16 Soul Warming Books about Dogs for Dog Lovers

“The better I get to Know Men, the more I find myself loving dogs” ~ Charles De Gaulle

Apart from moms, dogs are the only beings that really look inside of a human and provide unconditional love. Fiction or non-fiction, it’s hard not to read a book that centers around dogs and not “feel” a thing. You’ll feel. You’ll be inspired. You’ll even cry. Surprisingly, we have very few books worthy of a read when it comes to dogs but here are a few you should have on your shelf, right now:

16. Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls

First Published: 1961

What it’s About:

The novel Where the Red Fern Grows is a moving story of a young boy, Billy, who goes to great lengths to buy exactly two coonhounds (Racoon Hounds) – very clever creatures that are usually trained to catch raccoons. The story is all about the adventure, the mysterious between the two dogs – a male and a female – and Billy himself. Wilson Rawls, the author, writes about how the dogs’ life is endangered often, how Billy bonds with the canine, how he plays, and works with the dogs, and more.

Why You Should Read It:

It’s a rather simple story if it wasn’t for the two dogs in a pair that show almost an out-of-the-world bonding, affection, and team spirit. Where the Red Fern Grows is a simple tale that doesn’t ask for much from you but is sure to leave you pondering about the story for days, weeks, or even years to come.

Best Quote:

“No, I’ll leave it open. He might come back.”

15. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein

First Published: 2008

What it’s About:

The novel follows Denny Swift’s – a race car driver and a customer rep at a high-end Seattle auto dealership – journey along with his dog Enzo. It’s about how the dog prepares him to struggle to make sense of the good, the bad, and the unthinkable. Enzo watches and learns everything about its owners’ passion for race car driving and relates it to his life. Read on how Enzo plays a key role in Denny’s battle with his in-laws over child-custody battles, and how Enzo sticks through Denny’s life – including the ups and down, the trials and tribulations.

Why You Should Read It:

The book is an ultimate treat to a general book lover, a dog lover, and even a motorcar enthusiast who happens to have a dog in the backseat. It’s a complete mix and match of a fairly gripping personal tale of a passionate individual and an equally passionate dog. Warning: the book will move you to tears.

Best Quote:

“Gestures are all I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature. And while I occasionally step over the line and into the world of the melodramatic, it is what I must do in order to communicate clearly and effectively.”

14. Thunder Dog, by Michael Hingson and Susy Flory

First Published: 2012

What it’s About:

Thunder Dog is a true account of a Labrador called Roselle and how she leads her owner from the throws of real, imminent danger of the attacked World Trade Center. Roselle takes it upon herself to lead her blind owner down to safety from the 78th floor of the World Trade Center. The story is a true account and that itself should give you enough reason to grab the book. If that doesn’t push you hard enough, it’s one of those rare heroic stories when dogs do more than humans can.

Why You Should Read It:

Are you a Nat geo buff constantly pining for real stories that shook the nation, or at least the sub plots that run on the back of major stories? How about reading up on the heroic acts of bravery that dogs seem to have chalked out for themselves in the annals of history? Thunder Dog is a true adventure story and it’s the kind of story that reinforces what we already know: dogs are really amazing companions. Dogs think little about themselves and more about you – the owner.

Best Quote:

“I’d not be alive today if it weren’t for Roselle. I cannot say enough for the incredible job she did.”

13. Watchers, by Dean Koontz

First Published: 1987

What it’s About:

It’s nice when there’s a wee bit of lab action drama around “dogs” instead of super heroes and science buffs. Watchers by Dean Koontz is the tale of how a top secret government laboratory experiment produces a dog of great intelligence and also another hybrid monster that courts violence and brutality. It could seem that the book just follows an all-too-common formula, but you won’t think so much about it since the book just hooks you in. It’s the good case of the formula done right and here’s the best part: the dog has the best lines in the story.

Why You Should Read It:

The book delivers the best for a sci-fi movie buff who also happens to be a dog lover. But then, it’s a story that’s well-narrated and it can grip you in a mild rush of expectant happiness. Even a non-dog lover would fall in love with the character immediately. Note that it’s “Loyalty” that’s actually the main theme of the book. Pay particular attention to the beginning of the novel where the story grips, entices, and thrills you at its best.

Best Quote:

“Looks like you’ve had a difficult journey, boy. The dog whined softly, as if agreeing with what Travis said.”

12. My Leash on Life, by Lenore Hirsch

First Published: 2013

What it’s About:

It’s always a welcome change when the narration is that of a dog’s and not that of a human. My leash on Life by Lenore Hirsch is a fast-reading story of Foxy’s views on humans, cats, and the rest of the world. It’s a detailed account of how Foxy is abandoned, rescued, the pain associated with loss, and how he usually finds himself right in the middle of adventure. My Leash on Life also has bits and pieces of deliberate sarcasm on human foolishness but also confirms the devoted connection, lifelong dedication, and unending love for humans.

Why You Should Read It:

Beyond the love for dogs and the thirst for understanding how dogs behave, sometimes you might want to back down several levels and actually get a first hand account of how dogs see, smell, and think about their immediate surroundings – all those observations on cats, sheep, deer, and more. You also get the inside scoop of sniffing, barking, instinctual responses, and various senses. Lenore’s book gives you all that along with the confirmation that dogs are true the four-legged companions that could fill your life with love and affection.

Best Quote:

“When we want to go out, we look you in the eye, we dance circles around you, and some of us even whine, but too often you look back like it’s a complete mystery.”

11. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, by Alexandra Horowitz

First Published: 2010

What it’s About:

To take care of your dog well, you should know your dog well enough. “Knowing” is not limited to just the external behavioral traits. Heralded as one of the most gripping non-fiction books of all time on the subject of dogs, Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz unboxes the whole science of dog behavior and makes it easy for dog owners – both new and old – to know how dogs see the world, really.

Why You Should Read It:

We all learn about human psychology or behavior to some extent, by education or by experience, and that’s one thing. Knowing your dog is something else. If you are a dog owner, or if you’d like to become one, this book is a lucid and an interesting read. You’ll find answers to your everyday questions on dogs such as:

– Why smell is so important for a dog?

– How does your dog interpret your feelings like nervousness, stress, and more?

– What kind of sensory capabilities does your dog have?

Best Quote:

“What I was seeing were snapshots of the minds of dogs, visible in the ways they communicated with each other.”

10. The Other End of the Leashby Patricia B. McConnell

First Published: 2003

What it’s About:

Dogs have a way with things, just like we humans do. We seem to get away with our peripheral understanding of dogs and the varying behaviors of our pets but we rarely plumb deeper than what’s necessary. How is that some dogs don’t even let us near while others pine for a simple hug or a pat? Why do dogs greet other dogs that way? How come a few dogs are almost battle-ready or can be easily trained while others cannot? Patricia B McConnell expands and elucidates many of those questions and clarifies how and why dogs behave the way they do.

Why You Should Read It:

Dog ownership can be bewildering, especially for new owners. Patricia helps quell your fears on dealing with your new dog in a humble, self-deprecating, humorous, and candid way. Starting from years of experience with dogs and unquestionable authority on dogs that she is, she blends concepts together to help you understand and communicate better with your dog.

Best Quote:

“All dogs are brilliant at perceiving the slightest movement that we make, and they assume that each tiny motion has meaning. So do we humans, if you think about it.”

9. Bones Would Rain from the Skyby Suzanne Clothier

First Published: 2002

What it’s About:

It’s one thing to write about dogs while not being really attached to them in any way (as some non-fiction books end up as). It’s completely something else when dog lovers and dog owners write authoritative books on the subject of dogs. Clothier is a self-declared dog lover and the book starts with her own experiences, her antics of even acting like a dog. With fascinating insights on dogs and how a dog’s mind works, Clothier delivers the best possible book on dealing with dogs and is a perfect start for dog training.

Why You Should Read It:

We can deal with things better when we know concepts inside out and when we deal with these things from experience. With Clothier’s book, you can borrow those insights and cumulative experience. As a potential or existing dog owner, you can isolate the root cause for a dog’s bad behavior and figure out solutions quickly. While it’s a great book to read as a dog owner, it also helps you get started with DIY dog training.

Best Quote:

“It was not enough to watch animals, or even to touch them. I wanted to see their innermost workings, to be inside their minds, to see and feel and smell and hear the world as they did.”

8. The Genius of Dogs, by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods

First Published: 2013

What it’s About:

Continuing with the search for books that can arm you with enough ammo for being a resident expert on your own pet, The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs are Smarter Than You Think By Brain Hare and Vanessa Woods makes for a perfect addition for your library. Hare is a leading researcher behind Project “Dognition” – a project that revolves around the study of Dog cognition. Did you know that dogs train us too, without us realizing it? How tuned in is your dog to our movements and gestures? How do dogs read our social clues? What do dogs interpret from our regular, everyday interactions?

Why You Should Read It:

Interested in information on a dog’s motivation? Do you want to know more about a dog’s typical reactions, how dogs process information, and on how dogs shape up their individual personalities? Is your dog introverted, extroverted, timid, actively engaged, or indifferent? How do they develop these personalities? You find answers to those questions in Hare’s book and you can’t disagree with the conclusive nature of Hare’s research and narration.

Best Quote:

“The dog is arguably the most successful mammal on the planet, besides us.”

7. Following Atticus, by Tom Ryan

First Published: 2012

What it’s About:

Extra ordinary can happen in so many different ways. Following Attitcus is an account of Tom Ryan’s adventure with his miniature schnauzer (Attitcus M. Finch) to climb all 48 of of New Hampshire’s 4000 foot peaks twice, in a single winter. The story takes you through an experience of a lifetime across hundreds of miles into deep and dangerous winter wonderland. At the heart of the story is a wonderful, amazing, and soul-wrenching relationship the dog shares with its owner, blurring to a point where’s its hard to tell if it was really a dog and a man.

Why You Should Read It:

Adventure buffs, bibliophiles, story addicts, and dog owners: grab a copy today to immerse yourself in an unforgettable tale of loyalty, adventure, friendship, and a really unlikely protagonist. The story opens your eyes to how a hard-hitting, tough, and almost heartless newspaperman melts and starts to appreciate love and the life-changing possibilities it brings with it.

Best Quote:

“For there he sits, alone in that field, facing an edge, facing a frontier, facing a wilderness that dwarfs him. And yet he sits. Facing it. Not turning away. Not running away.”

6. The Underdogs, by Melissa Fay Greene

First Published: 2016

What it’s About:

When everyone gives up on you, there’s usually a dog to standby and rescue, if only you look for it. In the Underdogs: Children, Dogs, and The Power of Unconditional love, Melissa Fay Greene writes on the account of Karen Shirk who faces life as a ventilator-dependent, immobile patient struck down by a neuromuscular disease. She goes out looking for a service dog and almost every dog service agency in the country refuses and turns her request down. Finally, Karen manages to find Ben – German Shepherd – and it’s the dog that brings her life back to her and shows her unconditional love, support, and companionship. Karen later runs a service dog academy herself with the sole premise of restoring life and accompanying faith for many broken children and their families.

Why You Should Read It:

Karen’s story is a true account of how a girl who’s been written off for good comes back with vigor and purpose with a dog in tow. It’s about how the girl grabs what she has and turns that into a mission with a purpose. Laced with characteristic insight and humor, Melissa touches on love, friendship, and leads you to a penetrating and compassionate quest to find answers to the “why” of our attachment to dogs, productive and purposeful life, and unconditional love.

Best Quote:

“On the question of whether animals think and feel – unlike the subjects of evolution, or climate change – most ‘deniers have been found in academia, not on the streets’.”

5. Pound for Pound, by Shannon Kopp

First Published: 2015

What it’s About:

Shannon Kopp produces a brave, inspiring story of a woman’s recovery from her own debilitating condition from an eating disorder. This is homage for four-legged heroes who don’t judge, who don’t give speeches, and just show oodles of love instead. Suffering from Bulimia, Shannon managed to get a job to care for a few shelter dogs. In that process, she finds love, the need for keeping faith, the inspiration to heal, and the courage to forgive herself (and others). Shannon realizes how much dogs can give and how her suffering was actually the birthplace of compassion.

Why You Should Read It:

Get ready to be moved by Shannon’s Memoir of love, hope, aspiration, compassion, and a great story of resilience. Get reminded of the fact that dogs aren’t just pets – they are friends and companions, and they are sometimes even better than humans can ever be.

Best Quote:

“No dogs are more persecuted or discriminated against that pit bulls, and no dogs have taught me more about resilience and forgiveness than they have.”

4. Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog, by John Grogan

First Published: 2005

What it’s About:

Dogs are usually even-tempered, calm, and reliable. Marley was none of that. Marley was a Labrador that didn’t fit the mold. John Grogan’s Marley & Me: Life and love with the World’s Worst Dog is a full account of how Marley refuses to follow the norm, about how the authors’ wife almost forces him to get rid of the dog, and how it all comes around for the family when the dog finally helps teach the entire family about what really matters in life. The story accounts for all the little guffaws of the hyperactive dog, about how Marley was kicked out of training at an obedience school, and how the dog ends up swallowing an 18-carat solid gold necklace (with the ensuring recovery operation). The story reflects the commitment of both the owner and the neurotic dog itself. The author didn’t give up and neither did the dog.

Why You Should Read It:

Clear writing, a down-to-the-earth account of dog ownership, laughter, crying, and more – the book packs all that in. You’d realize that no matter how your dog is, you can’t help but end up falling in love with it, again and again, and forever. It makes you realize how little pets really ask for but how much they give back in return. Prepared to be thrilled, moved, and to get your heart squeezed right out of your chest.

Best Quote:

“…Starting a life together and the big nutty, incorrigible, lovable dog that changed it all. Changed us. Changed our children. Changed the family we’d become.”

3. Good Dog: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Loyalty, by David DiBenedetto

First Published: 2014

What it’s About:

We know dogs make for good pets, companions, and friends. We also know of many accounts when dogs actually are responsible for changing lives, in some cases. Knowing it is one thing, reading true accounts of this actually happening is something else. Good Dog: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Loyalty by Editors of Garden and Gun and David DiBenedetto is a compilation of stories that reek of dog love. Instead of a single account of a dog and its owner, Good Dog: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Loyalty is a full collection of stories from some top writers such as Jon Meacham and Roy Blount.

Why You Should Read It:

If you wanted quick, digestible doses of stories on “dog ownership, companionship, friendship, and kinship”, you can’t just put the book down. It’s beautifully written, it tugs at your heart, and it showcases many true stories on how dogs become endearing to us humans. Inspirational, humorous, and real, the stories are guaranteed to tug at your heart real hard to invoke emotions.

Best Quote:

“I loved that dog more than any dog I have shared my time with before or since. I had to earn her affection, but once I did, Sadie was loyal to a fault.”

2. The Dog Who Couldn’t Stop Loving, by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

First Published: 2011

What it’s About:

Stories are one thing; history is another. Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson – an international best selling author of the Dogs Never Lie About Love has another treat up his sleeve with The Dog Who Couldn’t Stop Loving: How Dogs Have Captured Our Hearts for Thousands of Years. He chronicles a mix of cultural mythology, history, scientific research and his own experiences of how dogs have been an inseparable part of our lives for years now.

Why You Should Read It:

The Dog Who Couldn’t Stop Loving by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson makes for a compelling read and gives you fresh insights and perspective on dogs, dog ownership, and the true bond shared between dogs and humans. It tackles deep questions we have on why are dogs they way they are and why we inevitably find them as true companions in our lives.

Best Quote:

“But there is one area where Benjy excels: He cannot stop loving. He loves all dogs, all humans, all cats, all rats, and all birds. He loves them equally and intensely.”

1. Come Back, Como, by Steven Winn

First Published: 2010

What it’s About:

So, dogs make for great friends. What do you do when a dog doesn’t want to be with you? You’ll find the answer to that in this intriguing tale by Steven Winn in his book Come Back, Como: Winning the Heart of a Reluctant Dog. The book is a part of an endearing, bewitching, and a rather long (but interesting) tale spread out in a ten-part series in the San Francisco Chronicle. The story is narrated by the exasperated dog owner who has a dog that wants nothing to do with him. The story runs on how the dog impacts him and his family, how he faces ordeals along with his pet, and how loving a dog can make you more human than you already are.

Why You Should Read It:

It can be ultimately rewarding to have a dog as a companion, but is it always as easy as it seems? The book — Come Back, Como – apparently has a different tale to tell and you’d learn first hand that nothing worth having comes easy. You’ll inevitable compare the book to Marley & Me but you’ll witness a mixed bag of emotions while reading the book leaving you with a memorable read.

Best Quote:

“Don’t Let me go out there, Como Is telling me. Don’t let me go this time. Don’t let me go.”

Conclusion

If humans have ever been blessed, those blessings came on four legs in the form of dogs. No creature can show love the way dogs do, without expecting anything in return. Nothing gives you a sense of mute companionship the way you’d with a canine. For most dog owners, their respective dogs complete them. Almost every pet dog has had a history of changing lives around it, or the other way around in a few instances. We sure hope of these books move you enough to love your dog, more than ever.

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