The Dog Days of Summer are nearly upon us. They are considered the hottest, most sultry days of the year. They received their name from the Romans who marked their beginning each year when Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Big Dog) rose in the east with the sun. By tradition, they last 40 days. Currently The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists their start in the Northern Hemisphere on July 3 and their end as August 11.

Webster says the dog days are a period of inactivity. Why not take advantage of these days of natural lassitude to curl up, your dog at your feet, and read a good book—or even a few good books? In light of the season, we have a few suggestions of books for our dog-loving friends.

DogWatch Hidden Fences summer reading recommendation

Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote is the beautiful, touching, and thought-provoking story of the 13 year relationship between Ted Kerasote, an award-winning nature writer, and his beloved dog, Merle. Merle was a young stray golden Lab mix living in a campground in the Utah desert when he found Ted, who was preparing for a rafting trip down the San Juan River. The dog hitched a ride down the river with the group to be finally adopted by Ted who brought him home to Montana.

Their relationship evolves over the years, each learning from the other. It is the installation of a dog door that gives Merle the opportunity to regulate his own life, in effect to make his own decisions. Kerasote intersperses this biography of his and Merle’s life with the latest research of wolves and their relationship within in a pack. It is a book that you’ll recommend to friends as a fascinating and joyful story of a man and his dog.

DogWatch Hidden Fences summer reading recommendationThe Possibility Dogs: What a Handful of “Unadoptables” Taught Me About Service, Hope, and Healing by Susannah Charleson, the best selling author of Scent of the Missing, is about dogs that are trained as psychiatric service dogs and the comfort and healing they provide people who suffer panic attacks or post traumatic stress syndrome.

A new book, published June 4 of this year, it has gained high praise from such notables as Temple Grandin and Patricia McConnell as well as a good many readers who have posted reviews on Amazon.

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn is the first of a series of funny, adventurous, and thoroughly entertaining Chet and Bernie mysteries. The mysteries are narrated by Chet, the canine partner of Bernie, owner of The Little Detective Agency. Chet’s keen sense of smell, his somewhat hazy understanding of his human’s language, and his unerring ability to spot and dispatch any spilled or abandoned food, add hilarity to their sleuthing adventures.

This case involves a missing teenage girl and pits the resourceful Chet and Bernie against a host of shady characters who lead them through one pungent locale after another. Dog On It is a great, light summer read sure to delight both dog lovers and mystery fans, and can be followed by other Chet and Bernie whodunits in the series.

Find even more great DogWatch reading recommendations here!