DogWatch’s 2012 Reading List for the Dog Days of Summer

Every summer DogWatch brings you our list of summer reading suggestions to help you while away the hours spent lounging at the beach or by the pool, and we think this year’s list is our best yet. With a mix of lighthearted, comical, and emotional reads, there’s something on here for everyone. If you see a book you’d like to check out, just click on the title and it will take you directly to our Amazon store where you can purchase the book in print or Kindle (when available) versions. Also, we encourage you to share your dog-themed summer reading recommendations here on our blog, or via Facebook and Twitter.

Happy reading, and have a great summer!

"Sophie: The Incredible True Story of the Castaway Dog" by Emma PearseSophie: The Incredible True Story of the
Castaway Dog
by Emma Pearse
For Kindle version, click here.

The story that became a global sensation: Sophie, the Australian cattle dog who was lost at sea and swam six miles through shark-infested waters to a remote island where she survived in the wild for five months.

It was just another day in paradise as Jan and Dave Griffith, along with their blue cattle dog, Sophie, motored out of Mackay Marina for a gorgeous weekend at sea. But when the sky suddenly darkened and the waves turned fierce, the unthinkable happened: Sophie disappeared overboard. Her heartbroken humans couldn’t fathom the loss and could only hope their beloved pet didn’t suffer. But this true cattle dog and devoted best friend wasn’t going to give up that easily—and what followed is a remarkable tale of survival, luck, and persistence. – Amazon.com

What a Difference a Dog Makes: Big Lessons on Life, Love and Healing from a Small Pooch by Dana JenningsWhat a Difference a Dog Makes: Big Lessons on Life, Love and Healing from a Small Pooch
by Dana Jennings
For Kindle version, click here.

Our dogs come into our lives as “just the family pet,” but before we know it they become drinking buddies and fuzzy shrinks, playmates and Cheerios-munching vacuum cleaners, alarm clocks and sleeping partners. And, in their mys­terious and muttish ways, our dogs become our teachers.

When Dana Jennings and his son were both seriously ill—Dana with prostate cancer and his son with liver failure—their twelve-year-old miniature poodle Bijou became even more than a pet and teacher. She became a healing presence in their lives. After all, when you’re recovering from radical surgery and your life is uncertain, there’s no better medicine than a twenty-three-pound pooch who lives by the motto that it’s always best to play, even when you’re old and creaky, even when you’re sick and frightened.

In telling Bijou’s tale in all of its funny, touching, and neurotic glory, Jennings is telling the story of every dog that has ever blessed our lives. – Amazon.com

"Dogs and the Women Who Love Them: Extraordinary True Stories of Loyalty, Healing, and Inspiration" by Allen Anderson, Linda AndersonDogs and the Women Who Love Them: Extraordinary True Stories of Loyalty, Healing, and Inspiration
by Allen Anderson, Linda Anderson

When the nurturing nature of women meets the loyalty and unguarded affection of dogs, remarkable connections ensue. You’ll be entertained, inspired, and moved by shelter dogs, police K-9s, dogs rescued from hurricanes and dog fighting, service dogs helping returning veterans, prison inmates who train service dogs, and everyday mutts who transform lives just by providing an exuberant welcome at the end of the day. – Amazon.com

 

"A Dog's Purpose" by W. Bruce CameronA Dog’s Purpose
by W. Bruce Cameron
For Kindle version, click here.

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.

But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders—will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog’s Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives, but also a dog’s-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose. – Amazon.com

*DogWatch Note: If you like A Dog’s Purpose,” make sure to check out the sequel, “A Dog’s Journey,” also available on Kindle.

"DogJoy: The Happiest Dogs in the Universe" by Editors of BarkDogJoy: The Happiest Dogs in the Universe
by Editors of Bark
For Kindle version, click here.

There is no greater joy than seeing a beloved dog smile. Whether they’re greeting us at the door, romping with their pals, or celebrating a birthday, their happiness is completely infectious. Do dogs really smile? We set out to prove this idea after a reader of The Bark sent in a photo of her grinning dog, with a suggestion for a contest … and, the Smiling Dog contest was born. So for the past eight years, enthusiastic dog lovers everywhere have been sending in photographs of their smiling pups. DogJoy assembles the best of the pack—presenting proof positive that dogs not only smile, but also laugh, grin, snicker and even share jokes. Highlighted by personal stories and peppered with charming observations, dog lovers everywhere will adore this wonderful collection. – Amazon.com

"Finally Home: Lessons on Life from a Free-Spirited Dog" by Elizabeth ParkerFinally Home: Lessons on Life from a

Free-Spirited Dog
by Elizabeth Parker
For Kindle version, click here.

Buddy, the golden retriever who touched the lives of everybody he met, was an excessively mischievous dog that had been shuffled from owner to owner since no one could control his crazy behavior. He was on his way to meet his fate at the local shelter when a mere coincidence connected him with his current owners. While he no longer had to switch homes, the hilarious acts he committed, from ingesting bottle caps to barging into a stranger’s house, caused his current owners to almost reconsider their decision.

Buddy was a dog that no one wanted, yet he became one of the quirkiest, friendliest, smartest and most cherished of dogs. The reader is not only drawn into the book, but learns from the unfortunate mistakes of others and how to think outside of the proverbial box. It gives the reader hope that if they are going through a similar ordeal, they can also successfully overcome any related obstacle. *A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to an animal rescue group.* – Amazon.com

"Last Dog on the Hill: The Extraordinary Life of Lou" by Steve DunoLast Dog on the Hill:

The Extraordinary Life of Lou
by Steve Duno
For Kindle version, click here.

Last Dog on the Hill” tells the story of an indigent young Rottweiler mix who, after abandoning his pack and the hills of his birth, went on to change the lives of hundreds of people and dogs, including the author’s, whose career as a behaviorist and writer was made possible through Lou’s extraordinary intelligence and heart. Lou won the respect of gang members, foiled an armed robbery, caught a rapist, fought coyotes and kidnappers, comforted elderly war veterans and Alzheimer patients in their final days, taught ASL to kids, learned scores of unique behaviors and tricks, amassed a vocabulary of nearly 200 words, helped rehabilitate hundreds of aggressive dogs and saved them from euthanasia. He was also a clown, consummate performer and Steve’s best friend for sixteen years. – Amazon.com

"My Dog Tulip" by J.R. AckerleyMy Dog Tulip
by J.R. Ackerley
For Kindle version, click here.

The distinguished British man of letters J. R. Ackerley hardlythought of himself as a dog lover when, well into middle age, he came into possession of a German shepherd. To his surprise, she turned out to be the love of his life, the “ideal friend” he had been searching for in vain for years. “My Dog Tulip” is a bittersweet retrospective account of their sixteen-year companionship, as well as a profound and subtle meditation on the strangeness that lies at the heart of all relationships. In vivid and sometimes startling detail, Ackerley tells of Tulip’s often erratic behavior and very canine tastes, and of his own fumbling but determined efforts to ensure for her an existence of perfect happiness.

My Dog Tulip has been adapted to screen as a major animated feature film with a cast that includes the voices of Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini. It has been heralded as “A stroke of genius” by New York Magazine and “The love story of the year” by Vanity Fair. – Amazon.com

"Paws & Effect: The Healing Power" of Dogs by Sharon SaksonPaws & Effect: The Healing Power of Dogs
by Sharon Sakson
For Kindle version, click here.

Dogs have always been our friends and changed our lives for the better. But they may save our lives as well. Seamlessly weaving scientific research with compelling narrative, Paws & Effect tells incredibly moving stories of beloved pets who have supported their people through periods of ill health and other crises—with miraculous results:

*Little Ben, a Chihuahua who can sense impending epileptic seizures

*Abdul, a Golden Retriever/Lab mix, who was the world’s first service dog and helped his owner by retrieving keys and phones, medicine from countertops, water from the refrigerator, and could even hand in credit cards at the grocery store

*A Dalmation named Trudii, whose obsessive behavior prompted her owner to seek a medical examination that revealed melanoma – Amazon.com

"A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog" by Dean KoontzA Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog
by Dean Koontz
For Kindle version, click here.

Dean Koontz thought he had everything he needed. A successful novelist with more than twenty #1 New York Times bestsellers to his credit, Dean had forged a career out of industry and imagination. He had been married to his high school sweetheart, Gerda, since the age of twenty, and together they had made a happy life for themselves in their Southern California home. It was the picture of peace and contentment. Then along came Trixie.

A retired service dog with Canine Companions for Independence, Trixie became an assistance dog of another kind. She taught Dean to trust his instincts, persuaded him to cut down to a fifty-hour work week, and, perhaps most important, renewed in him a sense of wonder that will remain with him for the rest of his life. She mended him in many ways.

Trixie weighed only sixty-something pounds, Dean occasionally called her Short Stuff, and she lived less than twelve years. In this big world, she was a little thing, but in all the ways that mattered, including the effect she had on those who loved her, she lived a big life. – Amazon.com

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