For those of you who don't know, I'm in the homestretch of my pregnancy (8 weeks and 6 days, but who's counting?!). So the LAST thing I should be wanting right now is a dog. But it's time to admit that I've secretly been harboring a desire for a four-legged friend. When I see a dog being walked down the street, my heart skips a beat. I'm not sure where this burning desire for a canine is coming from, but it really makes no sense considering in just two months, I'll have a two-legged baby demanding all of my attention. But that rationale flew out the window when I read You Had Me At Woof: How Dogs Taught Me The Secrets of Happiness by Julie Klam.

 

 

Let's start with the cover. The most precious Boston Terrier you've ever seen is staring at you, big eyes, cute little face, asking you not only to read the memoir, but to go out and get a dog just like him. (Ok, so maybe that's just what he's saying to me...) I'd seen many positive reviews of You Had Me At Woof and after reading it in one day flat, I agree with many that it's honest, funny, entertaining and emotional (I cried- and I don't blame the pregnancy). It's more than just another book about dogs- it almost reads like a diary- Julie's personal connection to her dogs as she works as a rescuer. (Can I just take a second to give a shout out to Julie and all dog rescuers and rescue organizations out there?) Anyway, back to the book. It's the story of Julie Klam, in her thirties and still single. Hoping to meet the man she can spend the rest of her life with. But then she meets Otto...her first dog in a long line of Boston Terriers. And she falls instantly in love. Whether you already own four dogs, are toying with the idea of maybe getting one dog or if you prefer to simply visit the dog your brother owns, I recommend this book. Because we've all had a pet or a passion or a person in our lives that has made us feel the way Otto made Julie feel, the way Boston Terriers made Julie feel. And that is reason alone to read this magnificent memoir!

 

 

 

 

Stay by Allie Larkin is a heartwarming love story between pup and master that I wrote about here over the summer. And I feel it deserves another mention because it's a fabulous book about a fabulous dog. The cover is brilliant. And just like the Boston Terrier on the cover of You Had Me At Woof, the German Shepherd on this bright blue cover is calling to me, persuading me to get a dog. (Did I mention it's Allie Larkin's own dog, Argo?).  Stay is the story of how heartbroken Savannah”Van” Leone, in love with her best friend’s husband (ouch!), finds comfort in a dog “Joe” that she adopts from Slovakia. Best part? She buys the dog over the internet while in a drunken vodka and Kool Aid haze after watching a Rin, Tin, Tin marathon. I highly recommend this novel and can't wait for Larkin's next. Although if it's about a cat, I can't promise I'll have the same reaction :smileyhappy:

 

 

City Dog  by Alison Pace also has a cover that pulls at your heartstrings. Are you seeing a trend here?) What I found incredibly unique about this novel is that it's narrated in part by Carlie, a West Highland White Terrier. It's the story of Amy Dodge, who after her divorce, thought she'd finally write the Great American Novel. Instead, she's the bestselling author of children's book series, Run, Carie Run!, starring none other than Carlie. This book is charming, clever and funny. I can't say enough good things about this novel or Alison's others, including a novel about the joy of pugs, aptly titled Pug Hill.

 

I could go on and on as there are so many fantastic books about dogs. From memoirs to fiction. So stay tuned for more posts on the subject and be on the look out for my review of Free to a Good Home by Eve Marie Mont, the story of Noelle Ryan who works as a veterinary technician at a New England animal shelter, helping pets find homes.

 

What books about dogs do you love?

Comments
by LizFenton on ‎11-01-2010 03:02 PM

I just got Julie Klam's book-can't wait to read it!

by avid_reader1590 on ‎11-01-2010 03:10 PM

My favorite dog books are: All three are wonderful with great canine characters!

1. Lad A Dog by Albert Terhune 

2. Nop’s Trial by by Donald McCraig

3. The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein

by Blogger LisaSteinke on ‎11-01-2010 03:22 PM

avid_reader1590- I need to check those out! Thanks so much!

by Blogger LisaSteinke on ‎11-01-2010 03:22 PM

Liz- it might make you miss Jordan, but you will love it.

by WriterCrys on ‎11-01-2010 06:54 PM

I love this!! Great list and I can't wait to read them all!

by Bewindy on ‎11-02-2010 02:53 PM

Just so happens I have been driving my husband crazy about getting a dog - I've wore him down - now to find just the right one :smileyhappy:  I love all of these book suggestions!  I've read the "Art of Racing in the Rain' and loved it!  I'll give these other suggestions a whirl - thanks!

by Blogger LisaSteinke on ‎11-03-2010 02:01 PM

Bewindy- Thanks so much for commenting. Let me know what kind of dog you decide on.

by lt60 on ‎11-06-2010 10:07 PM

Growing up watching Lassie got me interested in dog stories and Rin Tin Tin as well. But I was a mystery reader as a kid and never got into the dog stories as much as our friend Nancy Drew. But then -  Old Yeller. Need I say more?

 

As a dogless youngerster, I drooled over my friends' dogs, pleaded to have one, but was not allowed. "Wait until you get married."

 

The book that moved me the most was one I read as an adult and that would be, of course, Marley and Me. I was disposed to read it since I had read John Grogan's columns in The Inquirer and I happened to catch the one he wrote about his dog's death. I do not remember ever crying over a newspaper column before (or since) and I was moved to email the writer (another first) that very day.

 

What was so moving? By that time I was no longer a child. Had gotten married and gotten a dog as soon as we had a house (Just as you said to do, mom!). Had two children whom we loved and to whom we passed our love of dogs. Had collies. Lost collies. Decided, after enough heartache, to get a dog as unlike a collie as we could and found a sweet toy (teacup) black poodle whom we named Dizzy. Dizzy lived with us for 16 1/2 years and taught us a lot while she took our hearts.

 

Decided before Dizzy left us to get another dog, another non collie. Got Rocky, a labamutt. All love, not much brains, terrified of linoleum floors his whole life, but brave enough to walk on them every day to get to us.

 

Rocky helped Dizzy stay young. Now he is old and so two years ago we added a toy poodle, a rescue. to our household ( a circle pattern?). Toby brings us love and fun and great affection. Rocky brings his wisdom and patience to the young one.

 

And so the children and the dogs that became part of our family all wrote our history together. And now that the children are own their own, we have Toby to help Rocky and us continue the story.

 

But we were talking about books, right?

 

We read dog stories, dog books, training books, funny books, but Marley captured so much of why we love dogs. Bad Dogs Have More Fun (Grogan); Know Your Dog (Fogle);  Favorite Dog Stories (Herriot); Why We Love Dogs (Levin).

 

My husband so loved Lad, A Dog, that we gave it to him again a couple years ago. He was thrilled.

 

Now one more mention. Dean Koontz is a fabulous author for reasons many people understand (he is not a best seller for nothing, folks!). One thing that intrigued me early on in his first books was that there always seemed to be a dog who was important to the story. This grew to great importance in Fear Nothing and Seize the Night, and in the Odd Thomas series. And then Koontz gave us a great gift in a big little life: a memoir of a joyful dog. Very different than Marley but just as touching, this book helped me understand again why we love dogs so much even though we know we will most likely go through the pain of losing them.

 

What was the question? Oh, a dog and a baby? Are you getting any help? Because if you are and if you get the right dog, your baby will have a loyal and brave protector, companion and friend for as long as that dog lives. We learn from the animals and every pet lover will tell you that the dogs, in their honest affection and open emotions toward us, teach us to be more human.

 

All they lack are the words, my grandfather often said about dogs whose expressions communicated so much. Maybe that is what we need them for - less talking, more affection. One look at Koontz's photo of his Trixie with her big smile makes all the dog hair on your carpet worth it.

 

 

 

 

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