Casey and Dash

Casey, a tuxedo cat and Dash, a Boston Terrier, live several streets over and both of their homes back onto a forest. Both end up escaping their homes and yards to wander in the forest and eventually end up exploring the beach. Both end up falling asleep in the same driftwood fort. When the tide rises the two animals end up meeting. Remarkably although they are different species, they look extremely similar yet their behaviour is very different. One is playful while the other is scared. Dash ends up nudging Casey out of the fort, directing her to safety on a park bench while they wait for their owners. It is a story that celebrates two unlikely species getting along.

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The front cover of the children's story "Casey and Dash" by MC Rolston.

The front cover of Casey and Dash

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Inspiration for the Story

This story was inspired by my Boston Terrier grand dog, Torsha and my dear friend Leslie’s tuxedo cat. Over the past couple of years with all our facetime calls, I couldn’t help but notice how similar our two pets look, yet their behaviour is so different. This brought me to dig a bit deeper to see if cats and dogs do get along and compare their behaviour.

The back cover of the children's story "Casey and Dash" by MC Rolston.

The back cover of Casey and Dash

About the Illustrator

In my earnest desire to encourage others to engage in creativity and to role model the process, I decided to illustrate the story. Initially, I was going to do the drawings in black and white and only colour the flowers and plants that reflected the season. As the drawings unfolded, I realized that colouring them would be preferable. My hope was to capture the difference in behaviour between the two animals, namely, one being active and more overly playful while the other is more reserved.

Guide for Reading: PRC

Predictions, Reflections and Connections


Predicting is an essential tool when developing as a strong reader. This story has been written to hook the young audience in engaging in predictable events.

Ask the following questions:

Look at the cover. What kind of animals is this story about?

Do you predict these two animals will get along?

Do you think that the cat will stay in her yard?

Do you think that the dog will stay in her yard?

Do you think they will go home or explore?

Do you predict the owners will find them?

Carefully look at the illustrations. Can you tell what season it is by looking at the plants and flowers? Why?


Reflecting throughout a book makes the story extra personal and come alive. It reflects a reader’s level of comprehension. A more thoughtful and complex reflection and connection reveal a higher understanding of the story. They also help reinforce one’s memory sequence which forms the basis of a retelling with more detail and reference to nuance. A simple and literal retelling reflects a more simplistic understanding.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

What happens in this story at the beginning, middle and end? Listen for and encourage your child to give as much detail.

What does a cat look like? What does a dog look like? How are they different?

How are Boston Terriers different from other dogs? (focus on the short tail, short snout, perky ears and short hair)

How can you tell the cat is afraid?

How can you tell the dog is playful?

Can you name the animals that interest the cat?

Can you name the animals that interest the dog?

How can you tell the animals are getting along and helping each other?


Making connections facilitates a deeper understanding of a story through making inferences, noting details and relating them to prior information. It is seeing, linking, and articulating other topics and events to the story. The reader is applying this reading experience to other learned information. Often when making connections the reader will arrive at exciting new insights that extend beyond the literal story.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

Have you ever seen either a tuxedo cat or Boston Terrier?

Have you ever seen a cat and a dog get along?

Which animal do you prefer, a dog or a cat? Why?

Why do you think the cat is named Casey while the dog is named Dash?

What do dogs do at the beach?

Have you ever seen a cat at the beach? Do their owners take them to the beach?

Have you ever lost a pet?

Does your pet come when called?

Do you have a favourite cat or dog story?

Additional Resources

The Difference in Perspective Between Cats and Dogs

Cats and dogs are often seen to be behavioural opposites and adversaries. Although they do perceive the world differently, and often tense interaction is observed between these two common pets, the friendly interchange between cats and dogs has been witnessed by many pet owners.

Check out this great article by Pawtracks on how cats and dogs behave and interact:

How do cats perceive the world? Check out Cat Beep:

A cute video for a Boston Terrier and Tuxedo kitten it really shows the difference in how each animal engages: