60 pages 2 hours read

Sharon Creech

Love That Dog

Fiction | Novel/Book in Verse | Middle Grade | Published in 2001

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Symbols & Motifs


Sky, Jack’s yellow dog, is the most prominent motif in the story—supporting the theme that the purpose of poetry is to explore the human experience. Jack only reveals details about his dog’s life and fate as he grows more comfortable with vulnerability. In the beginning, Jack guards his heart from addressing the difficult feelings wrapped up in Sky’s death. Jack doesn’t know what to do with his sadness, so he bottles it up for as long as he can. When Miss Stretchberry suggests that Jack write about a pet, he responds, “I don’t have any pets / so I can’t write about one / and especially / I can’t write / a POEM / about one” (12). Jack doesn’t reveal much about Sky until he reads poems that stir his memory. After reading Valerie Worth’s “dog,” he describes the ways his own pet was similar to Worth’s. The poets he reads inspire him to write, the most genuine topic on his mind being his dog.

Once Jack opens his mind to poetry, it provides him a creative outlet to process his grief and honor Sky’s memory. Writing about Sky gives Jack space to explore difficult emotions at his own pace; it helps him to accept what happened.