Heartwarming Books for Dog People

Posted by Jolene Barto on


First things first, I am a cat person. They're low-maintenance and fit my introverted lifestyle of, uh, mostly reading on the couch. But that doesn't meant I don't understand the appeal of a good dog. I definitely still squeal and ask to pet dogs when we pass each other on the street. And I definitely love to read (and tear-up while reading) stories about good dogs, like these listed here. Grab your favorite pup while you read any of these beautiful books for dog people, with stories about dogs who helped their humans persevere in tough times. 

by Steven J. Carino

Steven has always depended on his dogs for comfort; he lost his mother when he was 13 and grew up with an alcoholic father. Dogs are the only ones who were constantly there for him. So when one day his dog Oliver was stolen from his car—on Valentine's Day, no less—he was devastated. But then came the miracle of community. In a series of unbelievable coincidences, strangers and friends from all walks of life encountered Steven and Oliver separately across the city and helped bring the two friends back together. Meanwhile, Steven learned he was never truly alone, and none of us are. Steven J. Carino's Oliver is a lovely story about kindness and community, and also a very good dog. Just look at him. 


Thunder Dog
by Michael Hingson

Michael Hingson, blind since birth, was saved by his guide dog Roselle on September 11, 2001. He was at work on the seventy-eighth floor of the World Trade Center's north tower with Roselle sitting at his feet, an air of calm about her as chaos sounded around them. Thunder Dog is the story of how she led him to escape the burning building to safety, beating all the odds. Hingson spent his life until that day hoping for equality in a sighted world, and the rare trust he shared with his guide dog gave him that. Thunder Dog is absolutely the most heart-wrenching and heart-warming of these books for dog people. 

Finding Gobi
by Dion Leonard

Dion Leonard crossed paths with a stray dog while on one of his regular ultramarathon races through the Gobi Desert in China. The sweet little pup stayed by his side for 77 miles, through mountains and sand dunes. While usually a race to him meant winning, he now cared more about Gobi, the dog who changed his perspective on the world. When Gobi goes missing, Dion searches high and low for his new four-legged friend who changed his world. Finding Gobi is Dion Leonard's tale of friendship, inspiration, and community. 


The Dogs that Made Australia
by Guy Hull

When you think of the founding of a nation, you probably don't expect dogs to factor in to the story. But Guy Hull makes dogs the focus in The Dogs that Made Australia, chronicling the perks of every breed of dog and dingo in Australia and how they led humans to success and survival. Hounds saved colonies from famine, terriers protected the homestead, police dogs kept the peace, and so many more four-legged heroes abound in this history. This meticulous history of dogs in Australia is a must-read book for dog people. 

Will's Red Coat
by Tom Ryan

When Will, a scared, deaf, and mostly blind elderly dog was brought to a shelter after his owners grew too frail to care for him, Tom Ryan saved him. Will was a grumpy old man and Tom expected to give him a place to die with dignity, rather than at the kill shelter. But Will isn't just a placid old pup; he acts out and bites Tom a few times, and Tom realizes he can change this dog's life. After endless patience in nurturing him, Tom sees Will come to life as a new, happy pup. They have two and a half years together, and Will's Red Coat is a tribute to the promise we all hold, no matter our age or temperament. 


Ashley Holstrom is a book person, designing them and writing about them for Book Riot. She lives near Chicago with her cat named after Hemingway and her bookshelves organized by color.


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