Sara, nine years old, San Francisco

Updated: Jan 28, 2020

Who is in your family?

Sara, a nine-year-old girl in San Francisco, doesn’t always sleep through the night. Her younger brother and roommate wakes her up to go to his parents’ room. He has a blanket that falls from his bed every night, which also wakes Sara up. “I’m a sensitive sleeper,” Sara explains.

Asked what she wishes her family knew about her, Sara answers, “They probably don’t know that the loss of our old dog hurts me way more than it hurts them.” The family dog ran outside when Sara left the front door open. Strangers took her in and accidentally fed her something she wasn’t supposed to eat, which made her die. Sara says lots of people explained to her that it’s not her fault, but she still blames herself.

Sara’s family has a rule that on Saturday morning, no one can go straight to the TV after waking up; her mom, her dad, and her little brother must say good morning to each other before they can watch TV.

The new family dog cannot sleep with Sara anymore. As a puppy, she chewed up Sara’s bed covers. Now Sara has new covers and a new rule.

Insights from the Urban Playground

Cities have so many animals who need a loving home. If you are unlucky enough to lose your pet, like Sara did, you will be sad … but when you are ready for a new pet, there will be so many sweet animals who would love to live with you.

Urban families can watch TV on Saturday morning, or they can walk the dog to a restaurant for breakfast, or to a dog park, or to a pet store for dog food. If only they could buy a blanket that wouldn’t fall off the bed!


1. Does anyone in your family wake you up at night?

2. Are you a light sleeper or a heavy sleeper?

3. Have you ever had a pet die?

4. Have you ever blamed yourself for something other people said wasn’t your fault?

5. What are the rules in your family?

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