How much is the Doggiein the Window?

A WebQuest for teachers or parents who are examining pet ownership.

This is targeted to students in 5 & 6th grades but could be adapted as a parent/child project.

(Pet ownership)

Designed by Diane Huerkamp, Librarian


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits


According to the ASPCA, every day across the United States, volunteers and staff in animal shelters and animal control facilities see the staggering results of irresponsible pet ownership and dog and cat overpopulation.  However, there is little reliable data available to tabulate trends and patterns nationwide. The following figures were gleaned from independent studies and estimates by experts in the animal welfare and related fields. These should be considered estimates only. Most of the studies were national and there is tremendous variation by region.
Consequently, the Humane Society of the United States estimates that there are about 5000 community animal shelters nationwide that are independent; there is no national organization monitoring these shelters.  The phrases "humane society" and "SPCA" are generic terms; shelters using those names are not part of the Humane Society of the United States or the ASPCA.  Currently, no government institution or animal organization is responsible for tabulating national statistics for the animal protection movement. Listed are a few clues that contribute to the issues with animal overpopulation.

§         It is estimated that about 60 million dogs and about 75 million cats are owned in the United States.

§         It is predicted that about 60% of all households in the United States have a pet.

§         About 65% of pet owners acquire their pets free or at low cost.

§         By calculating the cost of spaying or neutering a pet, it is less expensive to sterilize an animal than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for one year.

§         The average cost of basic food, supplies, medical care and training for a dog or cat is $400 to $700 annually.

Pet ownership is a commitment to a life, and should not be entered into without careful consideration and researching what that responsibility entails. Puppies are cute, adorable and fun to cuddle, but they grow up fast and still require the attention and care that they did as a cute, adorable puppy. I was a Veterinarian Technician for eleven years and speak to fact above. Every time 101 Dalmatians is released, or any movie is released with an animal as the ‘star’ it coincides with an increase in pet ownership and months later an increase in animal population in shelters. Dogs are not disposal property, they suffer cruelty, emotional and physical scaring at the hands of irresponsible pet owners. I personal have always had a dog, one at a time, and each of them received the same attention as my children. They lived long, happy, healthy lives and gave so much to our family. This exercise is an attempt to make young people and their parents think before they adopt or purchase a dog.

The Task

The task and process are spelled out below:

Your task is to collect, analyze, and chart information using this webquest.

As the petdetective your assignment is to determine the following:

 You will learn what is required to be a responsible pet owner;

 You will discover the responsibilities of pet ownership and formulate talking points;

 You will design or use a chart to record the main points that you have discovered in your research;

 You will chart and analyze your findings and have a tool to help explain your rationale;

Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails.  ~Max Eastman, Enjoyment of Laughter

The Process


Below is the student’s process instruction. As the teacher or parent your role will be to provide the necessary tools for the child(ren) to access the information. For a classroom activity you could incorporate Academic Standards (based on Grade 5 Standard 1) see below. I would also suggest inviting a local veterinarian to your class to talk with the children. If a field trip is feisable, I would schedule a visit to include a tour of a humane society facility or to a veterinarian’s office. The Indianapolis Zoo also has a resident librarian which might be worth a call to incorporate in your annual trip to the zoo.  Be sure to collaborate with your Media Specialist and/or public library staff to help you provide books and magazines for this project. It is always appreciated, by the local public library, if a teacher assigns a class project to notify the children’s librarian who will then be able to prepare materials and seek Interlibrary Loan supplemental materials.


This process will expose the child(ren) to researching techniques, note taking, collecting important information, analyzing, critical thinking, creative writing, and crafting a rationale, and verbal delivery of a proposal. These skills are vital to any decision-making process throughout their lives.


Resources to be provided by Teacher/Parent


Standards based Grade 5 Standard 1:

Standard 2
READING: Comprehension and Analysis of Nonfiction and Informational Text

Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. The selections in the Indiana Reading List ( illustrate the quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students. At Grade 5, in addition to regular classroom reading, students read a variety of nonfiction, such as biographies, books in many different subject areas, magazines and periodicals, reference and technical materials, and online information.

Structural Features of Informational and Technical Materials

5.2.1          Use the features of informational texts, such as formats, graphics, diagrams, illustrations, charts, maps, and organization, to find information and support understanding.
Example: Locate specific information in a social studies textbook by using its organization, sections on different world regions, and textual features, such as headers, maps, and charts.

5.2.2          Analyze text that is organized in sequential or chronological order.
Example: Compare the organizational structure of such biographical texts as The Life and Death of Crazy Horse by Russell Freedman or Pride of Puerto Rico: The Life of Roberto Clemente by Paul Robert Walker, noting critical events in the subjects’ lives.

Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Nonfiction and Informational Text

5.2.3          Recognize main ideas presented in texts, identifying and assessing evidence that supports those ideas.
Example: Read a science text, such as Astronomy by Robert Kerrod, and select some of the experiments described in the book to pursue in class. Before beginning the selected experiments, outline the main ideas or concepts to be tested and identify additional supporting detail that explains those scientific concepts.

5.2.4          Draw inferences, conclusions, or generalizations about text and support them with textual evidence and prior knowledge.
Example: Use a guidebook, such as Discovering Fossils: How to Find and Identify Remains of the Prehistoric Past (Fossils & Dinosaurs) by Frank A. Garcia, to gain information and make predictions about the identification of fossils found in everyday surroundings.

5.2.6          Follow multiple-step instructions in a basic technical manual.

Expository (Informational) Critique

5.2.5          Distinguish among facts, supported inferences, evidence, and opinions in text.
Example: Identify facts and opinions in a newspaper editorial or editorial page writer’s column.

Standard 3
READING: Comprehension and Analysis of Literary Text

Students read and respond to grade-level-appropriate historically or culturally significant works of literature, such as the selections in the Indiana Reading List (, which illustrate the quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students. At Grade 5, students read a wide variety of fiction, such as classic and contemporary literature, historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, folklore, mythology, poetry, songs, plays, and other genres.

Structural Features of Literature

5.3.1          Identify and analyze the characteristics of poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction and explain the appropriateness of the literary forms chosen by an author for a specific purpose.
Example: Analyze an author’s purpose for writing, whether it is to inform, teach, entertain, or elicit an emotional response, and tell how well that purpose is achieved by the type of writing the author         has produced.

Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Literary Text

5.3.2          Identify the main problem or conflict of the plot and explain how it is resolved.
Example: Read a story with a central conflict, such as The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill. Tell how the conflict between the peddlers and the truckers is solved and describe what issues are raised in the conflict.

5.3.3          Contrast the actions, motives, and appearances of characters in a work of fiction and discuss the importance of the contrasts to the plot or theme.
Example: Read a book, such as Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien, in which different characters are motivated in opposing ways, by innocent good, like the character of Mrs. Frisby, or by selfishness, like the characters of the Rats. Discuss how the contrast between innocence and worldly experience is important to the plot of the book.

5.3.4          Understand that theme refers to the central idea or meaning of a selection and recognize themes, whether they are implied or stated directly.
Example: Describe the themes in a fictional story, such as A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, in which the themes of courage and perseverance are explored as the children in the story go on a dangerous mission in search of their scientist father.

5.3.5          Describe the function and effect of common literary devices, such as imagery, metaphor, and symbolism.

·         Symbolism: the use of an object to represent something else; for example, a dove might symbolize peace.

·         Imagery: the use of language to create vivid pictures in the reader’s mind.

·         Metaphor: an implied comparison in which a word or phrase is used in place of another, such as He was drowning in money.

5.3.8          Identify the speaker or narrator in a selection and tell whether the speaker or narrator is a character involved in the story.

Literary Criticism

5.3.6          Evaluate the meaning of patterns and symbols that are found in myth and tradition by using literature from different eras and cultures.
Example: Discuss what various characters and objects symbolize in literature representing the Medieval era, such as King Arthur: Tales from the Round Table by Andrew Lang, or ancient Asian culture, such as Tales from Japan (Oxford Myths and Legends) by Helen and William McAlpine.

5.3.7          Evaluate the author’s use of various techniques to influence readers’ perspectives.
Example: Read and evaluate books such as Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary or The Great Fire by Jim Murphy to understand how authors use particular techniques, such as letter format or display of primary sources, to influence the reader.

Standard 4
WRITING: Processes and Features

Students discuss and keep a list of ideas for writing. They use graphic organizers. Students write clear, coherent, and focused essays. Students progress through the stages of the writing process and proofread, edit, and revise writing.

Organization and Focus

5.4.1          Discuss ideas for writing, keep a list or notebook of ideas, and use graphic organizers to plan writing.

5.4.2          Write stories with multiple paragraphs that develop a situation or plot, describe the setting, and include an ending.

5.4.3          Write informational pieces with multiple paragraphs that:

·         present important ideas or events in sequence or in chronological order.

·         provide details and transitions to link paragraphs.

·         offer a concluding paragraph that summarizes important ideas and details.

5.4.11        Use logical organizational structures for providing information in writing, such as chronological order, cause and effect, similarity and difference, and stating and supporting a hypothesis with data.

Research Process and Technology

5.4.4          Use organizational features of printed text, such as citations, endnotes, and bibliographic references, to locate relevant information.

5.4.5          Use note-taking skills when completing research for writing.

5.4.6          Create simple documents using a computer and employing organizational features, such as passwords, entry and pull-down menus, word searches, the thesaurus, and spell checks.

5.4.7          Use a thesaurus to identify alternative word choices and meanings.

Evaluation and Revision

5.4.8          Review, evaluate, and revise writing for meaning and clarity.

5.4.9          Proofread one’s own writing, as well as that of others, using an editing checklist or set of rules, with specific examples of corrections of specific errors.

5.4.10        Edit and revise writing to improve meaning and focus through adding, deleting, combining, clarifying, and rearranging words and sentences.

Standard 5
WRITING: Applications (Different Types of Writing and Their Characteristics)

At Grade 5, students write narrative (story), expository (informational), persuasive, and descriptive texts. Student writing demonstrates a command of Standard English and the research, organizational, and drafting strategies outlined in Standard 4 — Writing Processes and Features. Writing demonstrates an awareness of the audience (intended reader) and purpose for writing.

In addition to producing the different writing forms introduced in earlier grades, such as letters, Grade 5 students use the writing strategies outlined in Standard 4 — Writing Processes and Features to:

5.5.1          Write narratives  that:

·         establish a plot, point of view, setting, and conflict.

·         show, rather than tell, the events of the story.

Example: Write a story, modeling the style of the story after a type of writing recently read in class, such as a folktale, myth, mystery, or science fiction story. Include an interesting beginning that establishes the central conflict of the story and an ending that resolves the problem.

5.5.2          Write responses to literature that:

·         demonstrate an understanding of a literary work.

·         support statements with evidence from the text.

·         develop interpretations that exhibit careful reading and understanding.

Example: Write an essay, telling how two authors are similar or different in terms of their writing styles, choices of topics, and the themes of their books. Support the opinion with specific examples from the authors’ books. Write a personal reaction to books in which a character deals with a problem, such as The Best Bad Thing by Yoshiko Uchida or Shiloh by Phyllis Naylor. Use clear organization and careful word choices to show your reaction to the character and the problem.

5.5.4          Write persuasive letters or compositions that:

·         state a clear position in support of a proposal.

·         support a position with relevant evidence and effective emotional appeals.

·         follow a simple organizational pattern, with the most appealing statements first and the least powerful ones last.

·         address reader concerns.

Example: Interview several students in lower grades and take notes regarding changes they would like to see made to the school’s playground. Compile these opinions to write a persuasive article for the school newspaper.

5.5.5          Use varied word choices to make writing interesting.
Example: Write stories, reports, and letters showing a variety of word choices: use inquired or requested instead of asked.

5.5.6          Write for different purposes (information, persuasion, description) and to a specific audience or person, adjusting tone and style as appropriate.
Example: Write a skit or an episode of a puppet show to present at your class talent show. Use funny words and phrases to make the audience laugh.

5.5.7          Write summaries that contain the main ideas of the reading selection and the most significant details.

Research Application

5.5.3          Write or deliver a research report that has been developed using a systematic research process (defines the topic, gathers information, determines credibility, reports findings) and that:

·         uses information from a variety of sources (books, technology, multimedia) and documents sources (titles and authors).

·         demonstrates that information that has been gathered has been summarized.

·         organizes information by categorizing and sequencing.

                  Example: After completing library or Internet research, write a research report about the life cycle of a butterfly or about the different uses of a telescope, microscope, and camera.


See children’s webquest for their investigative process.



How Much is the Dogging in the Window pathfinder

Visit these recommended websites. They are listed under the headings to help you access information that may answer your questions.

Everyone should begin with website 1: The test to determine if you are really ready to have a dog.


     Next visit these websites and read a book about the breed that you have decided would fit into your family. If you are thinking about a mixed breed, it is wise to read about all the breeds that your dog is related to.

      2. The Internet Public Library: Choosing a Dog or Puppy.

     3. : Are you ready for the responsibility of pet ownership?


     4. : There are lots of sites to explore different breeds of dogs.

Resources for the other 3 topics.

IMPORTANT: This process can be time-consuming, therefore set a time limit of 15 minutes per website. You may find one website has more information and you can return to that site for additional research. 

Depending on the 3 other topics you have selected, chose from the websites below to help you learn about pet care.


    Adoption vs. purchasing a dog: :  Onondaga Public Library: Adopting Dogs & Finding Lost Dogs Shelter facts & statistics : Buying a dog The Human Society of United States


  Veterinarian care and visits : Veterinarian care helps you understand the importance of regular medical care for a healthy and happy dog.


 Feeding and exercise : The Cost of Owning a Dog : Purina Dog food website : Exercise & tricks


  Housing : The problems and privileges: The truth about owning a dog. : The general care of owning a dog.


    Training & housebreaking : The take care of pets : The ASPCA general dog care page : The SPCA dog care website

 Spay and/or neuter : The Humane Society of the United States


Links to other pet pathfinders : A middle school pathfinder : An elementary school pathfinder



  Interview a veterinarian about dog care

Contacts for interview: make contact with several local veterinarians and explain that children would like the opportunity to ‘Ask a Vet’.  If they would be willing to accept email and reply to the children’s questions encourage the students to email the selected vets or their own family’s veterinarian. I think any veterinarian will be willing to participate and even offer to come to your classroom to talk with the children.  



This evaluation sheet will be the tool I will use to grade the assignment.












Why do I want a dog?


Brainstorm why you want a dog.

Take the test at

A personal statement of expressing why you want a dog.

You have described why you think you want a dog and have taken the test.



You must select and research 3 other topic areas



You review and begin your search.

You must decide what topic area is vital to help you create a summary statement based on the collected data.

Identify 3 topic areas.

You have reviewed and search 3 topics.



 Use How Much is the Dogging in the Window pathfinder to help find answers to your 4 topics.


You have selected 3 additional topics to seek information.

Collect the information and record data.

Navigate the pathfinder to find information.

You have successfully gained information via the pathfinder, books and magazines.



Entering data into the Mom and Dad, May I Have A Dog, Please! chart


Accessing the template and adding the column titles.

You will use the Mom and Dad, May I Have A Dog, Please! chart to make 4 headings for your information.

You have navigated the websites, books and magazines to find at least 4 points in each column.

The Mom and Dad, May I Have A Dog, Please! chart is completed with at least 4 points in each column. Additional points only make your statement stronger.



Summary sheet

Review the data.

Using a combination of How Much is the Dogging in the Window pathfinder and Mom and Dad, May I Have A Dog, Please! chart you will organize the information.

Write a summary based on the collected information as to why you should have a dog.

You have a completed folder with

  1. Statement
  2. Take the Online Breed test
  3. Research the 4 topics
  4. Complete the the Mom and Dad, May I Have A Dog, Please! chart
  5. Write a summary supporting or opposing pet ownership



As mentioned in the conclusion of the children’s website conclusion, this webquest is designed to make the child THINK beyond the first few weeks of owing a dog. The purpose is to heighten the awareness of the responsibilities associated with pet ownership. The child(ren) will have learned the essential needs of dogs and their responsibility to give them those essential needs and proper care. This process will expose the child(ren) to researching techniques, note taking, collecting important information, analyzing, critical thinking, creative writing, crafting a rationale, and verbally delivery of a proposal. These skills are vital to any decision-making process throughout their lives. This same process can be adapted to almost any decision making choice that our children will face in their lifetime. Pet ownership is a commitment that requires time, money, love and obligation to provide a good life for a dependent animal.

Credits & References


Pathfinders are websites accessed on the World Wide Web. I want to acknowledge that I linked to these webpages with an educational intent to assist young people in making choices based on research not on an emotion. I appreciate the research and time that these webmasters have given to create such valuable information.  All clipart is registered Microsoft clipart and is available under Fair Use and licensing of Microsoft products.



Designed by Diane Huerkamp

Based on the Internet4Classrooms
June 9, 2007