1. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
This heartwarming–and heartbreaking–novel stars a dog named Enzo. Enzo is a four-legged philosopher who has spent his life observing the ways of humans. Just before he dies, he recounts all of his adventures and what he has learned along the way.
2. How Dogs Love Us by Gregory Berns
If you’ve ever wanted to know what exactly is going on between those cute, fluffy ears, this is the book for you! Neuroscientist Gregory Berns wanted to know what his dog, Callie, was thinking, so he decided to scan her brain. There were some obstacles to overcome–training her to sit still in the MRI machine without restraint or sedation first and foremost among them–but the effort was worth it. This book provides marvelous insight into the workings of the canine brain.
3. Dog Songs by Mary Oliver
I’m reading Dog Songs right now and it’s the best poetry collection a dog lover could hope for. Oliver waxes eloquent on the dogs she has loved and lost, and beautifully captures the undiluted joy of the canine spirit.
4. Dog on It by Spencer Quinn
A teenage girl is missing when her mother hires Bernie, a struggling private eye, and his pawed parter, Chet, the narrator of this dogeared mystery, to investigate. Great news for dog and cozy mystery lovers: this is just the first in a long series of Chet and Bernie novels.
5. Starting with Max by Ying Ying
After emigrating from China to Australia, Ying Ying and her family adopt a stray dog named Max. Starting with Max is the story of how Max helped her adapt to a new culture and a reflection on life in light of the lessons that only dogs can teach.
6. Dog Medicine by Julie Barton
Dog Medicine is a powerful testament to the healing gift all dogs seem to have. Struggling with treatment-resistant suicidal depression, Julie Barton adopted a golden retriever puppy in a last ditch effort to find hope in a hopeless situation. This book is the story of her recovery, facilitated by the loyalty and unconditional love that only a dog can give.
7. The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan
Teddy is a special dog who can understand humans perfectly, but his human, Sylvan, tells him that only children and poets can understand him in return. One day Teddy encounters two lost children in the snow-stricken woods and he leads them to the safety of Sylvan’s home, but when they arrive, Sylvan is gone. For those of you who want to share your love of dogs with the younger set, this children’s novel by the Newbery Medal-winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall is the perfect book.
8. Strays by Jennifer Caloyeras
Iris Moody is sixteen years old and has anger issues. After a note in her journal is taken as a threat against her English teacher, Iris is sentenced to a summer of community service working with troubled dogs. She is partnered with Roman, a three-legged pit bull fighting his own demons. When Roman’s life is in jeopardy, Iris has to come out of her shell and reach out for help to save him.
9. Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
Get ready for a tearjerker, guys. This is a story about a man losing his beloved dog, Lily, to the “octopus” in her head–a brain tumor. It’s a sweet, heart-wrenching tale that will make you want to hug your own dog just a little bit tighter.
10. Old Faithful by Pete Thorne
Everyone loves puppies. Cute and tiny, with soft fur and perky personalities, they rarely lack for love and attention, and are more likely to be adopted from shelters. Old Faithful celebrates dogs nearing the end of their earthy journeys with stunning portraits of greying faces and soulful eyes. These photos capture the essence of of the moniker “man’s best friend.”
What are your favorite dog books?