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Dog Heroes Unit Study

Dog Heroes Unit StudyLibrary List:
The True Story of Balto by Natalie Standiford
Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
Police dog book: we used Aero and Officer Mike by Joan Plummer Russell
Dogs on the Job by Christopher Farran
Guide Dog book: we used Guide Dogs by Charles and Linda George
Buddy: The First Seeing Eye Dog by Eva Moore
Jim the Wonder Dog by Clarence Dewey Mitchell
The Wreck of the Ethie by Hilary Hyland
The Trial of Old Drum – video

Read Balto. Find out what diphtheria is. Trace route the medicine had to travel to get to Nome. How many miles did all of the dog teams travel? If Balto’s team went 53 miles in 20 hours, what was their average speed?

Read Officer Buckle and Gloria. Make up your own safety tips and draw a picture of what Gloria would do to show your tip. Read a book about police dogs. Set up a visit to meet a police dog in your area.

Read Dogs on the Job. Locate on a map where each dog lived. Look up each dog’s breed. Write a story about how your family dog, or another dog you know has been heroic.

Read Buddy: The First Seeing Eye Dog. Follow Buddy’s route on a map from the Swiss Alps to New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Nashville, and New Jersey. Read a book about guide dogs. If you live near one of the dog schools, find out about their foster parent program. Learn about etiquette for guide dogs.

Read Jim the Wonder Dog. In the early chapters, Jim is trained to be a bird dog. Find out how you go about training a dog for that. In Chapter 9, Jim identifies different types of trees. See if you can identify as many different trees as Jim can. Talk about whether or not you believe the story. Write a story about how you would have tested Jim. If you live in central Missouri, visit the Jim the Wonder Dog Memorial Park in Marshall, Missouri. You can also see his grave marker at the cemetery.

There is quite a bit of information about heroic war dogs on the internet. Find out during what wars dogs were used and what how they helped the soldiers.

Read The Wreck of the Ethie. Do a little research about Newfoundland. Find out what types of industry they have there. Is fishing still a major industry? There are puffins in the story. Find out about puffins and compare them to penguins. Find out what other animals are common in Newfoundland. Find out what St. Elmo’s fire really is. In the story, the barometer was falling fast. What does that mean?

The author of The Wreck of the Ethie wrote to us about her book. Here is what she wrote:
“I am the author of “The Wreck of the Ethie”. Thank you for including my book in your “Dog Heroes” section. If any students would like to contact me about my book, my website is: This site has more pictures of the wrecked ship and Newfoundland dogs. There is a Teaching Guide that is based on my book…it can be downloaded from my publisher’s website. “The Wreck of the Ethie” is also on Houghton Mifflin’s accelerated reading series with online study guides. I hope your students love reading about the adventures of Colleen, Patrick and Skipper. Very best wishes, Hilary Hyland”

Read about Old Drum to find out how the saying “A man’s best friend is his dog” came about. You can watch “The Trial of Old Drum” and then discuss the differences between the movie and what really happened.

Other fun Dog Ideas:
Elizabeth Barrett Browning has a dog poem called “To Flush, My Dog”. We found the words to it on the internet. Write your own dog poem.

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