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For the Love of Dogs!

From Pandemic Puppies to Stalwart Companions

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • August 26, 2020

You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us. –Robert Louis Stevenson

Happy National Dog Day! In these Covid times, we have become acutely aware of the importance of our furry friends. This year, many may be celebrating all sorts of firsts with their "pandemic puppies." While others may have spent the time in isolation just feeling utterly grateful for the loyal, normalizing presence of their longtime walking companions. This selection of all-ages, canine-inspired literature has something for everyone.

Young Pups

Happiness is a warm puppy. –Charles M. Schultz

Where's Spot
Published in 1980, this sweet little book by Eric Hill has the distinction of being the first-ever lift-the-flap book. For four decades, children have enjoyed spotting this mischievous little puppy.

Good Dog Carl
Alexandra Day's modern classic captivates readers with the surprising silliness of a playful rottweiler as babysitter. Let the shenanigans begin! This is part of a charming series.

Harry the Dirty Dog
Is he a white dog with black spots or a black dog with white spots? Harry hates baths, but after a grimy adventure, how will his family recognize him? Gene Zion's Harry the Dog series has charmed children for more than 50 years.

Gaston
He may look like a burly bulldog, but in his heart, he's a proper poodle. In Kelly DiPucchio's story, a puppy mix-up means that two canine clans must follow their hearts to discover that family is about love, not appearances.

Preteen Pooch Pals

Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell. –Emily Dickinson

Because of Winn-Dixie
From Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo, comes the story of a lonely ten-year-old girl. One summer day, India goes out for some groceries—and comes home with Winn-Dixie, a dog who somehow makes everything better.

The Incredible Journey
Instinct told them that the way home lay to the west. In Sheila Burnside's classic tale, two dogs and a cat brave starvation, exposure, and wild animals making their way through the Canadian wilderness and home to the family they love.

Big Red
In this novel by Jim Kjelgaard, Big Red is a champion Irish setter; Danny, a young trapper, more comfortable in the woods than at dog shows. But Red's owner knows a good match when he sees one, entrusting Red to Danny's training.

Puppy Training for Kids
Get your kids involved in training your new puppy. This guide from Amber Johnson and Colleen Pelar introduces kids to the basics of puppy care, including housetraining and socializing, understanding a dog's behavior and body language, and more.

Full-Grown Dog Lovers

When an eighty-five pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, it's hard to feel sad. –Kristan Higgins

My Dog: The Paradox
This comic series by Matthew Inman went viral after being published on The Oatmeal. Now in a keepsake book, explore funny canine characteristics, such as rolling in manure, chasing animals four times their size, and acting recklessly enthusiastic through the entirety of their impulsive, lovable lives.

A Dog Called Hope
This is the memoir of a wounded soldier and the extraordinary service dog whose enduring love brought him back to life. Wheelchair-bound, emotionally devastated, and suddenly a single dad, Jason Morgan wasn't sure he would ever be able to take care of himself, much less his three young sons. But then black Lab Napal came into his life.

What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog. –Dwight D. Eisenhower

Finding Gobi
At first the little stray dog seemed like simply a hindrance to ultramarathon runner Dion Leonard as he raced through the Gobi Desert in China. But the pooch proved that what she lacked in size, she more than made up for in heart, as she kept pace with him for the next 77 miles. As Dion witnessed her incredible determination, he found his priorities start to shift.

Scent of the Missing
In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, Susannah Charleson clipped a photo from the newspaper of an exhausted canine handler, face buried in the fur of his dog. A dog lover and pilot with search experience herself, Susannah was inspired to volunteer with a local canine team and soon adopted her own search-and-rescue dog, Puzzle. This is their story.

No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does. –Christopher Morley

We love all our pets, but there's something special about the emotional support that dogs provide. During the months of quarantine, many of us have commented that, while our cats may seem indifferent (or maybe even mildly annoyed) by our increased presence, our pooches have been over the moon about it. And we have to say, the feeling's mutual!

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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