Lesson of the Day: ‘Old Dogs, New Research and the Secrets of Aging’

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Lesson of the Day: ‘Old Dogs, New Research and the Secrets of Aging’

7. Which research was most fascinating, memorable, provocative or surprising to you and why? Does it confirm or revise your perspective on how dogs age? What questions about how aging in dogs, animals in general or humans do you still have?

Option 1: Tell Us About a Meaningful Relationship You Have Had With a Dog — or Another Animal.

Choose one or more of the following writing prompts to respond to:

  • How important are animals in your life? What do you think explains your personal connection with animals? Do you consider yourself a dog or cat person — or neither, or both?

  • Do you have a favorite story or experience with a dog or other animal? If yes, briefly recount it.

Option 2: Create an Annotated Timeline of a Pet.

Using the graph from the warm-up activity as a springboard, create an annotated timeline comparing the stages of life of an animal and a human. Your animal can be a dog or any pet that you have observed over time. For the human, you can use a celebrity, other than Tom Hanks, or an older friend or family member.

Your timeline should have at least four significant points, events or stages in the life of both the animal and the human of your choosing. For each point, include a photograph or drawing and a short description of the physical, social or emotional characteristics at that stage (such as playing, eating, sleeping patterns and habits, or changes in color, size, strength or personality).

For more information about dogs and other animals’ growth and development, you might start by scrolling through The Times’s Dogs, Pets and Animals topic pages. Or, look at some of the resources and websites discussed in the article, such as the Dog Aging Project.

When you are done, share your timeline with your class and reflect together: What similarities and differences do you notice in the various timelines? What was most challenging about the task? What did you discover about the growth and aging of animals and humans? What new questions emerged about the process of aging in animals?

Option 3: Write an Ode to a Dog or Other Animal.

Write an original poem or song about an animal. It can be of any length or style and can celebrate the life of a dog or another animal at any stage of life.