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Books for the Dog Days of Summer

Dog Lovers

We call them man’s best friend, but some (dogtologists, perhaps?) put their pets’ well-being far above their own. If you bawled your eyes out reading Marley and Me or have Lady and Tramp on your TV on repeat—or even if you just love a good game of fetch in the park—then you’ll surely admire any of these glorious books for dog lovers.

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Find Momo: Coast to Coast by Andrew Knapp (Quirk Books)

Anyone with a dog knows they have a wild sense of adventure and an unrelenting desire to explore. In his second book on the subject, Andrew Knapp captures this canine spirit—and displays the awesome sights and landscapes of his road trip across North America. Momo is hiding in each of the photos; can you find him?

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The Adventures of Bella & Harry: Let’s Go to Beijing by Lisa Manzione, illustrated by Kristine Lucco (Bella & Harry)

Precocious Bella and endearing Harry are on vacation again, this time in Beijing, China, where they toboggan on the Great Wall, explore the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City, practice tai chi, and snack on sweet ears and peking duck. Bella has done her research (and so have Manzione and Lucco), and the material she discusses with her brother pup is both educational and fascinating. These adorable dogs make for wonderful travel companions in this lovely addition to the Bella and Harry series.

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Knit Your Own Dog by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne (Black Dog and Leventhal)

As knitting becomes increasingly popular, it has branched beyond garments and blankets. Knitting toys and oddities, such as Japanese-style amigurumi—small and whimsical knit or crocheted people and objects—is on the rise. Combine that trend with the number of people who both own and love dogs, and Knit Your Own Dog: The Second Litter finds its niche.

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Rescue Road: One Man, Thirty-Thousand Dogs, and a Million Miles on the Last Hope Highway by Peter Zheutlin (Sourcebooks)

There are over one million homeless dogs roaming the streets of just Houston, Texas, alone. And in shelters all over the country, dogs are being put down in ever increasing numbers. In 2005, Greg Mahle hit the road in his truck, beginning his Rescue Road Trips to transport strays and unwanted kill-shelter canines to loving forever homes. Journalist Peter Zheutlin, who joined him for hundreds of miles, tells this inspiring story about the unique bond between dogs and humans and how going the extra mile can changes our loyal companions’ lives.

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Pets at the White House: Fifty Years of Presidents and Their Pets by Jennifer B. Pickens (Fife & Drum Press)

In Pets at the White House, Jennifer Boswell Pickens offers a delightful series of anecdotes and photographs of our nation’s First Pets, creating an endearing volume that will appeal to animal lovers and presidential theorists alike. She reveals details about pets whose presence helped humanize presidential hopefuls and ensure election, and those whose constant companionship became part of their owners’ public images.

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Animal Wisdom: Learning from the Spiritual Lives of Animals by Linda Bender (North Atlantic Books)

Veterinarian and lifelong animal lover Linda Bender describes her experiences communicating nonverbally with animals in Animal Wisdom. Her insight into their spiritual intelligence encourages people to relate to animals from a more enlightened perspective. This book provides readers with valuable information about improving human attitudes toward animals and deserves a thoughtful audience.

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George the Dog, John the Artist: A Rescue Story by John Dolan (Overlook)

“Without George I wouldn’t have picked up my pen and started drawing again after decades of neglecting my talent … I’d either be lying in the gutter, banged up in jail or buried six feet under, and that’s the honest truth.” It was years spent in and out of prison and on the street that led John Dolan to his lifesaver—an abused stray puppy he took in and called George—and to begin drawing again. Uplifting, humbling, and moving, George the Dog, John the Artist shows the true power of friendship and how it can redeem.

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Daisy to the Rescue: True Stories of Daring Dogs, Paramedic Parrots, and Other Animal Heroes by Jeff Campbell (Zest Books)

Jeff Campbell explores the idea of animal compassion in his book Daisy to the Rescue: True Stories of Daring Dogs, Paramedic Parrots, and Other Animal Heroes, where he details fifty accounts of animals risking their lives for humans and presents scientific findings that show animals are capable of kindness. To test whether animals act out of compassion or an instinctual response, Campbell evaluated hundreds of stories from around the globe, whittling the number of entries down to fifty, basing his criteria on credibility, reliable witnesses, and documentation.

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People Training for Dogs: What Breeders Don’t Tell You and Trainers Don’t Teach by Melissa Berryman (iUniverse)

In People Training for Good Dogs, former Massachusetts animal control officer Melissa Berryman presents a no-nonsense guide to what dog owners must know in order to develop the skills they need to successfully handle their dogs. Simply being a human is not enough to ensure being the one in control. Dogs, she claims, are neither “good” nor “bad”; it is how people interact with them that influences their behavior.

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Dogtology: Live. Bark. Believe. by J. Lazarus (Greenleaf Book Group Press)

Do you believe in Dog? If you’re more concerned about the dog in the movie dying than the human, then you must be among the devout. In this hilarious celebration of man’s best friend, J. Lazarus outlines the dogtrine of dogtology, from mythology and history to taking care of your pup to the benefits of the dogma. This bible for dog lovers shows that it’s truly in Dog that we trust.

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E. B. White on Dogs by E. B. White, edited by Martha White (Tilbury House)

While writing numerous animal characters in his children’s books, E. B. White also scribed humorous biographical essays documenting his observations of man’s best friend—collected here. Good reading for dog and White fans alike, this book makes one almost wish to be a dog, if that’s what it takes to be so closely observed and understood.


Aimee Jodoin
Aimee Jodoin is deputy editor at Foreword Reviews. You can follow her on Twitter @aimeebeajo.

Aimee Jodoin

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