Whether you’re looking for a heartwarming true story of loyalty and companionship or a simply-can’t-put-it-down novel that’ll inspire you to hold your four-legged best friends a little closer, you’ll find it in this list of 7 absolute must-reads for dog lovers, pet parents, and animal advocates!
1. A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog Named Trixie, by Dean R. Koontz
Learn about Trixie, the amazing dog that entered author Dean Koontz’s life and changed his world forever, even inspiring him to write this, his very first nonfiction! Trixie was 3-years old and a retired service dog when she came into Dean Koontz and his wife, Gerda’s life. It wasn’t long before her happiness, her joy for life, and her incredible intelligence changed their lives forever. Koontz’s ability to retell heartfelt and heartbreaking stories of his life with Trixie, stories all dog lovers have experienced and will relate to, makes A Big Little Life a relatable and touching reminder of the power of love and compassion.
2. Chaser : Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words, by John W. Pilley, Jr. & Hilary Hinzmann
Not only will this book wow you with details about Chaser, the dog that knows more than a thousand words, but it reveals how to teach your own dog the same way! When John Pilley, a retired psychology professor, got a Border Collie puppy named Chaser, he quickly learned that communication between dogs and humans wasn’t as limited as typically believed. Not only can Chaser identify more than a thousand toys by name, she understands more complex human language. Gaining attention from amazed dog lovers and and leaving animal behaviorists in awe, Chaser is changing the way we think about the intelligence of our dogs.
3. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll marvel at the beautiful relationship between a man and his dog. The Art of Racing in the Rain is told from the unique perspective of an aging dog. An easy, quick read, this book will touch your heart. Told in the voice of Enzo, a retriever-terrier mix, The Art of Racing in the Rain captivatingly tells a story from the dog’s perspective, with both human-like thoughts and a dog’s natural drive and instinct. It’s through the eyes of a dog that you’ll learn a lot about yourself and you’ll feel compelled to hug your own furry best friends a little tighter.
4. My Dog: The Paradox: A Lovable Discourse About Man’s Best Friend, by Matthew Inman
Does your dog insist on going outside to potty, only to stand around and sniff the grass instead (usually at 2am)? Does anyone else on the planet become as enthusiastic as your dog does, the moment you enter the room (so enthusiastic that they trip over their own feet, bark at the sky, and even start gagging)? They’re impulsive. They’re goofy. Half the things they do make no sense at all to us. And yet, we couldn’t imagine a life without them in it. Fans of Matthew Inman’s online comic site, The Oatmeal, will instantly recognize the hilarity that is My Dog: The Paradox. But, you only have to have shared your life with dogs to enjoy the humor in just about everything they do as it’s perfectly illustrated in this book.
5. Travels with Casey: My Journey Through Our Dog Crazy Country, by Benoit Denizet-Lewis
Are you just a tad obsessed with your dog? There’s a good chance New York Times Magazine columnist Benoit Denizet-Lewis wrote about you or someone like you in his hilarious memoir-meets-social-experiment, Travels With Casey! Benoit and his slightly neurotic, but all too sweet Labrador, Casey, pack up the RV and travel 13,000 adventurous miles, over 32 states in just four months. The duo meet wolf dogs, enter a dock-diving contest, sleep in a real life dog-shaped bed and breakfast in Idaho, and spend time with Cesar Millan in California, among other adventures (and misadventures!). They visit with pet psychics, meet animal advocates, and rendezvous with an assortment of odd, if not lovable, dog-loving characters – and best of all, it’s all true!
6. Dog Years: A Memoir, by Mark Doty
There’s just something about dogs – their ability to communicate to us without words, their unconditional love, an ability to forgive and to trust despite their past, and an unbreakable, incomparable bond to the people lucky enough to share their lives with them. Mark Doty understands just how special dogs are and perfectly and profoundly reflects on the human-canine relationship in his memoir, Dog Years. When Doty adopted Beau, a malnourished, neglected Golden Retriever as a companion to his dying partner and their current dog Arden, he couldn’t have imagined the impact his dogs would have on his life. Touching, intimate, and devastatingly heartbreaking, Doty’s memoir beautifully pays tribute to life lessons learned from dogs – hope, even in the darkest and most desperate times, loyalty, love, and loss.
7. Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love, by Larry Levin
You’ll love the heartwarming true story of a former bait dog that beat all the odds, not only to survive, but to find the perfect forever family. In 2002, Larry Levin and his sons took their terminally ill cat to the vet to be put to sleep. What began as the worst day ever quickly took a turn when a dog, missing an ear, his face covered in scars from an early life as a bait dog, walked right up and stole their hearts. This is the true story of Oogy, the desperate fight to save his life, and the family that gave him the spoiled, loved forever home he’d always deserved.
Do you have a favorite book not mentioned above? Have you read any of our favorite picks for dog lovers? Tell us about them in a comment below!