1) In your own words what has happened in the book? Retell the major details of the story’s plot so far after reading each chapter.
The first few chapters tell the reader about Spud, and the beginning of her life. Spud is a blue heeler and she’s been bred to live on a farm and muster cattle. Unfortunately for her, she’s stuck in a pet shop in the middle of the city. This is how her life starts and soon she moves in with a family. At first they find her cute and adorable, but Spud doesn’t stay a puppy forever and soon they get sick of her and send her to the pound. Pounds and Animal Shelters only keep their stray and unwanted animals for a couple of weeks and soon her time there is about to come to an end. The people put up posters about her, hoping that someone will take her in. On this particular day an old farmer (Mr. Robertson), just happens to drive into town from his cattle farm. When he sees the poster about Spud he decides to take her, because he doesn’t believe in dogs (especially blue heelers) living in the city.
Spud’s life changes in the country and slowly she learns how to herd cattle. Already on the farm are 2 other male dogs and Spud stays with them. Pup and Chester teach her about the cattle, the best places to run around and how to get on the man’s “good side”.
One day while Spud is watching Pup and Chester at work, an accident occurs. Chester (who is already old) has to get put down, because of a bad injury. Soon after this, Mr. Robertson also passes away and his daughter comes to sell his farm.
Jim Morton buys the land with his wife and their daughter Kylie. Kylie and her mother love the dogs and treat them with love and care, not like Jim Morton, who never feeds or gives them water and beats and bashes them with sticks and rocks. From there Spud goes from a friendly, loving blue heeler to a dog that that’s always sad, lonely, hungry, thirsty, suspicious and nervous.
He only few enjoyments of her life are when the man goes to work and she gets to go for long walks with kylie and her mother, while they stroke her and play with her.
But one day all of this ends. While Kylie and her mum and the dogs were lying outside, half asleep, they heard they heard the shrill ear-piercing screech of Jim Morton’s motorbike. Unfortunately it was too late and the he had already seen the dogs off their chains.
Later that night, Spud could hear shouting, (by the man), screaming, (by Kylie’s mother), and Kylie crying. The next day when Kylie was on her way back from school, she saw her father trying to catch the dogs. She called pup over to her, and he came. She held his collar and gave him reluctantly back to her dad. He found a thick steel pipe and started bashing pup with it. Then he started hitting Kylie, because she tried to protect him.
This was all too much for Spud, and she leapt. She went for the hand that was holding the pipe and knocked the man down. After Spud left him alone, the man went for his gun, but Kylie was too quick for him and she unclipped Spud and she ran away. The man fired, but missed and Spud kept running.
Life in the bush without food was tough for Spud. She ate once or twice a week, if she was lucky, until she was tempted to go back home. The man was away and Kylie fed Spud, but Spud knew she couldn’t stay and when she was full, left.
After that Spud often ran with a dingo, who taught her how to hunt. He went and killed a large mob of sheep, for which Spud was later blamed for.
After a while Spud began to enjoy her new life, and learned a lot. But then winter came and Spud went back to Kylie and her mother. Kylie’s mother realized that Spud was pregnant and found an excellent hiding place for her. Even Kylie’s mother struggled to crawl through all the pipes and broken machinery to get to it and feed Spud.
Finally, six weeks later Spud gave birth to two females and one male. A couple of weeks later pup escaped from his kennel and visited Spud. Unfortunately, the man found him, Spud, and the puppies. After a lot of screaming he killed the two females, but before he had a chance with the third, Spud leapt. She could have killed him, but didn’t, instead she left with her remaining puppy.
But the man didn’t leave Spud alone. In a rage he got his bike and was after her very quickly. He put out poison, traps and hunted for her with many other men from the village too. Spud, with a month old puppy, was exhausted enough and after rescuing him from one of his adventures into a deserted rabbit hole, Spud went to sleep there. This was a huge mistake because she was out in the open and soon the men found her.
She jumped into the rabbit hole, just as some shots went off. The men had found her and they were everywhere – shooting, digging, and Spud knew that there was no point in fight them. There were too many and she was too tired. Just as Jim Morton was about to shoot, Kylie and her mum stepped in front of them, took Spud and her puppy, and went to start a new life in the city.
2) Describe 2 characters from the books e.g. physical characteristics, personality, likes and dislikes. Did you like/dislike the characters? Why?
Spud is a female cattle dog, otherwise called a blue heeler. Ever since she was a puppy she has been a friendly, faithful, understanding and loyal pet. She is obedient and has good instincts. She always is one step ahead and reacts to things very well and quickly.
Jim Morton is a man who is always angry, drunk and selfish. He tortures and beats his dogs, yells and hits his wife, and other then screaming at Kylie, he doesn’t take notice of her. He is unpredictable and nobody in their small country town likes him.
I like Spud because she is the main character and after reading the book you start to admire her and like her. I don’t like Jim Morton because of his personality and how the book describes him.
3) Did something happen in the book that you can relate to? How did you react? Try to put yourself in the characters shoes and why they felt the way they did.
There isn’t really anything that I can relate to, but I can see everything happening clearly and imagine everything going on as well.
If I was spud and the man was kicking me and aggravating m, I would do the exact same thing and bite him. I would be outrageously angry and wouldn’t let this happen and let myself be treated that way.
4) How did you feel while reading a section of this book? Did it make you feel sad, angry, happy and why?
While I was reading chapter six, it made me feel sad and angry at the same time, because of the way Jim Morton was treating his dogs. Once he had let them off their chains and they finished rounding up the cattle, he started yelling at them for no particular reason, and when they didn’t come to him (because he was screaming and throwing rocks at them and Spud and Pup had had enough of being beaten), he made kylie catch Pup for him. Spud came to him because that’s what she’d been taught to do by the old man, but he only caught pup because of Kylie. When he started hitting pup with a steel post, I felt angry and sad, but then Spud attacked him and I felt relieved because that’s exactly what I would have done.
5) Are there any words you are unsure of their meaning? List the words and a dictionary meaning.
Stringy-bark: Australia eucalyptus tree: a eucalyptus tree with thick fibrous grey and brown bark.
Muster: Call up something: to summon up something such as strength or courage that will help in doing something (e.g. assemble).
Venture: make dangerous trip: to make a trip that is unpleasant or dangerous (e.g. gamble).