Summer is here, and we’re back with our annual tradition – the DogWatch Summer Reading List for Dog Lovers! This year’s round up features sled dogs, mysterious strays, desert companions, powerful noses, and more canine-friendly topics. Pick up one of these 10 great titles, or check out our previous DogWatch Summer Reading Lists, and enjoy a relaxing summer read in your favorite spot with your favorite four-legged friend by your side! (PS – Cat Lovers, we’ve got you covered, too!)

Canine Fiction

Book Covers: Two Good Dogs by Susan Wilson, The Right Side by Spencer Quinn and Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume

Two Good Dogs by Susan Wilson

Wilson’s follow up to her best-selling novel One Good Dog (featured on our very first Summer Reading List,) Two Good Dogs continues the story of Adam March and his rescue pit bull Chance. Struggling after a recent loss, Adam travels with Chance to the Berkshire Hills, where he meets hotel owner Skye and her teenage daughter Cody. The three unite together to help a troubled homeless teen and his own rescued pit bull. Once again, the power of dogs to bring people together is on display in Wilson’s moving prose. If you’re reading this on the beach, don’t forget to bring a tissue, or three!

The Right Side by Spencer Quinn

None other than master of suspense Stephen King has praised this new thriller from Spencer Quinn, so you know it must be good! Quinn, the New York Times bestselling author of the Chet and Bernie mystery series (featured on our 2013 Summer Reading List), returns with a new novel that centers on LeAnne Hogan, a young veteran returning home after being seriously injured in Afghanistan. When she learns that the eight year-old daughter of a fallen fellow solider has gone missing, LeAnne becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. Along the way, LeAnne is joined by a mysterious stray dog, and their bond grows stronger as the danger mounts. “Brilliant. Deeply felt, but totally under control. I loved it,” says King. Count us intrigued.

Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume

One of NPR’s “Best Books of 2016,” Irish author Sara Baume’s debut novel Spill Simmer Falter Wither is a lyrical portrait of a misfit yearning for connection. 57 year-old Ray has lived in the same small Irish seaside village for many years, but has never really fit in. He finds an companion in a one-eyed shelter dog who is struggling with his own issues after years of neglect. Told over the course of four seasons, Baume’s poetic yet tough prose is enthralling, and the relationship between man and dog feels real and intensely felt. The Wall Street Journal calls Spill Simmer Falter Wither a “lovely book…destined to become a small classic of animal communion literature.”

Non-Fiction Dog Tales

Book Covers: Fast Into the Night by Debbie Clarke Moderow and Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard

Fast into the Night: A Woman, Her Dogs, and Their Journey North on the Iditarod Trail by Debbie Clarke Moderow

We’ve covered the Iditarod several times on our blog, and always find it fascinating. So it was exciting to see a first-person account from one of these intrepid racers, 47 year-old Debbie Clarke Moderow. Moderow depicts the grueling life on the trail and strong bond she develops with her team of spunky huskies: Taiga and Lil Su, Piney and Creek, Nacho and Zeppy, Juliet and Kanga. Fast into the Night is an amazing adventure story, and a perfect snowy antidote to hot summer nights.

Finding Gobi: A Little Dog with a Very Big Heart by Dion Leonard

From one extreme athlete to another, this time in the desert! Dion Leonard is an ultramarathon runner who competes in long distance races around the world. During one of these grueling races, a 250 km (155 mile) race through the Gobi desert in China in June 2016, Leonard was joined by an unlikely companion – a tiny stray dog. As the pup followed Leonard for mile after mile, the runner was impressed by her stamina and heart. He let the dog, which he named Gobi, sleep in his tent, and shared his limited supplies of food and water with her. Even though it may have cost him the race, Leonard was determined to rescue his new friend. Gobi’s tale is one of adventure, danger, inspiration and love. Aspiring marathoners, take note!

The Science of Dogs

Book Covers: Pets on the Couch by Dr. Nicholas Dodman and Being a Dog by Dr. Alexandra Horowitz

Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds, and the New Science of Animal Psychiatry by Nicholas Dodman DVM

Pioneering veterinarian and best-selling author Nicholas Dodman may be as close as we can get to answering the eternal question of dog owners: “What is my dog thinking?” In his latest book, Pets on the Couch, Dr. Dodman recounts several memorable cases he’s seen throughout his long career, including a parrot who won’t stop plucking his feathers, a racehorse who suffers from frequent fits of spinning and biting his flank and a bull terrier who obsessively chases his tail. Dr. Dodman makes a strong case for “One Medicine,” which emphasizes the similarities rather than differences between animals and humans. Endless fascinating, Pet on the Couch is another memorable example of the strong bond we share with our pets.

Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell by Alexandra Horowitz

Alexandra Horowitz, a professor of cognitive science who runs the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, is another best-selling author tackling the complicated and fascinating science of dogs. Her 2009 book Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know sought to explain how our dogs see the world, what they’re thinking and what they think of us humans. Her follow up, Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell, is a deep dive into the science of dogs’ mysterious and powerful noses. Once again, Dr. Horowitz mixes research with easily relatable stories of her own dogs, Finnegan and Upton. She even uses what she learns about dogs’ impressive skills to try out some ideas to improve our own sense of smell. Sounds like a fun activity to share with your pup on your next hike!  

Dog Days of Summer Reading for Kids

Book Covers:  The Best Days Are Dog Days by Aaron Meshon and When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin

The Best Days Are Dog Days by Aaron Meshon

The youngest dog lovers among us shouldn’t miss out on all this fun summer reading, right? For kids 3-5, consider the charming new book The Best Days Are Dog Days, from writer-illustrator Aaron Meshon. A young girl and her French bulldog spend a fun-filled day together, proving that dogs are indeed a girl’s best friend. The illustrations are colorful and captivating, and the story is sure to please the little dog lovers in your life. Just don’t forget to include your own dog in your bedtime reading!

When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin

For 10-14 year-olds who love their dogs, When Friendship Followed Me Home is sure to strike a chord. Twelve year-old Ben, a former foster kid, is a loner who spends most of his time diving into the imaginary world of his favorite sci-fi books. Things change, however, when he rescues an abandoned dog in the alley next to the Coney Island Library. Ben and the mutt, who he names Flip, become inseparable, and Flip’s outgoing nature helps Ben meet and bond with a fellow book lover, a girl named Halley. The story of Ben, Halley and Flip is not without struggle and sadness, but their bond is inspiring and their journey is definitely worth taking.

And One For the Cat Lovers, Too!

Adventure Cats: Living Nine Lives to the Fullest by Laura J. Moss

Who ever said cats aren’t as much fun as dogs never met these fearless kitties. Adventure Cats features cats who camp, cats who hike on a leash, cats who love the snow and even cats who surf! Don’t believe it? Well, there are adorable pictures to prove it. Author Laura J. Moss also includes tips for hiking with your cats, and other outdoor safety tips for cat owners. We want to try this with our cats – we just have to get them off the couch first!

Do you have your own favorite dog-themed book to recommend? Share your feedback with us in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter. Have a wonderful summer and happy reading!

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