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After losing an acting role and fighting with her alcoholic stepfather, Kit is arrested for shoplifting and ordered to work, as part of her sentence, at an animal shelter.
Lynnette wrote KIT, Volunteer on a nametag and handed it to Kit. "Today, I'd like you to socialize the dogs," Lynnette said. "You can sit with them in the cages, if you want. Pet them and talk to them. Or you can take them out to the exercise yard, one at a time. It's fenced, so once you're in the yard, you can remove the leash and let the dog run free. There are balls for them to play with and poop-scoops for you to clean the yard with, if you need to."
As she talked, she led Kit out a side door and pointed to the exercise yard. It was surrounded by an eight-foot-high chain link fence.
"Before we began our volunteer program," Lynnette said, "some dogs became unadoptable and had to be euthanized because they were so withdrawn. They don't understand why they're here; it's natural for them to pull back and be distrustful. Since we began using volunteers to socialize the dogs, we haven't had to euthanize a single animal because it became antisocial." She spoke with pride. Kit could tell that the animals were important to Lynnette.
"Have you ever had a dog, Kit?"
"No, but I've always wanted one."
Lynnette took a yellow leash from a hook and handed it to Kit. Then she led the way to the kennel.
"Be careful when you open a cage door," she said. "The dogs will try to get out." She demonstrated how to do it, using her knee to block the space as she eased the door of the first cage open and slipped inside. Then she came back out and had Kit do it. As soon as she was in the cage, Kit began petting and talking to the black lab inside.
"Don't spend too much time with any one animal," Lynnette said. "I wouldn't want you to get overly attached."
It seemed an odd remark forsomeone whose business was trying to find homes for unwanted pets.
Lynnette watched while Kit put the leash on the lab and took it to the exercise yard. When Kit had put the lab safely back in his cage, Lynnette returned to the office.
Kit walked slowly through the kennel while the dogs on both sides leaped and yipped.
A sheet of paper was clipped to the front of each cage. It told how old the dog was, its name, and any known background information. There was a blank space where Kit was supposed to write the date and how much time she spent with each dog.
"Do as many as you can," Lynnette had said. "I know you won't have time to do them all so try to do those who haven't had a volunteer visit recently."
The last cage in the row contained a medium-sized terrier with reddish-blonde fur. Unlike the others, this dog didn't bark and didn't jump around. It just sat on the floor, staring balefully up at Kit. Kit looked at the paper on the cage.
Terrier mix. Approx. 2 years old. Found abandoned in a freeway rest stop.
Someone had added a date and: "Socialized, 10 min. I called her Lady." The date was more than a week ago.
Kit lifted the latch on the cage, carefully slipped inside, and closed the door.
"Hello, Lady," she said.
Lady stood up and her tail wagged tentatively.
Kit sat down. She was surprised to find that the concrete floor was warm. The kennel must have some kind of radiant heat.
"Good dog," she said. "Good Lady."
The terrier sat next to Kit, leaning against her. There was a metal dog door on the back wall which could be opened or closed from the front of the cage. Peering through the open door, she saw that the kennel continued on the outside of the building.
Kit scratched Lady's ears. The rest of Lady's fur was coarse and wiry but her ears were like rust-colored velvet. Lady leaned closer, until she flopped over sideways onto Kit's lap.
Kit laughed and rubbed the dog's stomach. Lady wriggled with pleasure and licked Kit's arm.
"You're a fine dog," Kit said. Did Lady jump out of the car and run off while her family was traveling? Or did someone purposely leave her at the rest stop? She wondered how anyone could have left such a nice dog behind.
Kit slipped the looped end of the leash over Lady's neck, and pulled it snug. Then she stood up and opened the cage door. Instantly, Lady bounded out the door and trotted down the kennel walkway, toward the yard. Kit held tightly to the leash and ran along behind. She opened the gate to the exercise area and took Lady inside. After making sure the gate was securely closed again, she removed the leash.
Lady galloped back and forth. She sniffed the ground; she sniffed the fence. Kit picked up a tennis ball and threw it. Lady ran after it but she wouldn't bring it back to Kit. Instead, she ran in circles around the yard, with the ball in her mouth.
Kit threw a second ball. Lady promptly dropped the first ball and charged after the second one. Then she ran laps with that one in her mouth. Her tail streamed out behind her and her ears flapped up and down as she ran.
It must feel good, Kit thought, to run like that after she's been caged for so long. She threw the balls until Lady's tongue hung sideways out of her mouth. Lady still wanted to play but Kit was afraid to overdo it. She put the leash back on Lady and took her back to the kennel.
As soon as they approached the kennel, Lady hung back.
Kit had to tug on the leash to get Lady to walk beside her, back to her cage. When Kit opened the cage door, Lady braced her feet and leaned away from the cage, refusing to go in.
"You have to go back in," Kit said. "I'm sorry, Lady." She gave the terrier a hard push but Lady didn't budge. Finally Kit had to get back inside the cage herself, and pull Lady in after her. Once Lady was inside, Kit removed the leash and slipped back out. As she latched the door, Lady sat in the corner of the cage and looked up at Kit. Her brown eyes seemed to beg, "Couldn't I go home with you? Couldn't you take me home?"
Kit wrote the date and "Socialized" on Lady's paper. She looked at her watch, surprised to see that thirty minutes had passed already. She wrote, "30 min.," feeling guilty that she'd spent so long with Lady when Lynnette had asked her to do as many dogs as possible. Still, it hadn't seemed like nearly enough time for Lady. Trying not to look at the terrier's sad brown eyes, Kit went on to another cage.
This one contained three black puppies. Kit sat on the floor and let the puppies crawl on her, chew her shoelaces, lick her fingers. She petted them and talked to them but she didn't take them out of their cage. The note on their cage said only, "Six weeks old. Owner can't keep. Too many puppies."
Next she took a big dog, part-German shepherd and part collie, out to the yard and let him run. The dog trotted along next to her on the leash and when she threw the ball, he brought it back and dropped it in front of her. She only kept him in the yard for ten minutes. It didn't seem like much exercise for such a big dog but there were so many others, all waiting a turn.
Copyright © 1991 by Peg Kehret
Posted April 14, 2014
Have you ever read a book that is heartwarming and compelling at the same time? Tells an amazing story, but still leaves you wondering? Persuades you in wanting to make a difference in the world? The book Cages by Peg Kehret covers all those things that you would like in a good book and more. Once you start reading it, you feel if you were a part of the story.
A youn girl named Kit Hathaway has made plenty of regretful decisions in her life. She has been in a constant struggle with fitting in, her parents getting divorced at a yound age, and forced into being homeschooled for her elementary and middle school years. When she steals a bracelet out of a local consignment shop her whole life changes. Her only punishment was she would have to volunteer at an animal shelter for one year. Although volunteering sounded miserable for Kit, She had always wanted a dog. As she continues to pay her dues in the shelter she bonds with one particular animal, but has a tough time when a dreadful event takes place. What wil happen next? Will Kit finally realize what life truly means? To find out you would need to read this amazing book.
The best part of this book is how Kit handles the situations and changes her perspective on life. She grows into a mature and responsible young adult. The worst parts of this book is bad things occur in order for better things to come along. Overall this book keeps you interested and wondering.
If you want to read a book that's compelling, heartwarming, leaves you wondering and changes your perspective on things then Cages by Peg Kehret is the right book for you
Posted March 10, 2014
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Posted July 15, 2013
Posted January 13, 2011
A heartbreaking but powerful book for young animal-lovers. Is sure to bring tears as well as a myriad of lessons. Still affects me after ten years and still has a place on my bookshelf - highly recomended!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 22, 2008
Posted November 26, 2007
I read this book when I was in 7th grade for a project just because the other kids took the good ones and I just fell in love with it. I couldn't put it down and could so relate to Kit. Most kid do go through hardships in their lives and they just want to be heard out for once. In this book, the main character vented her anger and frustration out by shoplifting because no one could hear her out. She flet lonely and a criminal until she goes to her 20 hour community service at the local humane society and bonds with the animals. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be inspired to find your voice in no time. This book saved me from myself and it helped me find my voice to say to my school, 'Hey y'all, I'm still here.' So if you feel lonely and such, read this book, trust me, you won't ever regret it ever in your lifetime. I'm now a junior in highschool and Kit's story still inspires me today----to never give up on anything you believe in.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 29, 2006
Posted November 26, 2005
A great book by Peg Kehret with a strong message.When Kate's stepfather yells at her while drunk she goes to the mall and shoplifts.She is sentenced to volunteer at an animal shelter where she learns how to fix her own problems.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 10, 2005
This book is very good i read it twice once for a book report and once again and I still love the book! I love animals and its very cool how kit doesn't really know anything about animals and even ends up caring for another dog, That part even made me cry a little bit, this story also teaches a lot of lessons.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 11, 2005
Posted March 29, 2005
Cages is a great book that teaches kids and adults alike that even though you have done something horrible, you will be forgiven--you just need to understand what you did wrong. Cages is about a girl named Kit who is struggling to live peacefully with her unbearable stepfather. Plus, she can't believe that she lost the lead part in the school play to a spoiled girl named Marcia. Through frustration, Kit ends up shoplifting and is sentenced to 20 hrs. working for a Humane Society. When it seems that all has gone wrong, Kit meets her light at the end of the tunnel at the Humane Society--a friendly dog named Lady. Unfortunately, Lady is put to sleep forever and Kit feels that all is lost. In the end, she realizes that even though she has broken the law, she discovers the meaning of redemption. I liked this book because it teaches you a good moral value that I think everyone needs to know: you can be forgiven and seek the solution to all your problems. I enjoyed this book so much that it's part of my 'Top 3 Favorite Books' list!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 6, 2002
I READ THIS BOOK WHEN IT WAS IN 8TH GRADE AND I INFLUENCED ME SO MUCH TO NOT GIVE UP AND TO NEVER LET ANYONE MAKE ME FEEL STUPID.....I AM NOW A SENIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL AND LOOKING BACK ON THE DAYS I WAS READING THAT BOOK WAS GREAT I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.......THANKS YOUWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 25, 2002
I highly recommend this book. Not only is this book witty, but it is full of excitement. This book actually inspired me to work at a kennel (which i wouldn't suggest because it actually was a much worse job than what was portrayed in the book). This is a brilliant book for people of all agesWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 29, 2001
The book Cages was a great book. It showed how to really enjoy a book. It teaches you what not to do when you grow up, such as drink alcohol and steal. It's not only about animals, but it's about friendship, stealing, and sticking up for what is right. Read the book...you'll enjoy it...I know you will. Be a good friend as Kit and Tracey were. They showed selfrespect and neatness for that.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 11, 2001
I thought Cages was so wonderful. In some profound way, I thought it was perfect. Kit goes through so many situations in her life and she finally picks the right path.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 2, 2000
This book is a wonderful book to read. I can guarentee that you will be overwhelmed in amazement once you read this book at how well written it is and how exciting it is. The characters are heartwarming and wonderful. I would definitely reccommend this book to anyone looking for a good book to read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.