Dear Parents, Caregivers, and Educators,

I hope you enjoyed BOWWOW with the children in your life. The purpose of this page is to enhance your experience with extended ideas to accompany each story. I broke these texts into four parts: 

ABOUT is what inspired me to write each story.

 

PURPOSE is why I wrote each story and what I hoped children (and adults) would take away from it.

 

SUGGESTIONS are to help with the discussion questions in the Winston Wonders section. I found after reading BOWWOW to children it was helpful to have a few additional discussion starters.  Sometimes a gentle nudge is all a child needs to chime into a discussion. 

 

IDEAS are other options apart from the story to explore with children. 

Winston and I are currently working on BOWWOW 2! We would appreciate hearing from you about topics you would like us to delve into and write about. Just go to the "Contact Winston" page. Thank you and have a grrrrreat time with the children! 

CHANGE

 

 

ABOUT:

My husband, Neal-aka Babe, surprised me with Winston in 2016. He purchased him from Windy Ridge Kennels in Leonard, TX. He was a lively little guy, and even though he was loving, I could tell he was missing his siblings. He did not like being on a leash or learning when and where to potty was a challenge for him. After several weeks he seemed to feel more at home and in a couple of months he ran the place.

PURPOSE:

All kinds of change are introduced into a child's life. A new brother or sister, moving, changing schools, moving up to a new grade, divorce, death, old friends leaving, new friends entering, even the changes in their bodies. They sometimes feel as lost and perplexed as Winston. This story is to assure them that they will adjust to the changes in their lives and take control.

SUGGESTIONS

Children may not be able to think of what remained the same even though change occurred, and will need you to prompt them. Let's take divorce for example. It is obvious what has changed, but what remains the same is that their parents still love them. If they change schools they are still learning and the friends they left are still their friends. Just because their bodies change they are still themselves. If a new baby is born into the family, they are still just as important and loved. Think along this vein when the children talk about the changes in their lives.

IDEAS

  • Explore kennels and raising puppies

  • Talk about animal shelters and adopting pets

  • Discuss what pets need and how to take care of them

  • Research rescue and service animals

  • Teachers, invite an officer from the canine division talk to your class

  • Following Winston's Wisdom about how seeds change, put some seeds between wet paper towels and watch how they change. (Keep the paper damp)

  • Plant a seed and watch how it changes once it sprouts

 

Did you think of more ideas? Grrrreat! Write Winston and let us know so we can include it on this site! ​

THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS AS THEY SEEM

 

ABOUT:

When Winston was just a pup we took him camping. It was during Autumn and the air was crisp. We enjoyed watching Win because to him everything was new and fascinating. One afternoon while we sat around a fire, a turtle lumbered its way into camp. When it spied Winston it retreated into its shell. But too late. Winston saw it moving. He sniffed, whined, and pawed it trying to figure out what manner of strange creature it could be. When the turtle decided to make a break for it, Winston jumped back and looked at us as if to say, "Did you see that?" 

PURPOSE:

As I thought about Winston and the turtle, I felt it was a perfect example of how things may look one way, but in reality are something entirely different. Children are like Winston. Everything is new, especially in the realm of emotions. Their personalities are forming and each child reacts or responds in a different way. Therefore it is important for children to feel safe when they explore new places, relationships, and ideas.  

SUGGESTIONS

Be ready with a few examples of when you misunderstood a person or a situation. Humor is always good, so maybe share with them something funny. 

IDEAS:

  • Go turtle hunting if the season is right

  • Learn about turtles and their habits 

  • Research bugs that camouflage with nature. For example,  walking sticks, leafhoppers, and dead leaf butterflies.  

  • Investigate animals, amphibians, and fish that camouflage with their surroundings. 

  • Have younger children act out camouflage such as standing like a tree, blooming like a flower, huddling like a rock. 

Did you come up with other ideas? Grrrreat! Let us know and we will add your ideas to the site! 

A NEW LEASH ON LIFE

 

 

ABOUT:

One afternoon I let Winston play outside while I filled bird feeders. We lived in a townhouse while our house was being built. The yard was tiny and unfenced, plus it was on a very busy street. While I filled a feeder with seed, a squirrel came too close, and fell from a branch. Winston went into action chasing the squirrel across that busy street. Drivers slammed on their breaks and I screamed for him to stop. He turned around and ran to me back across the street causing more drivers to slam on their brakes. It was a very close call. Needless to say, he from that day on he was always tethered or on a leash. 

PURPOSE:

This story is to help children understand that some boundaries are healthy and are implemented because we love them and want them to be safe. 

SUGGESTIONS

Remember a time when you were young and ignored a boundary. Tell what happened and what you learned. Make it as humorous as you can. This will help the children connect with you and if you make it a good story, they will learn from your experience.

IDEAS

  • Look up different kinds of squirrels, their habitats, and habits

  • Think of all the kinds of vehicles that raced up and down Winston's road

  • Discuss safety practices when crossing busy streets, maybe draw pictures. 

  • Talk about why rules are important.

 

Did you think of more ideas? Grrrreat! Write Winston and let us know so we can include it on this site! ​

TRAPPED

 

 

ABOUT:

Winston isn't a barker, unless someone is at the door or if there are sneaky squirrels in the yard. However, if he is doing something he wants to do, he ignores us. (Scotties are known to be stubborn.)

 

One afternoon, we couldn't find him. The more we called him, and he didn't respond, the more concerned we grew. Our tone got a little frantic. "Winston? Where are you boy? Come here!" Then I decided he had chased a deer into the woods and was ignoring us. So I yelled, "Winston Apple, you better get your furry black tail home!" 

Still, no Winston. So I walked back in my mind and remembered the last time I saw him was in the screened porch by Neal's recliner. When I checked I heard Winston rattle his collar. And there he was, trapped under the recliner. 

PURPOSE:

In this story I want children to know the importance of speaking up when they feel trapped or confused. Be ready to assure them if they don't know something it okay to ask. In addition, help children to understand that it is not okay to laugh when others don't understand things. Unfortunately, some children are abused and it is critical that they know that there are caring adults that they can trust. 

SUGGESTIONS

For children who are being abused, emotionally or physically feeling safe is important. Think of a way for a child to speak with you privately without the other children knowing.  

For example, when I speak publicly about sensitive topics attendees are given cards to fill out. Anyone who wanted to speak with me privately was told to bend one corner.

Something along this line would work for children. Have the fold a piece of paper in half and ask them to draw a picture about this story. Also tell them that if something is making them feel trapped, unsafe, or frightened, to make an x somewhere inside the picture. When they finish have them write their name on the outside and hand it in.   This will give you the opportunity to help a child who may really need to talk.

IDEAS

  • Look up things about deer. What kinds, where they sleep, what they eat. 

  • Do something with whistles or flutes. It would be fun to introduce children to Native American music.

  • Have the children whistle a song.

  • Explore the different signals given by whistles. 

  • Talk about animal-friendly live traps

  • Check with the local animal control and see if someone would come and speak on what they do and the strangest experiences they had removing an animal.

 

Did you think of more ideas? Grrrreat! Write Winston and let us know so we can include it on this site! ​

WHO SAYS DOGS CAN'T LIKE CATS? 

 

 

 

ABOUT:

When my husband surprised me with Winston, our outdoor kitty was surprised, too. But she took to him right away and became his second momma. I loved watching her groom him and how he followed her in the yard. In fact, he even started picking up a lot of cat mannerisms. They were the best of friends. Even to this day, I see him stalking a bug just like Gypsy taught him. 

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this story is to help children appreciate diversity. To learn for themselves that people can be different (races, religions, abilities) and still be friends.

SUGGESTIONS

Children may have questions about why people look different, dress different, or talk different. Study the children in your care and be ready with positive insights. No one is immune to curiosity. As a Southerner visiting England, I was asked to "say that again," allll the time. The people were not mean spirited, just curious. And that's okay.

IDEAS

  • Choose different countries and study the children. How do they dress? What do they play? What do they eat? What are their schools like? What holidays do they celebrate and how do they celebrate these holidays?

  • Start a Pen Pal program with another class across the country or the world. 

  • Research cats both big wild cats and domestic cats. What kinds are there? Talk about their special attributes such as night vision and hunting skills.

  • Talk about how to care for cats. 

  • Compare the difference of how you care for cats and how you care for dogs.

 

Did you think of more ideas? Grrrreat! Write Winston and let us know so we can include it on this site! ​

SCARED SILLY

 

 

ABOUT:

Winston and I were spending the weekend with my parents. While we watched our college football team play on the television in the living room. We were six points behind. Winston napped close to the couch where we sat. Then our quarterback made a long pass and the running back caught it and raced to the end zone for a touchdown. We all whooped and scared Winston to death. He jumped up and swung his head back and forth barking frantically. He didn't know what the problem was, but in his sleep dazed condition, he let whatever and whomever that he was in control. Of course we had a good laugh at his expense, and I did give him an extra handful of shredded cheese. 

PURPOSE:

I want children to know that it is okay, even wise, to be cautious. And that in the case that something or someone takes them by surprise, they've been given the instinct to protect themselves. Being cautious or frightened doesn't make them cowards. 

SUGGESTIONS

Tell a story about when you were cautious or surprised. This will help the children connect with you and if you make it a good story, they will learn from your experience.

IDEAS

  • Study the 'fight or flee' instinct in animals

  • Talk about their favorite dream

  • In reference to Winston being about to race up a tree after a squirrel, as the children if nothing was impossible to them, what would they like to do.

 

Did you think of more ideas? Grrrreat! Write Winston and let us know so we can include it on this site! ​

TELLING THE TRUTH

 

 

ABOUT:

Winston LOVES balls, almost as much as he loves stuffed hedgehogs. The problem is that when he goes to visit my grandchildren, he destroys their balls, no matter what kind. Baseballs, tennis balls, volleyballs, basketballs. By the time he is finished they are either full of teeth puncture holes and flat or shredded. This inspired my story about Soren's baseball.

PURPOSE:

This story is to help them understand that no matter how hard they try to hide the truth, it will come to light. The longer they try to hide it the more miserable they become. It is best to clear their conscious. 

SUGGESTIONS

There are many reasons children tell lie. They may want the focus off of themselves or they want to build up their self-esteem. Of course, they want to stay out of trouble. Most often, they don't want to do that homework, so they say they did and the proverbial dog ate it, or they promise with crumbs at the corners of their mouth they didn't eat that last cookie. Even though this is part of growing up, it needs to be addressed. 

 

Share stories like The Boy Who Cried Wolf , look up other stories that teach honesty. One of my favorites is The Boy and the Slingshot, found on www.moralstories.org. Be ready with guiding questions and have a discussion. 

IDEAS

  • When I was a girl we used to play a game called, 'Telephone.' The teacher would line us up and whisper a short sentence in the ear of the first child who would whisper it to the next child and so on. The last child would share the sentence whispered to her or him. Then the teacher would share what she actually said, which was drastically different after was passed down the line. It would be a fun game to play and a catalyst to a discussion of how a lie grows and morphs into something bigger. 

  • Read Pinocchio and discuss

  • Read The Spider and the Fly poem. After discussion, make spiders out to pom poms, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes. You can also attach them to a thin dowel rod with a piece of thin elastic and watch them bounce up and down. 

 

Did you think of more ideas? Grrrreat! Write Winston and let us know so we can include it on this site! ​

MISTAKES...THEY HAPPEN

 

 

 

ABOUT:

One late spring day, I decided to add some color to my flower beds. Winston watched me labor over digging holes. Honestly, my yard is two-thirds rock and one-third dirt. Winston must have thought this looked fun and since I was digging, then, it follows reason that he could dig too. Unknown to me, he dug a hole so large and deep, I could have buried a small deer in it! 

 

PURPOSE:

Children are like blank slates. They observe and make decisions using their limited scope of how things work in this life. Many times, they make a wrong choice, but with the best intentions. These are perfect learning opportunities, and as Winston says, "Nobody is pawfect!" 

SUGGESTIONS

 Be ready with some common mistakes and ideas of how to see the positive side of getting things wrong. What lessons could be learned?  

 

IDEAS

  • Research famous inventors/ physicians/ professors, who discovered something from a mistake, for instance: Penicillin, Slinky toys, and Post-It Notes.  

  • Talk about explorers who got lost and changed history from that mistake

  • Have small seed pots with soil in them. Spread unlabeled seeds on a surface for the children to choose from. Let them guess what kind of seed they are planting. Label the pot. When the seed grows and blooms, let them see if they were right or if they made a mistake. Either way, something good came from it! 

 

Did you think of more ideas? Grrrreat! Write Winston and let us know so we can include it on this site! ​

REFLECTION IN THE GLASS DOOR

 

 

 

ABOUT:

My son has a huge, beautiful, Goldendoodle named Murray. He and Winston are great friends. While my son was out of town, I kept Murray for him. Winston likes to keep an eye out for sneaky squirrels and destructive deer through the glass door in my office. Murray joined him and I had this great picture of them together. The contrast between them was striking. Tall Murray with long soft hair, pointy nose, and whisky-colored eyes compared to short, stocky, Winston with a boxy nose and eyes so dark you could hardly see them. I wondered, If Winston was a human, would he compare himself to Murray?   

PURPOSE:

I hope this story will inspire children to focus on their uniqueness and appreciate their special traits, that are not necessarily appearance, but what comes from within them.

SUGGESTIONS

Be ready with something unique about the child/children you are caring for, something that you see that they might not. Give them ideas about how this is something they should try to develop. 

IDEAS

Scotties are bred to help farmers control vermin and preying animals. They dig into burrows and dig out rats, foxes, badgers, and the like. Terriers are considered Earth Dogs. 

  • Research the history of dog breeds, like Scotties. 

  • Find a YouTube video on Earth Dog trials and watch together

  • What famous people had Scotties for pets? 

 

Did you think of more ideas? Grrrreat! Write Winston and let us know so we can include it on this site! ​

WHAT THE WOOF?

 

 

ABOUT:

We took Winston on a fly-fishing trip. By then, he'd already mastered turtles, but he still hadn't seen a fish. Believe me, he was more than interested and would have liked to have a little taste of the fish, that is, until it slapped him in the face with its tail. He figured he'd examined the thing enough after that and trotted off. On the way home, I thought about the term 'fly-fishing' and thought how funny that sounded. And thus the story began.

PURPOSE:

It is so easy for us to misunderstand terms. Even as adults. But, as I mentioned before, after being made fun of as a child because I misunderstood somethings in my early school years. This affected me even in high school. When I think about children with learning disabilities, my heart breaks. I want children to know how we all get things confused at times. 

SUGGESTIONS

In addition to helping children understand that we all have trouble at times perceiving things at one time or another, we need to stress to other children that it isn't acceptable to laugh or make fun of anyone who is having trouble comprehending. 

IDEAS

  • Look up what kinds of game fish are in your area. 

  • What kinds of insects do different species of fish prefer? 

  • Show videos of fish stalking and leaping out of the water to catch a bug.

  • Invite someone from the Corps of Engineers to speak to the class about helping with the environment.

Did you think of more ideas? Grrrreat! Write Winston and let us know so we can include it on this site! ​