Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

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10 Warm & Wonderful Dog Books For Wet Weather (Or Anytime)

I don’t know about your neck of the dog run, but here in the Northwest it’s been pouring rain for so long, I may be sprouting gills.

Not that I mind, mind you. Mom says this is great reading weather. Something about curling up by the fire with a good book. I don’t really get it. I just like sitting in her lap while she turns pages. And tells me what a “good dog” I am.

As if I didn’t know that already.

Anyway, here are 10+ top picks fur wet weather. (That’s not a typo.) These books are brisk and engaging. With good solid story lines. Lots of adventure. As much “flavor” and “texture” as those beef broth and steak treat thingies Mom makes. And of course sparkling canine personalities. Like mine. You’ll enjoy these even if you’re a feline fan. (Yech! Can’t believe I just said that.):

  1. The Black Dogs Project: Extraordinary Black Dogs and Why We Can’t Forget Them. Photography by Fred Levy.  Poignant personal narratives combined with stunning photography of some of the most beautiful canines on the planet! (You might detect a slight bias here. See photo, above.)

2. Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery– Spencer Quinn. (Told from the dog’s point of view) A good ‘ole fashioned “whodunit” mystery with a dog who’s way smarter than Bernie, his crime-solving human. Laugh out loud funny in places.

3. Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls. Old Dan. Li’l Ann. A young boy growing up in the Ozarks and sacrificial love. Bring tissue.

4. Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod – Gary Paulsen. Told in the first person. You can almost smell the cold and feel the snow crunch!

5. The Empty City (Survivors #1) – Erin Hunter. Lucky is a golden-haired mutt with a nose for survival. He’s always been a loner, relying on his instincts to get by. Then the Big Growl strikes. Suddenly the ground is split wide open. The Trap House is destroyed. And all the longpaws have disappeared. Is it time to find a Pack?

6. The Journey Back – Priscilla Cummings. #2 in the Red Kayak series. Not strictly a dog book. But Digger’s daring escape from a juvenile detention facility includes hijacking a tractor trailer, “borrowing” a bicycle, stealing a canoe, and befriending a stray mutt who becomes Digger’s best friend.

7. Puppies, Dogs, and Blue Northers – Gary Paulsen. Minnesota author and dog musher Gary Paulsen reflects on the growth of his sled dogs as he and his animals discover the world around them.

8. Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, An Unexpected Journey, and Me (Jon Katz)

A story of faithful love, unswerving devotion, and understanding without words, Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, An Unexpected Journey, and Me effervesces like a bottle of Cristal Brut Methusalah.

An abandoned, half-feral border collie reluctantly taken in by author Jon Katz, Izzy becomes a hospice dog. Somehow Izzy learns what can’t be taught: how to help the dying leave this world with dignity – “Oh! A dog! Where on earth did you come from, you handsome thing?” – and how to best comfort those left behind.

Lenore – from the Edgar Allen Poe poem – is a “portable happiness generator.” “The UPS driver threatened to steal her,” says Katz. Big hearted and good natured, Lenore can pierce the armor of the hardest heart. As Katz battles a deep depression and phantoms from his past, the rambunctious Lab pup gently reminds him why he wanted to work with animals in the first place.

9.  The Dog Who Was There (Ron Morasco).

Set in first century Jerusalem,  The Dog Who Was There is a heart-warming, surprising story about a little dog, Barley (that’s not a typo), and a Teacher from Galilee. This wonderful story is soaked in loss, loyalty, sadness, promise, and Great Joy. I’ve never read anything quite like it. You won’t want to miss this one.

And of course:

10. Forever, Eve: The True Story of a “Cast-Off” Dog Who Never Stopped Loving

Wait. Is that a patch of blue overhead?