Sad, the dog By Sandy Fussell



sad the dog

For me, this is a story about how we can be the most lonely when surrounded by others, and about how our fortunes can change.


Mr and Mrs Cripps own a little dog. This dog was an unwanted present and, although they feed him and clean him, they do not love him and they do not give him a name. The dog knows he is not loved and in his heart, he is just, Sad. Nothing Sad the dog does is right and he is constantly being yelled at and admonished.

One day, Mr and Mrs Cripps pack up everything and leave. They do not take Sad.

Now Sad, the dog is alone and he simply howls.

Then another family moves into the house, bringing with them a little boy named Jack who, unlike Mr and Mrs Cripps, very much wants a dog!

With time Sad learns to trust Jack and Sad becomes Lucky.

Why I love it:

This story certainly tugs at the heart strings. There is something so incredibly heartbreaking about a sad dog and so uplifting about a happy ending.

We brought our dog, Tilly, home from a shelter a few years ago. Her early life had been a little like Sad’s, and we love that she is now one of the lucky ones.

Tull Suwannakit’s illustrations perfectly capture the emotion in this story and it really is one your kids, and you, will love.

Themes/ideas to discuss with your child:

  • Loneliness
  • Feeling unwanted and unloved
  • Being sad
  • Feeling confused
  • Being yourself
  • Trust
  • Love
  • Gratitude
  • The best things in life are free
  • Family
  • Luck
  • Chance
  • The concept of ‘When one door closes, another one opens.’
  • Happiness

Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:
  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • Is this a book you want to read? Why/why not?
  • Do you think this book is going to make you laugh? Why/why not?
  • At what time of year is this book set? How do you know this?
  • Why do you think the book was not set in summer?
  • Why do you think the book is called ‘Sad, the dog’?
After reading:
  • Did you enjoy this story? Why/why not?
  • Name two different emotions you felt during the story.
  • If you could say one thing to Mr and Mrs Cripps, what would it be?
  • Mr and Mrs Cripps were given Sad, the dog, as a present. Do you think it’s a good idea to give a pet as a present? Why/why not?
  • How do you think Sad felt when he realised they had moved away, leaving him behind?
  • How do you think he felt when he first saw Jack?
  • Why did it take Sad some time to trust Jack?
  • If you could say one thing to Jack, what would it be?

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