Why do you think Marty's father was so reluctant to challenge Judd about the way he treats his dogs?
Marty's father comes from a time when people minded their own business and did not interfere with the way others conducted themselves and therefore found it difficult to change this and step in where something is wrong. He also feels that it is wrong of Marty, a child, to question how an adult is doing something. However, on seeing how sincere and passionate Marty is about Shiloh, and also seeing Shiloh's terror in Judd's presence, he overcomes his entrenched behavior and decides to do something to ensure Shiloh's safety.
Do you think Judd Travers feels the same way about Marty at the start of his working for him and at the end?
When Marty first starts working for Judd, Judd sees him as free labor and gives him tasks that are wholly inappropriate for a child, involving demanding physical strength that an eleven year old cannot possibly have. As the first week progresses, he seems to view him with contempt for continuing to show up even when the validity of their contract is in doubt. He does not really understand Marty, probably because he does not have the love for his dogs that Marty has for Shiloh, and also cannot relate to Marty's desire to reflect well on his family because Judd did not have the same encouraging, loving family life that Marty has. By the end of the fortnight Judd seems to have a grudging respect for Marty's work ethic and the fact that he was true to his commitment.
How did Shiloh bring out new strengths in Marty's character?
Like most eleven year olds, Marty does not have to be particularly self-sufficient but when he decides to keep Shiloh he has to rely on his own resourcefulness in order to successfully execute his plan. He is particularly good at using knowledge he already has to build a safe environment for Shiloh, for example, relying on his sister's fear of snakes and exaggerating their presence on the hill to make sure she stayed away from there. He also shows himself willing to put the needs of others ahead of his own, eating only part of his meals so that not only can Shiloh eat the other half, but ensuring that nobody else in the family goes without or that it costs the family any extra money. He also shows himself to be a person of his word and a hard worker.
CARING FOR ANIMALS
See Question #1 under Trustworthiness.
1. When Marty talks to his father about how terrible it is to abuse a dog, his father asks him if he ever noticed dogs chained and suffering in a yard on his way to school. Marty's father is implying that Marty cares about this dog and his relationship to it rather than to dogs as a whole. Does this make Marty's situation less compelling? Suggested Response: Students need to wrangle with the idea that Marty may be serving himself rather than Shiloh. As in many of these questions, there is no right or wrong answer. The question arises: would Marty return the dog should Travers see the light and begin to treat Shiloh properly?
FATHER/SON; MOTHER/SON; PARENTING
See question #9 under Trustworthiness.
2. When Marty's father says the boy cannot have a dog, the mother says, "This is a family. We should all have a say." Do you think parents should share power when it comes to making decisions that affect the whole family? Should children have a voice? Suggested Response: There will be a wide range of answers to this question. In most modern families, the parents will make the decision together. Some couples divide up the responsibilities. The voices of children should be heard but it has to be the adults who make the decision.