someone nice will find you.” We didn’t understand why we were being sent away. We knew our owners loved us. We felt very sad. We didn’t wag our tails, but barked anxiously until we were too tired to bark.
We were taken to a long building. Inside it were rows of cages. It was cold and smelly. There were lots of dogs, one or two in each cage. Many were barking. We were afraid. Some dogs lay looking sad or asleep at the backs of their cages. We were put into a cage together, my mother and I. I sat very close to her.
Now you may not think that dogs talk to each other but believe me, they do. My mother was a dog of few words, but when she did speak she was always wise. She said to me: “Someone new is going to come along and choose you, or me. We will go to different families. You must do your best, keep cheerful, and don’t be sad and miserable. Changes are difficult, but they are easier if you do the right thing. The right thing is to show your owner that you are willing to love them and to be a good pet for them, then you will be happy and so will they.”
I had been feeling sad, missing our old owners and thinking I could never love anyone else, nor be happy in a different home, but I saw that my mum was right. Sure enough, when a family chose me, I wagged my tail and made an effort to be happy. There were children in the family and I could tell they were not used to dogs. I had to be very patient with them, though sometimes I felt like biting them. When they pulled my tail I would just growl a little and their mother would tell them not to do it.
My new house was quite small and instead of having my own room I just had a basket in the living room, but I made the best of it. I didn’t sulk and whine. I remembered what my mum had said, and I felt proud of myself that I had remembered. The best bit was when my new owner said: “She’s not ‘Dotty’ at all, except to look at. She’s a very clever Dalmatian!”
1. What would you call this story?
2. Does it remind you of anything in your life?
3. What do you think might have happened to Dotty’s first owners to make them send Dotty away?
4. Sometimes difficult things happen in our lives and we have to find ways to deal with them.
Put a tick against the best things to do when we are in difficulty, and put a cross against those ways of behaving which are not helpful to anyone:
Screaming and shouting
Looking for someone to blame
Talking to someone you trust about how you feel
Sulking and not speaking to anyone
Letting yourself cry a bit and getting over it
Hitting or hurting other people
Taking it out on your family or friends
Making the best of it
Finding good ways of looking at it
Which of these did Dotty do? She was only a dog. Think how much more a person could do…..