Great Books for Gifting

Books, books, books: Surely one of the greatest inventions of humankind. I love to give books as gifts, and last night I found myself pondering what books to give to which person for the holidays. That, of course, led to thoughts about great books to send the dog lovers that I know, and that led me to you, good reader, who is so often an excellent source of wonderful things to read. I’d love to hear your ideas about great books to pass along to dear friends.

While pondering “great books about dogs,” I thought it might be instructive to look at what others had to say; not just about new books but about dog books written over the ages. Here are some of the lists I found:

First off, a dear friend sent me this link, from Mother Nature Network: Six Books Every Dog Owner Should Read. Of course, my friend sent it because my book, The Other End of the Leash is listed in second place, (Good Friend, Good Friend) but I like several of the other books on the list, too. You?

Curious about other book lists, I went to the elephant in the room, Amazon, to see what they had to say if you type in Best Dog Books. My first reaction was “Uh, what?” None of the books I’d list in that category came up, and some appeared that I’d put into, uh, other categories (like the Monk’s of New Skete’s book). But then, any list that has Walter, the Farting Dog on it can’t be all bad. The first book that cropped up on the list is completely new to me, Dogs, photographed by Tim Flach, and the cover photograph knocked me out. Could be a great gift for a lover of both dogs and fine photography.

It seemed logical to look next at Barnes and Noble, just out of curiosity. I was happy to see that they sent me to a blog, written by Becky Ferreira, titled Best books About Dogs. Her top book is The Philosopher and the Wolf, by Mark Rowlands, a book I admit to owning but not yet reading. Anyone read it yet? She also lists Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls, a book that somehow I’ve never run across and that I clearly have to get. Sounds like a classic. (A friend told me to get out the tissues, and then said: “It’s not a good dog book if it doesn’t make you cry.”)

Another good source for classic dog books is the Christian Science Monitor, who has a list of Eleven Essential Books for Dog Lovers. It’s top book is The Art of Racing in the Rain, a smash best seller that I personally found strange and somewhat annoying. (Apologies to those of you who loved it. But the dog’s “voice” sounded so unlike anything a dog would ever say, at least in my imagination, that I found myself struggling on every page.) The next book was Where the Red Fern Grows (okay, I REALLY need to get his book) and the next was one of the world’s great novels, Old Yeller. If you haven’t read Old Yeller, you need to. Really. It’s brilliantly written. Speaking of classics, Lisa L. here at the office suggested Goodby My Lady, written in the 50′s by James Street. Another one I have to get, along with a crate of tissue paper.

Dogwise, sometimes called “the Amazon of Dog Books,” is also often a good resource. They recently posted a newsletter with the top selling books at the APDT conference in October. You’ll note that all the books at the top of the list were books written by speakers, which makes all the sense in the world; it’s often after hearing someone speak that I too, am motivated to buy their books.

Two authors who don’t come up enough on the list are Susannah Charleson and Cat Warren. Susannah wrote Scent of the Missing and The Possibility Dogs, both brilliantly written books about page-turning topics. Cat Warren wrote What the Dog Knows, a book I absolutely love. Consider it “CSI meets Sherlock Holmes meets Nancy Drew meets Great Book About Human Dog Connection.” Both Susannah and Cat deserve to be on Top Dog Books Ever in my opinion. As does Caroline Knapp’s book Pack of Two, an honest and thought provoking memoir about her, her best friend, and their lives with their dogs. (See Let’s Take the Long Way Home for a heart-breakingly beautiful memoir by Gail Caldwell about her relationship with Caroline Knapp, their struggles with alcoholism, their mutual love of dogs and living through Caroline’s untimely death of cancer.)

And what about books for kids? I loved discovering the Reading Bug Blog, and its Best books about dogs for children.

You’ll note that I’ve focused on a lot of classics, versus some of the most recent books about dogs, but that is where my head seems to have gone this week. Two more suggestions before I update you on the farm: The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs (a wonderful collection of articles, art and cartoons from the long history of the New Yorker, perfect for reading on long winter nights) and, she said sheepishly, a Holiday Gift Package of books from yours truly.


MEANWHILE, back on the farm. The news is: we’re back on the farm! We were gone almost three weeks, and although it was a wonderful trip, it is heaven to be home again. England, Wales, and Germany were much prettier — still lots of lovely  leaves on the trees, and it is cold and grey/brown here — but still, there’s nothing like home. One year I made a Christmas card that listed our travels but ended: “But Dorothy was Right.” (Meaning, there’s no place like home.) The symposium in Germany was full of interesting information, I’ll write more in upcoming posts on topics that were stimulated by the talks of my colleagues.

Here are some last photos from the Travelogue, first a typical street scene in Aschau:

Aschau Street


Here’s the great hall where the symposium was held; everyone is out walking their dog or finishing up their lunch. It was a great venue and a wonderful crowd.

Ich danke lhnen sehr. (Did I get that right?)

Symposium Hall


And here we are back on the farm: King Charles is the handsome boy in the background, strategically placed behind Lady Godiva. You can tell by the red butts that both her and her daughter, Lady Ba Ba have been bred already. Nice work King Charles!

ewes bred




  1. says

    I did not enjoy ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ either, and had mixed feelings about another well-reviewed novel featuring dogs, ‘The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.’

    My favorite novels in which dogs play a large role are ‘The Dogs of Babel’ by Carolyn Parkhurst (which holds a place in my top ten books of any kind, I love it so) and the recent dystopian novel ‘The Dog Stars’ by Peter Heller.

    In the memoir realm, poet Mark Doty’s ‘Dog Years’ cannot be beat, and ‘Pack of Two’ is another favorite, along with ‘Part Wild’ by Ceiredwen Terrill which explores the plight of the wolf hybrid from a very personal perspective.

    Practical application and training-wise, of course your own ‘The Other End of the Leash’ is a classic and I also found ‘Why We Love the Dogs We Do’ by Stanley Coren of particular interest.

    Thank you for the great round-up of resources for the book-hound!

  2. Beth with the Corgis says

    I always recommend “The Other End of the Leash” to people, especially those who are struggling with their, uh, “alpha dog.” Ugh.

    One I’ve been wading through and find invaluable (though a bit unorthodox in grammar) is “Canine Body Language” by Brenda Aloff.

    “Your Purebred Puppy” by Michelle Welton is my go-to book for honest breed assessments. The website is also good, IMO, but the book is better if you are trying to decide what kind of dog you want, since you can use the systematic number ranking system she provides to come up with (sometimes surprising) choices.

    “Pack of Two” is a book I really, really wanted to love. But I found myself taking deep breaths and putting it down and saying “I’m sorry, but can’t you just relax and enjoy something for what it is without examining EVERYTHING” and then I’d feel guilty because I knew of her sad early passing. They say an unexamined life is not worth living, and while that may be true, taken too far it can prevent you from enjoying life. Based on her own self-reporting, she struck me as someone who struggled with that and knew it, but I found it really brought my mood down every time I read it.

    I also like “The Well-Adjusted Dog” by Dr. Nicholas Dodman.

    When I was a kid, I really liked the “Big Red” series about Irish Setters, though I don’t know how my adult mind would view them. And of course “Call of the Wild” is a classic.

  3. Ben says

    Yeah books are awesome:)
    I find amazon to be an awesome resource for selecting books. If you combine the ratio of a book’s ratings, and read the top 3 highest rated reviews (helps filter out a lot of the less well thought out reviews), then yeah I find it very helpful. Trisha, the amazon page you linked to is a listmania, a list compiled by one specific person. That may help account for some of the oddball books.

    I really do need to read Old Yeller. I’ll have to put it below “everything else by Patricia McConnell” (I’ve read the other end of the leash, and I really think the smaller books will be exactly what I want to read next – concise advice on varying practical issues by someone whom I trust). Unfortunately, I’ve had to stop reading dog books and focus on school. It will have to wait a little while.

  4. Frances says

    I don’t usually enjoy novels written from the dog’s point of view, but one that I would recommend to any adult or child who enjoys fantasy is Dogsbody, by Dianna Wynne Jones. The protagonist is not only a dog, but also the denizen of the dog star…

  5. ABandMM says

    We had to read “Where the Red Fern Grows” in middle school. I have no desire to read it again; too sad. Also in that English class we read “A day no pigs would die” and “The Yearling”. Definitely made a mark on me if I can remember them 30 years later.

    I know there is a website called “Does the dog die” ( to help people avoid movies where animals die in the movie. Is there a similar site for books? I bawled at the end of Merle’s Door and Marley and Me. I needed a lot of tissues.

    I really enjoyed “Inside a Dog”; a nice balance of science and more personal anecdotes about her dog Pump. And I found this to help me keep track of the books you have reviewed. Thank you.

  6. Mungobrick says

    I was given the Tim Flach book for Christmas last year by my son – it is gorgeous. The photo of the Komondor in profile across from a sheep in profile is my favorite – no doubt because our first dog was a Komondor!

    I gave The Other End of the Leash to my sister-in-law the year my brother suggested I give her a book by Cesar…


  7. Gail says

    Trisha, thanks for the wonderful photos of your travels. Beautiful! Thanks also for the book resources. I heartily agree with “The Six Books Every Dog Owner Should Read.” And I’ve truly loved every book of yours that I’ve read. “The Cautious Canine” was an absolute godsend! Alas, I am not a fan of “Pack of Two” for the same reasons Beth mentions. I also didn’t enjoy “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” because —-SPOILER ALERT!!!— very early on, I could tell where this would go, and frankly I’d much rather read the original version, Hamlet. My three all time favorite dog books, in no particular order, are your “Other End of the Leash, Karen Pryor’s “Reaching the Animal Mind” and Suzanne Clothier’s “Bones Would Rain from the Sky.”

  8. Lucy says

    I definitely agree about The Art of Racing in the Rain. For really funny books written from the dog’s point of view – that seem a lot like a real dog would think – I LOVE the books by Spencer Quinn, beginning with “Dog On It”. Chet adores his human, Bernie, and the feeling is mutual. Not particularly informative, definitely not sad, but oh, so much fun to read!

  9. joan schnabel says

    I second the recommendation for Dogsbody. Its not very well known, but its a wonderful book.

  10. Nic1 says

    I gifted my mother in law ‘The Other End of the Leash’ last year. I was thrilled that she also purchased Bradshaw’s ‘In Defence of the Dog’ too….Trisha’s book ( along with ‘For the love of a dog’) always makes me cry. Not because it is sad, but because she has that gift of being able to articulately express the feeling of love without it being sentimental or contrived. I have found ‘Inside of a dog’ by Horowitz and ‘Clever Dog’ by Sarah Whitehead of a similar tone – grounded in science and behavioural understanding but unashamedly expressive of their love for dogs. Truly touching reads, yet educational.

    I also really enjoyed Miklosi’s book ‘Dog: behaviour, evolution and cognition’ . It’s not a beach book but it’s a fascinating read.

    For people who are sold on the idea that if they become the Pack Leader, dominate their dog, precede them through doorways and eat dinner from their food bowl, then all their doggy behavioural problems will disappear, I would always recommend ‘The Culture Clash’ by Donaldson. It’s like a psychological slap in the face. Not subtle, perhaps a bit too direct for some people. If it was on the curriculum in schools, perhaps it would help get the right message in at the grass root level.

  11. lin says

    As a librarian who works with children, I have to take issue with Reading Bug’s use of ‘Early Readers’. I would never call the books she lists ‘Early (sometimes Easy) Readers.’ They are way too hard for beginning readers, who need much fewer words per page, much larger type size and illustrations to aid in understanding. My favorite dog-related early readers:

    Biscuit by Alyssa Capucilli. A small golden puppy with a small girl owner, they have many, many mild adventures. Adults may get tired of Biscuit’s ‘woof, woof,’ but the very repetitive text helps young readers.

    Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant. A very big mastiff (Mudge) with his young owner. Rylant has written Newberry-winning books, but this may be her most beloved series.

    Tara and Tiree: Fearless Friends by Andrew Clements. A golden retriever and rottweiler who save their master after he falls through the ice. Love, love, love this re-telling. Real story here:,,20122661,00.html

    Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman. Not very realistic, but so much fun! “Do you like my hat?” A classic for a reason.

    And a couple of kid favorites not mentioned elsewhere:

    Dogzilla by Dav Pilkey. A massive creature with fatal doggy breath terrorizes Mousopolis. Hands down children’s favorite in my reading-to-dogs program. The author’s adorable Corgi stands in for the monster.

    Say Hello to Zorro! by Carter Goodrich. Mr. Bud has a good routine going until Zorro interrupts his well-ordered life. “Everyone sticks to the schedule” has become a catch phrase in our house.

    Down Girl and Sit by Lucy Nolan. Down Girl thinks that is her name since her owner says it so often. The story is told from her point of view as she guards the house from squirrels and birds. The first book in this short chapter book series is called “Smarter than Squirrels” which gives you an idea.

    And can’t help adding (in relation to sad dog stories) a quote from Gordon Korman’s book “No More Dead Dogs”: “Go to the library and pick out a book with an award sticker and a dog on the cover. Trust me, that dog is going down.” The book has nothing to do with dogs but is pretty funny.

  12. Vicky in Boise says

    Here are a couple of my favorite dog books:
    James Herriot’s Dog Stories
    The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be by Farley Mowat
    Bashan and I by Thomas Mann

    Good reads, all of them so enjoy them yourself or give as gifts. Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. says

    Gosh, I’m swimming upstream: I liked “Edgar Sawtelle” – never considered it about dogs, but about the family with the dogs a large part; and yes, I LOVED “Art of Racing in the Rain”, but again, I’m a racing fan and raced autocross so the dog was a bonus to me but not the reason for getting the book (OK, the cover made me open it) – it was the family/racing story for me and again, the dog was a huge bonus.
    Am currently reading “The Dog Lived (and so will I)” by Rhyne. Hesitant – lordy, another cancer book but her writing is witty, self deprecating, and Seamus is a Beagle….enjoyable but just got to the cancer part….the dog’s, not Teresa’s yet.
    and yes, Trish, all your books are number ones plus Pukka’s Promise by Kerasote, and Don’t Shoot the Dog.
    Love, love books…and dogs…and horses.

  14. Ginger says

    The very first non-instructional dog book I ever read was A Dog Named Boo by Lisa J. Edwards. I read it only because it was free as an E-book for a while in the Google Play store, but I’m glad I did… It is my favourite dog book to date (although “My Dog: A Paradox” is a close second). Granted, I have a lot of dog books still on my to-read list, but I found A Dog Named Boo to be really powerful, not only about how humans interact with dogs, but also about our relationships with other humans and ourselves.

  15. Caroline says

    Mary Oliver, DOG SONGS “In Dog Songs, Ms. Oliver works her magic. The book goes transcends mere doggy-doggyness. It’s tends to fragility, love, and hurt. As she writes in “School,” “How many summers does a little dog have?” In a way, her poems, with their warmth, intangible quality, and simplicity, offer the kind of pleasure dogs give.

    Mary Oliver’s work tends to be simple and pure; so it’s not surprising Dog Songs is as well. But, she captures the nuanced and powerful relationship we have with dogs, and does so with so few words. And the poems are enhanced by with the realistic pen-and-ink illustrations by John Burgoyne.

    In short, if you love dogs or Mary Oliver, you will enjoy this collection; if you love both, you’ll be delighted. ”

    Also, GUARDIANS OF BEING, Spiritual Teachings from our Dogs and Cats, words by Eckhart Tolle, art by Patrick McDonnell

  16. Claire says

    I recently found a children’s dog book that I had never heard of and I loved it. It’s called Algonquin by Dion Henderson, published in 1953. It’s pretty deep and pretty harsh for a young person but very well written, and the descriptions of the dogs is so much fun to read. It’s about a Pointer and a family who enter field trials with their dogs.

  17. Margaret McLaughlin says

    Agree with you 100% on Scent of the Missing, Possibility Dogs, & What the Dog Knows–loved them all, bought them all retail (!!!) & push them on my friends. The Other End of the Leash is my go-to. Reaching the Animal Mind was one of the most life-changing books I’ve ever read–turned me from a clicker user (mostly luring) to a born-again clicker trainer–I call it my conversion experience, & for me the religious language is accurate, not because I regard Pryor as infallible–I don’t–but because it altered the way I look at the world.
    A young-adult novel by Jessie Haas, Shaper, has the same concepts in fictional form, & is one I recommend to people interested in clicker training when I don’t want to throw them off the deep end right away.
    I’ve read Bones Would Rain from the Sky, & while I liked some things about it, it has a strong undercurrent of self-righteousness that irritates me intensely, & I don’t see much difference between Clothier & some of the people–like the Monks, or Vicki Hearne–that she condemns. Full disclosure–a local trainer whom I do NOT see eye-to-eye with is one of her disciples, & her training methodology has regressed to the point where I no longer refer people to her facility. However, I had read the book years before I met the trainer.
    For the truly obsessed trainer on your list (or yourself) I am currently plowing through Ken Ramirez’ Animal Training. Decided I needed more theory, & oh my, I’m getting it. More than one chapter at a time & my brain starts to melt. Coming from a traditional training background I need to be reminded that a Novice obedience routine is really just a long behavior chain, & here’s how to build chains & fix them when they break. For me, at least, it’s helpful to think in terms of other animals than dogs, because then my expectations don’t get in my way & I can see more clearly how behaviors need to be broken down in order to be learned.

  18. Kathy says

    “A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home” by Sue Halpern–just finished it. It’s a bit like Susannah Charleston’s books in that the author is very straightforward about her own failings–and her dog’s–but the love and absolutely beautiful bond between dog and person (people, really) comes through. It’s about Sue and her dog Pransky becoming a therapy team.
    I must second the vote for “The Dogs of Babel” and the Herriot books–don’t just stop at the dog stories, though, there are so many wonderful sheep, cow, horse, cat, and human stories too! Also “My Family and Other Animals” by Gerry Durrell. He was a naturalist and zoo advocate (yes, I know, controversial), but also a really good writer and observer of nature.
    “Winterdance” by Gary Paulsen–also “Dogsong” by the same author. He’s known for his young adult novels, but he writes for adults too and “Winterdance” is one of his best. It’s about his training for and running the Iditerod in Alaska. His other adult novels, especially “Pilgrimage on a Steel Ride” for motorcycle enthusiasts, are also excellent.
    “Animals in Translation” and anything else by Temple Grandin. “Of Wolves and Men” and anything else by Barry Lopez.
    Wow. There are a lot of good books out there! Thanks, Trisha, for giving us this great forum for sharing!

  19. Kyle Bohland says

    Ian Dunbar…before and after you get your puppy is one of my favorite books to recommend. (Besides your books of course!) Also, my mom read Where the Red Fern Grows to my brother and me when were were kids. Definitely a classic.

  20. Mireille says

    A ‘British to the core’ book about Kudu, the springer spaniel; Diary if a dog walker – time spent following a lead by Edward Stourton. Funny, loving, thought provoking.

    More humour (sorry, grey days, need laughter) ; Gary Paulsen’s Winterdance. F.i. The chapter when training for the Iditarod one night he runs into three skunks with his team and is then banned from the house.

    I’m reading Bradshaws ‘This is the dog’ but since he starts with telling everybody how wonderfull he is and that he is the firsts person writing a book about behavioural science and dogs I get so irritated I keep switching to the classic ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’ . I keep wanting to tell him (Bradshaw) how there is this list of wonderfull books by this American author named Patricia McConnell…. (:-) ) Yup, I love The other end of the leash & For the love of a dog and Tales of two species..

    Another one of my favourites is ‘Bones would rain from the sky’ by Suzanna Clothier.

    Yes, the Tim Flachs book is wonderfull, I gave it to our dogsitter that time he was looking after our dogs and Janouk died, I felt so sorry for him – and because I knew Janouk got lots of TLC from him in his last days, something truly priceless when you cannot get home toyour dog yourself.

    More sleddog books; Yukon Alone by John Balzar (lovely chapter about the hazards of cold, under -30 no mistakes allowed..) and Otchum by Nicolas Vanier.
    I hate ‘White fang’ – sorry, but if you want the kids read about northern dogs, please get Otchum… :-)

    A lovely book I fear has not been translated into English; Daan, a Portuguese on velvet feet by Tessa de Loo. It especially intruiging because it highlights the differences about how we in the Netherlands think about dogs and how people in the Mediterranean think about them, without saying one or the other is right or wrong. Just different ;-)

  21. AL says

    I’ve read Where the Red Fern Grows at least a dozen times over the past 30 years, and it makes me cry every single time. At this point, I can’t even walk past that book without bursting into tears -it has become a conditioned response.

  22. MKJohnson says

    A fun urban fantasy, labeled Young Adult, but I certainly enjoyed it: “Shadows” by Robin McKinley. Has a great border collie in it named Mongo and his friends from the animal shelter where his owner works. A fun read, great charecterizations of the people and the animals (who help to save the day, of course). Ms. McKinley has dogs of her own and does a nice job with the relationship between Mongo and Maggie. The book description at Amazon doesn’t even mention all the critters, but they’re an important part of the book. Nothing like a Maine Coon Cat to stop the bad guy’s Hummer in it’s tracks :)

  23. Trisha says

    Love Winterdance, thanks for the reminder. A friend loaned me Goodbye, My Lady, will read it by the end of the week (tissues handy). Maybe I’d better wait to read Where the Red Fern Grows…?

    And thanks for the referral to A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home. Sounds like a must read. And yeah for Margaret for reading Animal Training by Ramirez. It is “information dense,” as my major professor used to say. I haven’t read it cover to cover either, and now feel like I should.

    A Dog Named Boo? Another great recommendation… I’d better stop so I can order some books…. more comements later on all the great suggestions made, gotta go let the dogs out!

  24. Sherron says

    Oh, my! I am so glad to read so many comments about “The Art of Racing in the Rain”! A dear friend recommended it to me, convinced that I would absolutely love it. But I absolutely HATED it!! I agree with Trisha that no dog voice that’s ever entered my head sounded like that dog.

    Years ago, I read “Timbuktu” by Paul Auster. It’s another one that I really wanted to love, but early on could tell it was going to end tragically.

    One book that’s part training, part autobiogray that I absolutely loved is Kathy Sdao’s “Plenty in Life Is Free.” She made me cry. In a good way. I love her.

  25. Robin says

    Great list, and I’m also glad someone else recommended the Chet and Bernie books by Spencer Quinn! The dog’s voice is really well done.

  26. LisaW says

    I also loved Winterdance. I still pick it up on occasion and re-read, it really puts you right with him and all his adventures.

    While the late Vicki Hearne might have been a bit heavy-handed as a trainer (she was from the Koehler school of training), as an author I found her books thought provoking musings about ancient and current society, animals, poetry, laws, and philosophy. In my mind, they weren’t animal training books or behavioral books but more anthropological. Adam’s Task and Animal Happiness are good reads.

    Pack of Two was a great book, as was Caldwell’s Let’s Take the Long Way Home, thanks for recommending that one.

    Other books I really liked: Donald McCaig’s Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men; Lars Eighner’s Travels with Lizbeth; and Ken Foster’s The Dogs Who Found Me.

    I also think many essays and drawings of dogs by James Thurber are really great. They’re entertaining and sometimes that’s just the ticket — The Dog Department: James Thurber on Hounds, Scotties, and Talking Poodles and his stories about Rex.

  27. says

    Wow, such great suggestions, and Tricia, i’m so glad you’re home with the dogs and cats and sheep again.
    Anyway, a couple of books I loved as a kid are about dogs and are fiction, and I’m not sure how other readers here would appreciate the dog’s narration, but I always thought they were fun. The first is called Judge Benjamin, Super dog and I believe that this was the first book in a series about a dog and his family. I always loved those books as a child and the other is a classic, Lassie Come Home. I love that one.Another book I’m looking forward to reading is titled, Jack, A Story Where The Dog Doesn’t Die At The End. Any title that can make me giggle right away is worth a look. Of course Tricia’s books are among my favorites. I’ve read The Other end Of The Leash, and For The Love Of A Dog at least twice now and will undoubtedly pick them up again. I tried to get my mother to read them, but she much prefers dog fiction, especially books where the dog narrates the story. My all time favorite books, at least right now are Scent Of The Missing and The Possibility Dogs. I can’t stop reading them, and I’m on probably my fifth read of The Possibility Dogs. I think it’s because the writing to me is so engaging. Anyway, those are my picks. Have a great Thanks Giving for those here in the US and while on break from work this week, I think I’ll read, with Seamus curled up on my feet of course. Considering how cold it’s been lately, he’s an excellent foot warmer. :)

  28. Kat says

    Currently reading How Dogs Love Us about the whole process of getting fMRIs on conscious dogs and loving it. Maybe a bit technical for the casual reader but I’m finding it fascinating and know several people to whom I’ll be recommending it.

  29. Ellen says

    I’ve been wanting to check out “Pack of Two” ever since you first posted about it, this reminded me to put it (and several others, of course!) on my list.

    One fiction piece that has become one of my favorites is “Sighthound: A Novel” by Pam Houston. Now, admittedly, I’m biased about this book since its canine protagonist is an Irish Wolfhound (the breed I share my home and heart with), but I really do enjoy the human story within it. One of the main complaints I’ve heard is that many folks feel Dante (the main IW) is waaay too philosophical, which I cannot disagree with. But, still, a nice read.

    And, for children’s reads: the set of books I grew up with that I rarely see mentioned as “classic dog books” are those of Jim Kjelgaard, particularly “Big Red.” I had many, many of his books as a child. It’s been many years since I last read any of them, but absolutely adored them when I was younger.

  30. Claudia says

    I’m gonna be a bit of a crank and say I don’t really enjoy a lot of dog books. I’ve read a few (Marley, Merle etc) and I thought they were ultimately all the same, after the pattern “I got a dog, I loved him, we had some fun times, and then he died.” Yeah, ok. Dog books are all the rage these days, but most of them just try to cash in on the emotional thing, the fact that we are just a mushy gooey mess when it comes to our dogs, and that cute pups on the cover sell. For my taste, many of these seem high on emotion but a bit short on substance, and don’t necessarily offer anything new.

    I enjoy dog (and other animal) books that contain a degree of scientific thinking and analysis, and/or some useful training advice. Trish’s books fall into that category, that’s why I do like those :)

  31. Claudia says

    I should add: the very first dog book I ever loved (and still do) was Call of the Wild by Jack London :)

  32. Kim McNeill says

    I hope you enjoy Goodbye My Lady. Without giving too much away, Lady does not die in the end, but it is not a “hollywood” ending. James Street originally wrote the story as a series for a magazine. The follow up to the end of the book can be found in a collection of stories called Teen Age Dog Stories edited by David Thomas (1949). The movie, Goodbye My Lady, is, uhm, well, honestly not the best of movies, but it does have Sidney Poitier in it and was produced (?) by John Wayne.

    I could not make it through Inside a Dog. Something about the tone grated on me.

    But i loved Possibility Dogs and will look for The Philosopher’s Dog (is it much like Part Wild?) and What the Dog Knows.

    I have also enjoyed Temple Grandin’s books, not that I always agree with what she writes about dogs, but i have such a tremendous respect for her, her body of work and how her mind works. I also really liked If Dogs Could Talk by Vilmos Csanyi.

    somehow my reading list has missed Walter the Farting dog.

  33. Mireille says

    I gave the wrong title of the Bradshaw book I’m reading, it’s called Dog sense.

    By the way, I also like ‘Chicken soup for the dog lover’s soul’ as a bedtime read and to me it made clear the endless variety of dogs. Of course tissue needed ;-) .

  34. Laurie says

    I felt the same way about The Art of Racing… So, heres another one that is written in a dog’s voice that I loved. A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. The dog does die, in fact, over and over again, as it’s told like the nine lives of a dog but the deaths are not gratuitous. It is written, I believe, for a middle school audience but I am a snobby adult and I truly enjoyed it. I laughed and cried, just a little.

    I was just given Dog Songs and can’t wait to read it. One of my favorite subjects by my favorite poet!

  35. Donna in VA says

    Wow, lots of good suggestions. I was pleased to find my library has several of the titles. I had put McCaig’s “Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men” on my Christmas wish list and am counting the minutes until I can start reading it. I enjoyed his other books a great deal.

  36. Betsy says

    Years ago there were complementary series published that I’ve been collecting forever. The Famous Dog Stories (and the Famous Horse Stories) were written by multiple authors, came in lovely hardcover editions, and were supposedly “young adult” but often covered some serious themes with an advanced vocabulary. I have a number of books by Albert Payson Terhune (collies), Jim Kjelgaard (Irish Setters), Thomas C. Hinkle (hounds and mutts) as a result. Beautiful Joe introduced me to pit bulls and dogfighting. Algonquin taught me about field trials. They reflect the thinking of the times toward dog training (and feeding!!), but are good stories nonetheless. Roxane The Blue Dane has lovely artwork. Forget the author (it’s at home) but it’s written from the canine perspective and is much more recent.

    Love the Chet and Bernie books! Paulsen is good, too, and Dogsbody, and I have Shaper (Haas is a good and prolific kids author), and I like several dog-lovers mystery authors. Susan Conant’s Malamutes will steal your heart along with any snacks you left out.

    I read Marley and Me and kept wanting to say TRAIN YOUR DOG. Jon Katz’s dog books are thoughtful and he doesn’t sugar coat the training challenges but he keeps working at them.

    Favorite dog book ever: The Incredible Journey. Skip the movie, read the book.

  37. Christina says

    Thanks for the list! I put a bunch on my Xmas list, and already read and liked Shaper and Scent of the Missing. You can skip The Philosopher and The Wolf, though. The philosophy is muddled and boring, and the wolf/dog training and behavior bits are self-righteously uninformed. :( The Other End of the Leash and Culture Clash are still my favorite books ever!

  38. Daniel says

    I saw that the dog book, Algonquin, was mentioned on this site. I disagree that it is a childrens’ book; it is very sophisticated in its themes, beautifully written, and has too much reality for young children, although older teenagers can appreciate and understand it. I have pasted my review below:

    Algonquin is the most powerful and soul-rocking story I have ever seen in print or in movies. In a lifetime of avid reading, which includes works by some of the world’s finest authors, I have encountered only a few who could capture this tone of melancholy understatement of life’s mighty truths. Again and again throughout the story the author expresses what IS truth and beauty, which are, as one of our great poets has said, the same thing. The dog Algonquin, against the background of big-league field trials, is a foil to address such tenets of life as: beauty is exhausting, glory is fleeting, and the cost and sacrifice to be the very best of the very best yet make it all worthwhile.
    This book speaks to any person who in any medium or art endeavors to make his heart “soar like the last four bars of a symphony” and hear ” the pulse thudding in his own ears” (from Algonquin). And while the story contains triumph, it also embraces the flip side, namely mortality. Yet it is not syrupy or maudlin, just real. The final third of the book is relentless; you won’t have a chance.

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