The best picture books about rescued dogs

Nancy Furstinger Author Of The Duchess and Guy: A Rescue-To-Royalty Puppy Love Story
By Nancy Furstinger

The Books I Picked & Why

Buddy Unchained

By Daisy Bix, Joe Hyatt

Book cover of Buddy Unchained

Why this book?

If you have a passion for compassion, this book about a chained dog who is rescued from neglect will make you want to unchain all the Buddys in the world. The illustrations vibrate with this lovable mixed-breed’s emotions—ranging from despair to joy. From his happy new furever home, Buddy narrates his story, which will have an emotional resonance with even the youngest audiences. As Buddy says: “I have my real home. Now I have everything.” No matter how many times I read this book, the ending still tugs at my heartstrings.

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A Day, a Dog

By Gabrielle Vincent

Book cover of A Day, a Dog

Why this book?

A book begs you to sit up and take notice when Maurice Sendak writes this cover blurb: “Astonishing drawings!...An entirely unique work of art.” This wordless picture book with remarkable charcoal sketches shows the heartwrenching abandonment of a dog and shocking aftermath. Does the open-ended finale offer a flicker of hope for our canine hero? You decide. No dialogue needed, but this book is sure to spur conversations with young animal lovers (keep tissues handy).

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Black Dog

By Levi Pinfold

Book cover of Black Dog

Why this book?

A quirky story about a ginormous canine and a fearless young heroine? Yes, please! And bonus points for starring a big black dog—the kind that blends into the shadows at humane societies and is, therefore, least likely to get adopted (and the kind that I always adopt). Tempera paintings of an eccentric family in their Gothic house juxtaposed with tiny sepia vignettes will spur kids to explore every inch. They’ll cheer as the dog shrinks down from the magnitude of a T-Rex to an adoptable size.

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Orville: A Dog Story

By Haven Kimmel, Robert Andrew Parker

Book cover of Orville: A Dog Story

Why this book?

In a story as mournful as a country song, a homeless big black dog resolves to lie down and never get up again. But he does find happiness, although it takes several tries. Themes of disappointment, loneliness, sorrow, yearning, and love are interwoven in the poetic text. As a bonus, Orville gleans people’s dearest wishes just by sniffing them. Watercolor and ink illustrations illuminate this poignant and powerful bond between a dog and his person.

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Stormy: A Story about Finding a Forever Home

By Guojing

Book cover of Stormy: A Story about Finding a Forever Home

Why this book?

The suspense builds in this wordless book that conveys a heartwarming story about friendship. Gorgeous golden-hued illustrations form a connection between a scruffy dog who lives under a park bench and a woman devoted to earning his affection. In the nail-biting climax, a crackling storm rages until love and trust collide. But will the new pup feel secure enough to hop into the woman’s bed? Share this touching tale with young dog lovers and let them tell you how this powerful story ends!

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