Reading is one of life’s ultimate pleasures, so the best Christmas gift for a dog-loving friend or family member must surely be a book about dogs
Make yourself a hot cuppa, throw an extra log on the fire and curl up on the sofa with a great book about everyone’s best friend, the dog. Reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures, even still we recommend having a box or two of tissues close to hand for some of the titles listed below.
1. The Incredible Journey, by Sheila Burnford
A labrador, a bull terrier and a Siamese cat set out on a journey fraught with danger to return to their home. River rapids, hunger, plummeting temperatures and wild animals stand in their way. A children’s classic aimed at 8–12 year olds and the adults in their lives.
2. White Fang and the The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
White Fang and The Call of the Wild complement each other so well that we recommend buying them together.
White Fang, part wolf, part dog, is a magnificent creature fighting for survival in a harsh and unforgiving environment. A classic adventure story and a must-read for all, not only dog lovers.
Stolen from a comfortable life in California by dog traders, in The Call of the Wild, Buck, a St Bernard, sheepdog cross, is sold to gold hunters as a sled dog. Life is no longer comfortable for Buck, who finds himself scavenging for food, fending off other dogs and sleeping out in the snow. Abused and mistreated, Buck is eventually rescued by John Thornton and the two forge an unbreakable bond.
3. The Genius of Dogs, by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods
John Grogan, author of Marley & Me, describes The Genius of Dogs as ‘a fascinating look at what goes on between the ears of the animals we share our lives with… fast-moving, and filled with insights that gave me a new appreciation for the complex social intelligence of man’s best friend.’ We couldn’t agree more!
4. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein
Sad, funny, uplifting and heart-warming, all words you would use to describe this beautiful tale in which Enzo, a family dog, relates how that family nearly broke up and what he did to prevent that happening.
5. Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman, by Lisa Scottoline
New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline tells it like it is, or was, or should have been: “I have never been in an accident, if you don’t count my two marriages.” We envy the dog that lands a place in this lady’s life.
6. A Dog’s Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron
Reborn as a golden-haired puppy, having led a previous short, tragic life as a stray mutt, Bailey finds a loving owner in eight-year-old Ethan and sets out on a quest to answer one of life’s unanswerable questions: why are we here?
7. James Herriot’s Dog Stories, by James Herriot
James Herriot’s classic collection of stories about the animal he loves the most. The Sunday Times describes Herriot’s collection of stories about the special dogs that have won a place in his heart as ‘tales [that] can be read and re-read… What shines through all the stories is that dogs give us enormous pleasure.’
8. The Sound and the Furry: from the Chet and Bernie Series*, by Spencer Quinn
The sixth in the private investigator series narrated by a dog, Chet. On this occasion, Chet and his human PI sidekick Bernie are in Louisiana to locate the missing nephew of a criminal they put away. Humorous throughout.
9. Rin Tin Tin, by Susan Orlean
Born on a battlefield in France towards the end of WWI, Rin Tin Tin became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and is said to have died in the arms of the original ‘blonde bombshell’, Jean Harlow, in 1932. A ripping yarn and a great classic.
10. Saving Susie-Belle, by Janetta Harvey
Saving Susie-Belle tells the true story of a Miniature Schnauzer, imprisoned for six years in the concrete hell of a Welsh puppy farm before she found safety and a loving home with the author and her husband, Michel, in Surrey.
Food was in limited supply, with dogs given just enough to keep them alive. The callous owners of the puppy farm didn’t even give their breeding bitches names, just tied them up in dank, putrid-smelling, concrete pens and forced them to live as breeding machines. Those bitches that failed to produce puppies faced certain death. Fortunately for Susie-Belle, and a few others like her, rescue came before death.
A harrowing yet uplifting story.
Got a friend who prefers watching to reading? See our guide to ten of the best movies about dogs.