Many of you know that I enjoy a good read—and I fall hook, line and sinker for a great ‘dog book.’ Here are some recommended reads for every dog owner, whether you’re looking for laughs, seeking solace or just searching for more reasons to love and appreciate your best friend even more.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
By David Wroblewski
Brace yourself with this book, as it doesn’t follow the typical feel-good dog story. But if you truly understand and love dogs (or appreciate Shakespearean undertones in a modern setting), there are plenty of moments in this book that will capture your heart. Edgar Sawtelle is the story of a mute boy who lives with his parents on an idyllic northern Wisconsin farm. The family raises and trains a breed of uber-dogs, and the boy—blessed with an uncanny ability to communicate with the animals—is poised to take over the reins. But the Sawtelles’ serene, bucolic household is shattered, forcing Edgar to flee into the wilderness accompanied by three of his trainees.
David Wroblewski’s debut novel deserves all the praise it has earned, including a No. 1 ranking on The New York Times bestseller list and ‘Best Book of the Year’ accolades from some of the country’s top newspapers. The best passages in the book involve Edgar’s interaction with his loyal companion Almondine, which prompted the Chicago Tribune to declare, It is chiefly around (Almondine) that Wroblewski weaves some of the most moving prose about dogs ever committed to paper. I don’t think I can argue with that.
One Good Dog
By Susan Wilson
I had my doubts about this book: It was an airport purchase—and you know how those usually go. I just wanted something to pass the time while waiting to board our flight to Curaçao, without really ‘getting into it’ too much, if you know what I mean.
One Good Dog is about Adam March, a businessman whose world is falling apart, and Chance, a pit bull mix who has known nothing but violence and fear. So much about not ‘getting into it.’ This book failed miserably on that end. Just read the prologue, and you’ll see what I mean.
Don’t Dump the Dog
By Randy Grim with Melinda Roth
Stray Rescue’s Randy Grim has changed many lives—ours included. Through the work of Grim and his team, we found Rowan, who currently is dog-in-charge at the Muyco-Tobin household.
Borne out of years of rescuing abandoned animals, Grim addresses everything from run-of-the-mill issues like potty-training to people who claim to be at their wits’ end and want to ‘return’ their dogs. Using advice that’s “pithy, witty and ever-so-wise” as only Grim himself can deliver, he urges pet owners to employ love, understanding and patience when it comes to their dogs.
The book is peppered with actual letters from people, including ‘Duh,’ who complains about his dog’s bark—not that the dog barks too much, but that the barks are too high-pitched and Duh was concerned that the barks would eventually hurt his ears and cause him to have a seizure. Duh ends his letter by saying, I will need to bring him back today. Please let me know what time I can drop him off. Grim’s response: Dear Duh, did you originally think dogs meowed?
Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates
By Gary Kunz
We all want to believe that when a beloved pet passes, she makes her way to doggie heaven, where they offer unlimited walks to the park, peanut butter treats and belly rubs. In Cold Noses, animal lover Gary Kunz uses scripture to set out to prove that pets indeed go to heaven. The author, a retired Coast Guard officer, is a biblical scholar with a background in psychology. Regardless of whether I agreed with his logic, I found Kunz’s writing to be of great comfort in the weeks following the loss of our 14-year-old beagle, Corky Ann, in 2009.
Kunz has an answer for everything, from grief-related questions such as Should I have waited longer to put down my best friend? to Why does my dog eat grass? There’s even a 30-day devotional to help someone work through the grief of losing a pet, as well as ‘Stories of Humor’ to encourage readers to think and laugh about happier times.
Marley & Me
By John Grogan
It would be a crime not to include John Grogan’s account of the life and times of Marley, the Labrador retriever he calls “the world’s worst dog,” on this list. If you thought the movie was good, the book is even better. It’s a must-read for anyone who is lucky enough to experience life with a canine companion.
It’s my belief that journalists make some of the best storytellers around, and Grogan is a perfect example. The former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist is a master at making readers laugh, cry, and laugh some more. There’s an incident involving Marley jumping out of a moving vehicle. Shortly after reading the book, something similar happened to our puppy, Bauer, who Harry Houdini-ed himself out of his harness to run across a busy intersection. Well, I found out that it’s not as funny in real life, but I digress...
Do you have a must-read book about dogs on your list? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestion.