It works! Except it won't export to QuickTime, so here is the link to the swf file on the server.
And now my answers:
a) the tutorials haven't contributed; I am not able to watch them without going to the lab so it's a computer upgrade for me next term...
b) the process I used to complete this project was building, testing, rebuilding, retesting... it took me a few tries to understand that I could layer button parts while designing the button states. I think I confused myself too with making pieces into symbols before building the button...which turned out to be unnecessary.
Script to paste for the action was a huge help, provided you remember to name your instances!
I would like to make the ball being thrown interactive, an action triggered by clicking on the thought balloon by the dog's head. Can anyone tell me how? The balloon is a bubble with all four states created, but I don't know how to link them with a action scripting, or how to hold the ball throw in reserve until it is triggered by clicking on the thought balloon button.
Thanks for your help and your patience all.