Skills Building: Rescue & Jessica (3-5)

Written by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes and illustrated by Scott Magoon 

Pre Reading Questions

  1. What qualities make a good friend?
  2. Have you ever had a friend help you when you were sad or hurt?
  3. Have you ever helped a friend? How does it feel to receive help and to give help to your friends?
  4. What do you know about service animals? Who might use a service animal?

Post Reading Questions

  1. How did Rescue help Jessica? How did Jessica help Rescue?
  2. Dogs are sometimes called “Man’s Best? What about dogs make them good friends? What can you as a human do to be a good friend like a dog?
  3. How did Jessica feel before she got Rescue? How did her feelings change after?
  4. What is one kind thing you can do for someone today?

Creative Enrichment Activity: No Bake Dog Treats (Pre-K-5)

Overview: In Rescue and Jessica we saw the important job of a service dog and discussed the qualities that make a good friend. In this activity, you will make No-Bake Dog Treats to give to a dog in your life. It could be your own dog, a family member’s dog, a friend’s dog, or a teacher’s dog. When we make treats or things to give to others we show them that we care about them and are thinking of them, this is a quality of a good friend!

Note: No food alternative activity below)


● Large mixing bowl
● Small disposable plates or bowls (one per student)
● Mixing spoon
● Plastic bags (1 per student)
● Measuring cups (
1 cup and ½ cup)
● Food safe gloves


For larger groups:
Ingredients (makes approximately 40 servings)
● 1 ½ cups peanut butter without xylitol (which is toxic to dogs, Skippy and Jif are safe)
● 2 ½ cups uncooked and unflavored oats
● ½ cup of water

For smaller groups:
Ingredients (makes approximately 20 servings)
● ¾ cup creamy peanut butter without xylitol (which is toxic to dogs, Skippy and Jif are safe)
● 1 ¼ cup oats
● ¼ cup water

Note: Sunbutter can be used in programs with peanut or tree nut allergies.

Duration: 30-40 minutes (for staff: 10-minute pre-activity set up)

● 2 minutes – Introduce the activity using the book and the overview
● 15 minutes – Mix together ingredients as a group with adult supervision and student assistance
● 10-15 minutes – Each student makes their individual treats
● 10 minutes – Clean up activity
● 5 minutes – Reflect and share


  1. Introduce the activity, connect to the book, and read the overview.
  2. Give each student a plastic bag with their name on it.
  3. Have all staff and students wash hands and put on food-safe gloves. Remind students not to touch any unsanitized surfaces or their faces.
  4. Mix peanut butter, oats, and water until combined. The mixture should be thick.
  5. When the mixture is complete, scoop some into each student’s individual bowls.
  6. Students can form into round balls; the size is their choice.
  7. Chill in refrigerator. Store in plastic bags in the refrigerator or freezer for long term storage. Should be defrosted before given as treat.
  8. Clean up activity.
  9. Reflect.

Reflection Questions

  • How does it feel to make something for someone else?
  • Who are you going to give the dog treats to? Share with the person next to you.
  • How would you feel if someone gave you treats they made for your dog? (You can imagine any pet, and if you don’t have a pet imagine that you do.)

Creative Enrichment Activity: Make a Card to Send to NEADS (Pre-K-5)

Overview: Did you know that Rescue and Jessica is a true story? In this activity, we are going to learn more about the jobs that service dogs can do. We will write letters and draw pictures to send to the NEADS Dog Training organization who trained Rescue!


● Construction paper
● Color pencils/crayons/markers
● Envelope 
● Stamps 

Duration: 40 minutes

● 5 minutes – Introduce the activity
● 10 minutes – Read stories about service dogs and their humans on the website:    
● 15 minutes – Make cards for NEADS
● 5 minutes – Clean up materials
● 5 minutes – Reflect


  1. Introduce the activity and connect back to the book. Ask the students, “Why are service dogs important? Who do you think they can help?”
  2. Tell the students about different people who might get a service dog (e.g. wounded veterans, children with autism, those who are deaf or have hearing loss, adults and children with physical disabilities) and organizations that might use service dogs (ministries, hospitals, courts as comfort animals in stressful trials usually for children etc.).
  3. Using your personal or work technology, pick a few of the stories to read to the students from the NEADS website.
  4. Give students paper and drawing tools to create cards for the people or staff at NEADS.
  5. If you plan to send the cards to NEADS, collect the cards and place them in a large envelope to send to NEADS at the following address: NEADS Inc., PO Box 1100, Princeton, MA 01541.
  6. Clean up materials.
  7. Reflect.

Reflection Questions

  • What did you learn about service dogs?
  • How does it feel to write a letter or card to an organization that helps people?
  • What else might you be able to do to help NEADS or get involved? (hint: check out their “Get Involved” page