My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. What was the most important thing Snowball gave Paulsen? Why would Snowball remain fresh in his memory fifty years later?

2. Why does Paulsen regard Ike as a friend, not as a pet?

3. Why does Paulsen leave Dirk at the farm rather than take the dog with him?

4. What does Rex get out of the work he does?

5. Is "Caesar: The Giant" a funny or a sad story?

6. Why does Fred's eating tomatoes mean to Paulsen that "Fred had won"?

7. Why does Paulsen say that Quincy "should have been named White Fang"?

8. Why would Paulsen's dogs remember the words "Dairy Queen" and "DQ"? What does this say about Paulsen's relationship with his dogs?

9. Why does Paulsen say that Josh is "like a spirit, like an extension of my mind"? How does Josh's behavior illustrate this?

10. Why does Paulsen think that dogs are "mandatory for decent human life"?

11. What overall impression does My Life in Dog Years give of how dogs have shaped Paulsen's life?