By the Shores of Silver Lake Book Discussion - Grown Up
There was a great deal of work to be done before Pa left in the morning. As Pa assembled the bows and canvas cover over the wagon, everyone else pitched in to prepare for Pa's journey. Jack stood looking on. Poor Jack was old and he was worn out and tired. His body was troubled with rheumatism. Laura soon realized what was troubling Jack--due to his age, he wouldn't be able to make the journey beneath the wagon, and he must leave with Pa in the morning because they would be following by train. Pa decided to make room in the wagon for him, but he didn't seem to want to go.
Since Mary, Carrie, and Ma had been sick with scarlet fever Laura had been neglecting Jack. "I didn't mean it," Laura told him and he understood. They always understood each other. Jack was her dog, her protector. That evening Laura fed him a good dinner and cleaned and refluffed his bed. Jack watched while she made it comfortable, all the while smiling and wagging his tail. After turning three times he nestled himself in and held his head high to look at Laura. "Good Jack, good dog," Laura chirped as Jack touched her hand with the tip of his tongue. Then he sunk his nose into his paws and closed his eyes. He wanted to sleep.
The next morning Pa found Jack's stiff body when he went to do the chores. They buried him on the low slope near the path he used to run up and down so gaily. Laura cried for Jack. It was then she realized she was not a little girl anymore. At thirteen, with both Pa and Jack gone, she knew it would be up to her to help Ma take care of the others.