As a wildlife rehabilitator, I was glad to see this subject covered the way it was. I was concerned when I first saw Laura getting a "pet" raccoon that the moral would be how cute they are, troublesome, perhaps, but great pets. I need not have worried. As usual, the storyline had a great lesson and this one is - wild animals do not make good pets.
I will be honest, I could not bring myself to watch this episode until I saw a later one with Jack still in it. I knew then he was not killed, so I went back and watched this then and only then. Jack is such an important family member, I could not have handled watching him die. If I hadn't already spoiled the ending for myself, I would have been a wreck seeing Charles carry his rifle out to kill the family's beloved pet. Even knowing he was going to be okay, I was on the edge of my seat. As always, Pa was right to teach Laura that Jasper needed to be wild and would not be happy in a cage and, as always, he had to do what was best for the family, even when it was tearing him up inside. Another great, moving episode.