Looking for a new beach book? How about a gift for Father’s Day? Or just looking for a good story to jump into on a hot summer day? Then check out this year’s DogWatch Summer Reading List, featuring a selection of novels, non-fiction and humor titles all centering on our favorite subject – DOGS! Pick one up and let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook. Happy reading!

For History Buffs

No Better Friend Book Cover No Better Friend: One Man, One Dog, and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in WWII by Robert Weintraub

The story of Judy the Pointer, the only official canine Prisoner of War (POW) of World War II, is little know, but thanks to journalist Robert Weintraub’s new book, that’s about to change. Published in May 2015, No Better Friend chronicles Judy’s journey, which began with her service as a mascot on a British ship. When the ship she was on was torpedoed, Judy survived and helped her fellow soldiers find debris to keep afloat. Even more remarkable, she survived three years living in a Japanese POW camp, saved by her quick wits and the fellow POWs who spirits she lifted. One POW in particular, RAF flight technician Frank Williams, forged a lifelong bond with Judy, and their tale of survival, strength and love is unforgettable. NPR book critic Maureen Corrigan gave the book a rave review, saying: “Weintraub gives the most inspiring true life account I’ve ever read of a human-animal bond.” We’ll be picking up a copy for Father’s Day…and a second one for ourselves.

Top Dog Book CoverTop Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca by Maria Goodavage

Another story of a canine hero, Top Dog is Maria Goodavage’s follow up to her best-selling 2012 book Solider Dogs. The Top Dog in question in Lucca, a German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix who served on over 400 missions in her eight years of service with the United States Marine Corps in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lucca was trained as a Specialized Search Dog, walking off leash in front of her handlers searching for explosives. Goodavage takes you into Lucca’s world, detailing her tense missions and the bond she forms with her courageous and devoted handlers, Gunnery Sergeant Chris Willingham and Marine Corporal Juan Rodriguez. Heartwarming and suspenseful, tough and beautiful, Top Dog is a must-read. (And after you’re done, check out this video to see Lucca with Sgt. Willingham and Cpl. Rodriguez.)

Beach Reads

Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts Book CoverLost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon

What happens when a newly single, workaholic Londoner inherits her aunt’s kennel in suburbs? You’ll have to pick up a copy of Lucy Dillon’s 2009 novel to find out. The main character, Rachel Fielding, is not a dog person, but after working with the kennel’s many four-legged charmers – as well as the eccentric but welcoming community that surrounds them – her heart begins to soften. Like any rescue dog parent will tell you, you think you’re rescuing the dog, but really, they’re rescuing you. A British magazine described Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts as “a contemporary Bridget Jones, but with canines instead of chardonnay.” Sounds like a perfect beach read to us!

The Dog Master Book CoverThe Dog Master: A Novel of the First Dog by W. Bruce Cameron

W. Bruce Cameron made the 2012 DogWatch Summer Reading List with his dogs-eye-view novel A Dog’s Purpose. Now he’s back with a new canine-centric novel, The Dog Master, due out on August 4, 2015. Cameron’s bold new tale travels from a present-day college campus – where an ambitious professor seeks to uncover the origins of the first domesticated dogs – all the way back to 30,000 years ago. Here, Cameron’s novel imagines the life of a young, outcast hunter and the newborn female wolf that becomes his only family. How did this prehistoric man and fierce wolf build this bond, and how did they survive in this difficult world? We can’t wait to find out. (Click here to read a sneak peek.) 

True Stories

Off The Leash Book CoverOff the Leash: A Year at the Dog Park by Matthew Gilbert

Matthew Gilbert’s day job is TV critic for The Boston Globe, but it’s his experience visiting his local dog park that inspired his first book. Gilbert wasn’t much of a dog person – or really, a people person – but falling in love with a dog lover meant regular visits to Amory Park in Brookline, MA with the couple’s sociable yellow Lab, Toby. There, the author was thrust into the world of pampered pooches, wild puppies, gregarious neighbors and a community he never knew he craved. (Editor’s Note: one of our office dogs often visits Amory Park with her mom. She’s not in the book…and but maybe she’ll make it into a sequel?)

Dogtripping Book CoverDogtripping: 5 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure by David Rosenfelt

Moving from Southern California to Maine is always hectic, but add over two dozen rescue dogs to the mix, and you’ve got a real adventure! Mystery writer David Rosenfelt and wife Debbie Myers are passionate animal lovers, and have helped rescue over 4,000 dogs through the years. At the time of their cross-country move, their family included 25 dogs, who all had to make the move east. Rosenfelt’s memoir is a hilarious account of this ordeal, and a moving portrait of his journey from everyday dog owner to committed animal rescuer. Bring this one with you on your summer road trip – it’s a fast, funny read that will help you pass the time with a smile.

Famous Internet Pets

Tuna Melts My Heart Book CoverTuna Melts My Heart: The Underdog with the Overbite by Courtney Dasher

If you’re on Instagram, you may be one of the 1.3 million people who follow the daily adventures of Tuna (@tunameltsmyheart), the Chiweenie (Chihuahua-Dachshund mix) with the charming overbite who loves bowties and napping. Tuna’s story began in 2010, when Courtney Dasher rescued the four month old puppy at a farmer’s market in Los Angeles. Instagram was still a new app when she created an account for her new puppy. Tuna’s photo was shared to all users on Instagram’s own account, and his unique looks immediately captivated fans. “Tuna is the epitome of the underdog,” says Dasher. “His loyal followers embrace his physical differences, have fallen in love with his charm and connect to his message; that true beauty comes in all forms and radiates from within.” Tuna’s book is filled with his sweet, funny and touching photos you’ll want to share with all the dog lovers in your life.

Texts From Mittens Book CoverText from Mittens: A Cat Who Has an Unlimited Data Plan…and Isn’t Afraid to Use It by Angie Bailey

Ok, so this one is not exactly a dog book, but it’s so entertaining we had to include it. “Text from Mittens” is a popular feature on Catster that answers the question: “what would it be like if my cat could text me?” Turns out, it would be frustrating, awkward and hilarious, as imagined by writer and cat mom Angie Bailey. (Check out one of the exchanges below.) Bailey compiled the best of her “Text from Mittens” screenshots into this book, which is quickly becoming one of our favorite “silly pet books” (and there are a lot out there, so that’s high praise). Now if only the dog could text…

Texts From Mittens Screenshot

Excerpt from Texts From Mittens – for more, visit www.textsfrommittens.com


Want more Summer Reading Lists? Check out our archive. And if you have a dog (or cat) themed book suggestion we didn’t include, share it in the comments!