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What We’re Reading {November 24 2010}

Dogs. You asked for books that feature guide dogs, dogs who are man’s best friend, loveable dogs, silly dogs, mischievous dogs…everything dogs. So, this week I give you…dogs!  I’ve focused this collection on books for all ages. Enjoy these great books, and be sure to comment and let us know what other great dog books are out there. Happy reading!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon — Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.

Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan — In Marley and Me, John Grogan cleverly and lovingly details the many ways a dog works himself into our lives, to the point that – for better or worse – we can not imagine a day without him. Be warned, this book is a tear-jerker, you will not emerge dry-eyed as you read the many tales of Marley, his escapades, his craziness, his lovableness, and about Grogan’s family and how Marley was such an important part of their every single day.

Dog Is My Co-Pilot by Bark Editors — Did you know that in America more households include dogs than children? Well, according to the editors of The Bark, a magazine that began as a newsletter advocating a legal off-leash area for dogs to play, it’s true. And because of that the editors had no trouble finding enough writers and material for a book of essays, short stories and commentaries on all aspects of humans and their dogs. The anthology is called Dog is My Co-Pilot: Great Writers on the World’s Oldest Friendship. The book’s subjects run the gamut, from the loss of a beloved pet to Stephen Kuusisto’s “Blind Date” about the pleasure of meeting his guide dog, Corky.

Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul: Stories of Canine Companionship, Comedy, and Courage by Amy D. Shojai, Carol Kline, Marty Becker, Mark Victor Hansen, Jack Canfield – Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul continues the tradition of the Chicken Soup books, offering an inspiring collection of stories that warm the soul. The Dog Lover’s version provides tale after tale of healing, connection and love. These stories are heart-warming, draw the reader in, and can be read and read again providing hours and hours of inspiration and warmth.  Dog lovers, behavior experts, dog trainers, vets and just plain folks share their stories of love, rescue, death and miracles – this is wonderful book that will provide hours of pleasure and daily inspiration.

Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me by Jon Katz — In his previous books, author Jon Katz introduced us to the delightful menagerie at Bedlam Farm, including Izzy, the unforgettable border collie rescue. Now, in Izzy & Lenore, Katz delves deeper into his connection with the beautiful, once-abandoned dog, learning yet again about the unexpected places animals can take us. As trained hospice volunteers visiting homes and nursing facilities in upstate New York, Katz and Izzy bring comfort and canine companionship to people who most need it. Humorous and deeply moving, Izzy & Lenore is a story of a man confronting his past, embracing the blessings of his current life, and rediscovering the meaning of friendship, family, and faith. Katz shares an uplifting tale of love, compassion, and the rich and complex relationships between dogs and their humans.

Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote — Merle and Ted found each other in the Utah desert. Acting as Merle’s translator, and using Merle’s life and lessons as a door into the world of dogs, Ted takes us on the journey they shared. The book explores the intensity of the dog-human bond is often intense, and how people and dogs communicate so readily with each other. It’s a book filled with tales of a special relationship, learning, challenging norms, and exploring the uniqueness that makes Merle and Ted’s relationship so special.

Franka: A Guide Dog by Walter Johnson — When the Allen family discovered they would be going to South America for a year, they had to make a hard decision. What would they do with Franka, their beautiful German Shepherd dog? The two kids, Joe and Joan, write the Seeing Eye and Franka is accepted into the program. Dan, Franka’s trainer, is very impressed with the intelligence of Franka. When Jane Wilson arrives at the Seeing Eye for training, Dan knows Franka is the dog for her. Jane and Franka train and graduate, and Jane goes on to be a lecturer on guide dogs and other topics. Good historical perspective of the Seeing Eye and the training at the school at the time. This book is geared towards the younger set; however, it’s a good read for all ages.

Zack’s Tales-Travels of A Guide Dog by Audrey M. Gunter — A handsome yellow lab change the life of his mom and the impact they make on society. Learn how guide dogs are specially bred, born, raised and trained and how they are matched with their new handlers. Live life as a visually impaired person, always asked to explain your need for a guide dog and required to carry your own copy of the Civil Rights law that guarantees your access. Learn how a wonderful, permanent bond is formed between Zack and his mom as they travel together becoming advocates for the blind. Feel their love for each other as they laugh, play, cry and work together.

Traveling Blind: Adventures in Vision with a Guide Dog by My Side by Susan Krieger – Krieger recounts her experiences as a newly blind person learning to navigate with her guide dog. Aiming to contribute to the understanding of blindness, vision, disability, and academic fields of disability studies, feminist ethnography, and the study of human-animal bonds, she relates her struggles to accept new interdependencies, come to terms with lack of sight, and perceive the world in new ways. She describes her initial experiences with losing sight, details her experiences traveling, and shares how the streets of her own neighborhood became like a foreign country (at least for a while).

Hello, Goodbye, I Love You The Story of Aloha A Guide Dog For The Blind by Pamela Bauer Mueller — One boy, One dog, One dream. Life is not easy for 12-year-old Diago Escobir. It was wonderful raising Aloha from puppyhood to 18 months, but now he must return her to the guide dog school for her formal training. Diego always knew that Aloha was on loan to him, but letting her go is proving to be the hardest challenge of his young life. In this tender inspirational tale, based on the true life story of Aloha, Diego discovers the sweet and sad in life are often interwoven. The unconditional love and trust between Aloha and Diego will enable her to become the dog she was bred to be. In giving her up, Diego gains unexpected rewards.


  1. Thor Spangler

    The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein is another good dog read, and it’s available on Bookshare.

  2. Claire

    Unfortunately, all the books you list above about guide dogs are unavailable for Bookshare members abroad ! Would you know of any other books on the same subject that are available worldwide ?
    Many Thanks !

    • Kristen Timmers

      Claire, I searched for books about dogs, esp guide dogs, and came up with the following books available internationally (for all ages):

      Katz on Dogs (there are a number of books by Jon Katz that are available internationally)
      Traveling Blind: Life Lessons from Unlikely Teachers
      A Cup of Comfort for Dog Lovers
      Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm
      Behind our Eyes
      Karen’s Big Move
      Kristy Thomas: Dog Trainer
      Animal Heroes

      There were quite a few more that came up in the search. I recommend doing an advanced search. In the full text box enter “guide dogs” and in books to search select “available worldwide.”

      Happy Reading!

  3. Jamie

    For children there is also Dog Loves Books by Lisa Grubb, And the Skippyjon Jones series of books by Judy Schachner, about a little Siamese Kitty who thinks he is a Chihuahua.

  4. Claire

    Many thanks Kristen for your quick reply !! I will look further into the Bookshare library with the advice you suggested.

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