Ten Unforgettable Books That Make Me Hug My Dog

The Daily Junior staff loves a dig-gone good book.
The Daily Junior picks some favorite reads

Every time I read the book Old Yeller, my dog Junior knows to snuggle up close to me and make sure he has tissues handy.

If you have ever read this classic dog book, you know what I mean.

Two of my favorite things are books and dogs.I have been reading and telling dog stories ever since I can remember.

Every Spring, Junior and I have a ritual. I go to my bookshelf and select three books from the stack of all my time favorite dog books. As I read, I am inspired by my dog heroes and I reach down and hug my favorite golden retriever in appreciation.

I love to read  books to Junior. He is such a great listener. If you haven’t  yet discovered to joy of reading aloud to a dog, it is time to try it. Dogs love a good story.

Here are some of our favorites from our special bookshelf.


1) The Call of the Wild – Jack London.
The story of Buck is my favorite book of all time and has been for as long as can remember. Written in 1903 , this is a tale of love, loyalty, survival and redemption. Buck is a domesticated dog who was sold into service as a sled dog in Alaska. The Call of the Wild has been called the greatest dog story ever written. It has my vote.

2) White Fang– Jack London
Yes, I am a big Jack London fan. White Fang also sits in a place of honor on my shelf and in my heart. London is a vivid storyteller and the story of White Fang is etched in my heart forever. White Fang  also takes place in the Yukon and was a companion novel to The Call of the Wild.

3) A Dog’s Purpose – W. Bruce Cameron
This unforgettable book chronicles a dog’s journey through several lives to find his ultimate purpose. It is funny, touching, heartwarming, and poignant.

4) The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
Enzo , the dog, is an unforgettable, and perhaps unreliable narrator of this story of love, hope and humility in the face of despair. Enzo provides his point of view of the ups and down of Denny ,his racecar driver owner. I loved this book. I do not think it is a coincidence that shortly after we read this together, my dog Junior started his own blog.

Junior meets his muse. Photo Credit:The Daily Junior
Junior meets his muse.
Photo Credit:The Daily Junior

5) Old  Yeller -Fred Gipson
This  is a 1956 children’s novel about a yellow dog who gives his life for his family. Old Yeller contracts rabies while saving his family from an infected wolf. His young owner is forced to kill Yeller after the fight with the wolf. This book has always spoken to me on themes of loss, resilience and sacrifice.


6) All Creatures Great and Small -James Herriot
Herriot is a country veterinarian in England and this is his memoir of helping animals in his veterinary practice. It is funny and heartwarming. When I first  I read this book many years ago, Herriott’s  vivid and simple storytelling inspired my own dog writing.


7) Scent of the Missing -Susannah Charleson
Scent of the Missing is the true story of Texas resident Susannah Charleson, her Golden retriever Puzzle and the relationship they form as a skilled search and rescue team.This is one of my favorite books about how the human animal bond forms a partnership that  helps people.

8) Possibility Dogs -Susannah Charleson
Charleson’s second book, Possibility Dogs also makes our list. This book shows how rescued dogs can rescue in return.It is the story of Charleson’s work rescuing dogs from shelters and training them to be service animals. I love both these books and learn something each time I read them. I can’t wait for more from the Charleson menagerie.

9) The New Work of Dogs,Tending to Life, Love and Family-Jon Katz
Katz explores the bonds between humans and dogs and how dogs have moved into a new kind of  work tending to life love and family. He draws on interviews on attachment theory, and interviews  animal lovers, psychiatrists and dog owners.

10) A Big Little Life : A Memoir of a  Joyful Dog – Dean Koontz
      Bliss to You: Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Life- Trixie Koontz as told to Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz may write great mystery, but he makes the top of my author list because he is a real dog person at heart. These two little books are often my companions on hard nights when I need comfort or  inspiration.

A Big Little Life is the story of his  time with his beloved golden retriever Trixie. Trixie was a service dog but was released from service and went to live with Koontz and his wife. The book is an author’s love letter to a dog who made a big difference in his life. (Some of Koontz books feature golden retrievers.)

In Bliss to You : Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Life  – Trixie  Koontz writes philosophy  as told to Dean Koontz . (Golden retrievers never give up the spotlight for long.) This little book written by Trixie reveals eight steps that anyone can take to achieve bliss. It’s some of the best wisdom I ever read. And it discusses cookies.

Picking which three of these  I want to read again each Spring is like deciding on which puppy is “pick of the litter”.

You probably have 10 other dog books on your list of favorite dog stories but these are the ones I go back to again and again. They never get old and they always make me grateful I live in a world with dogs and great writers who tell dog stories.

Oh yes, my  favorite golden retriever gets plenty of  hugs with each of these books.

And so far, he’s not complaining.

It was a real page turner.
Guess it was a real page turner.

So what are you and your best friend reading?

12 thoughts on “Ten Unforgettable Books That Make Me Hug My Dog

  1. Although we are cats here, we did like Marley and Me. I saw the movie Old Yeller as a child and couldn’t read the book because I would get so upset. We’ve read the Cleveland Amory books about cats (The Cat that Came for Christmas and others) and Pam Bennett-Johnson’s books. As a child I read books on horses (Misty of Chincoteague) and other critters. Love of animals can never start too early.

  2. I’ll never forget reading Marley & Me. I was bawling on my train ride home, and the first thing I did on getting home was hug my dogs.

    Romance author Lori Foster has, on two occasions that I know of, gotten her author friends together and done anthologies of short stories whose profits benefit animal shelters. The first is Tails of Love, and the second is Love Bites. Both very sweet reads. Nora Roberts has a romantic suspense novel, The Search, in which the heroine owns & trains Search & Rescue dogs. I was interested in the dog stuff almost more than the mystery!

    In nonfiction, I liked Rupert Sheldrake’s Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, From Baghdad with Love by Jay Kopelman, Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan, and of course, anything by James Herriot and Gerard Durrell.

    Also in non-fiction, not dog-related but a must-read as far as I’m concerned for any animal lover, is Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams & Mark Carwardine, in which the two authors travel around the world to try to see the most endangered animals on the planet — possibly for the last time. It’s my favorite non-fiction book ever, and I refuse to loan it out any more b/c no one ever wants to give it back!

    As you can see, I love to read and could go on and on…! 😉

  3. I also loved “The Art of Racing in the Rain!” My friend named her pup Enzo, just like in the story. Have you read “Where the Red Fern Grows?” I read it in seventh grade (a long time ago) and I remember it vividly. It’s about a boy and his two hound dogs – you’ll need a box of tissues nearby for this story, too.

  4. I read Where the Red Fern Grows many years ago. But you remind me it’s a treasure I need to revisit, tissues and golden retriever close at hand. Thanks for reminding me of this special book. Happy reading.
    Jill and Junior

  5. I loved Until Tuesday, and it really should be on my list.Last Chance to See is now on my “to read” list. Thanks for telling me about it. Can’t wait to start it. What great books you shared. Thanks and happy reading. Maybe we need a WordPress Dog Book Club.
    Jill and Junior

  6. My Mum and I just finished reading Following Atticus: Forty-eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan. She cried, I cried. She laughed, I wagged my tail. We both loved it! Atticus is my Hero. (of course, Atticus is a Schnauzer, so …)

  7. I love a lot of these books, but one of my favorites has been The Possibility Dogs. Super informative without getting dry or boring. If you don’t mind pulling out the tissues, you should read Cowboy and Wills by Monica Holloway. SO amazing.

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