Those of us with dogs have found our canine companions to be a steadying influence in these days and weeks when nothing feels normal or predictable. When we are missing friends and family, they are there. Dogs give us a reason to get out of the house, ostensibly for them, but the fresh air does us good as well. They give us love when we need it most, and even though my arm aches from throwing a slobber-covered ball for my own little Boston terrier, I'm unspeakably grateful to have her by my side.
Below are five books celebrating the human-canine bond—this one's for you, Beulah.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Do you ever wonder what your dog is thinking? In Garth Stein's bestselling novel, a dog named Enzo tells us exactly what he's thinking and feeling as he narrates a story of life, love, ambition, and heartbreak. Author Jodi Picoult called The Art of Racing in the Rain, "The perfect book for anyone who knows that compassion isn’t only for humans, and that the relationship between two souls who are meant for each other never really comes to an end."
A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
Like The Art of Racing in the Rain, this novel was made into a major motion picture, and the two books make excellent companions to the films. In Cameron's version of a dog's-eye view of the world, dogs have more than one life and each life has a purpose. There is plenty of humor to offset the tears, and this story of courage and unconditional love does not end but continues in the sequel, A Dog's Journey.
Say No More by N. Gemini Sasson
Halo is no ordinary dog. After her owner, Cam, dies in a tragic accident, Halo can still see and hear his ghost. Cam's son stops talking after his father's death, except to his beloved dog—heart-wrenching since, of course, Halo can't actually talk back. In the midst of this tragedy, Halo is taken from her home and must find a way back, across hundreds of miles, to the boy she loves and the only family she's ever known. If you believe that all dogs go to heaven, this book is for you.
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan
Many dog owners will relate to John Grogan's account of the puppy he and his wife fell in love with at first sight. They named their puppy Marley, and that cute little fuzz ball grew into a 90-pound Labrador with a mind of his own. Even as Marley destroys things and proves to be utterly un-trainable, the Grogans never stop loving him, and Marley loves them right back. You may shed a tear or two but don't let that deter you; Marley & Me is a book that will touch your heart.
One Good Dog by Susan Wilson
Adam March has built an enviable life for himself until one fateful act brings his world crashing down. Chance is a mixed-breed pit bull, raised to fight, his days spent in a dark basement waiting to be thrown into the ring yet again. But Chance escapes, and man and dog find each other. And save each other. A hopeful story of how Adam and Chance heal from the wounds of their past and learn to trust again.
Five books that pay tribute to the special bond between humans and their dogs.