The best heart-melting, life affirming books about the bond between a dog & his human

Why am I passionate about this?

I was asked in my final year at university, to choose between my degree and my dog. I’d kept a little Yorkshire terrier hidden in my Cambridge rooms for two years before he was discovered and he’d been lovely company as I plugged away at my reading there. I'm pretty confident that I'm the only student who has ever kept a dog at Trinity College. Because of the impact Lassie made on me as a child, I’ve always longed for a collie and now have space for one. He’s called Cedric and is as human and sentient as I. The first book I wrote was about a dog with the loyalty of all the dogs in the world, and with the love of all the dogs in the world.


I wrote...

Soldier Dog

By Sam Angus,

Book cover of Soldier Dog

What is my book about?

A heart-stopping, harrowing, story about love and courage, about a boy and the dog that he loves. It’s 1917 when young, lonely Stanley Ryder discovers that his bullying Father has drowned his puppy. Stanley runs away and enlists in the hope of joining up on the western front with his older brother Tom. Recruited into the Messenger Dog Service, Stanley finds himself in the front lines with a dog named Bones at his side, As the fighting escalates, he experiences the horror of war and comes to realise that the loyalty of his dog is the one thing on which he can rely.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Greyfriars Bobby

Sam Angus Why did I love this book?

This made an enormous impression on me. You will not get through it dry-eyed. Whenever I come across any highland terrier on any street anywhere, I remember little Bobby sleeping for fourteen cold long years beside the grave of Auld Jock and I see all the great love that a dog can have for his human. A classic, based on a true story, published first in 1912.

By Eleanor Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Greyfriars Bobby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The moving story of a little dog with a huge heart and of the unbreakable bond between an animal and his owner.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition features an introduction by Mary Paulson-Ellis.

When Auld Jock, a shepherd, loses his job, he moves to Edinburgh in search of work. But the city isn't kind to him and he falls into a life of poverty. Lonely, old and ill, his only…


Book cover of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Sam Angus Why did I love this book?

This has everything you could ask for: originality, wit, humour, bottomless humanity, and a deeply satisfying, uplifting ending. If you love animals, you won’t be able to put it down, you’ll cry and you’ll smile, you’ll feel heartbroken, you’ll feel hopeful and, when you’re done, ever afterward, you’ll remember it.

By Garth Stein,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Art of Racing in the Rain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, this heart-warming and inspirational tale follows Enzo, a loyal family dog, tells the story of his human family, how they nearly fell apart, and what he did to bring them back together.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: he thinks and feels in nearly human ways. He has educated himself by watching extensive television, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo realizes that racing is a metaphor: that by applying the techniques a driver would apply on…


Book cover of The Call of the Wild & White Fang

Sam Angus Why did I love this book?

One story is about a dog and the other is about a wolf, so they’re companion books and mirrors to each other. Both are deeply atmospheric, transporting you to the isolated, raw, cruel wastes of the frozen north, to the world of famine, brutality, and the survival of the fittest. Both stories examine primal instincts: How much dog there is in wolf, how much wolf there is in dog, and how the balance of the primal canine instinct can be tipped by trust in man. Read each one in a day and you’ll never forget them.

By Jack London,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Call of the Wild & White Fang as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Extraordinary both for the vividness of their descriptions and the success with which they imagine life from a non-human perspective, these two classics of children's literature are two of the greatest and most popular animal stories ever written.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library, a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold-foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This beautiful Macmillan Collector's Library edition of The Call of the Wild & White Fang features an afterword by Sam Gilpin.

The Call of the Wild tells the story of…


Book cover of Where the Red Fern Grows

Sam Angus Why did I love this book?

Unlike my other recommendations, this story is about a boy and two dogs, so it is not only about the boy's love for the dogs but about the dogs’ love for each other. It’s also a story about childhood, about freedom and wilderness, about courage and determination and loyalty, about love and heartbreak. It’s a devastating, beautiful tribute to childhood, to adolescence, to family and to love.

By Wilson Rawls,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Where the Red Fern Grows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Read the beloved classic that captures the powerful bond between man and man’s best friend. This edition also includes a special note to readers from Newbery Medal winner and Printz Honor winner Clare Vanderpool.
 
Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own—Old Dan and Little Ann—he’s ecstatic. It doesn’t matter that times are tough; together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks.

Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements…


Book cover of Lassie Come-Home

Sam Angus Why did I love this book?

When I was very young, we had a golden retriever called Nesta. While we were away on holiday one year Nesta was put in kennels. Clearly, she thought that she was there by mistake and that her duty was to find us, so she dug herself out of the kennels, crossed three very busy roads, and somehow, with that extraordinary homing instinct a dog can have, made her way back to our house - a distance of 15 km. When we finally returned, there she was at the door, starving and weak, but happy and supremely confident that she’d done the right thing. If you’ve ever had a dog do that, then Lassie is the story for you. The movie is good but has nothing on the book which should be part of everyone’s growing up: the family’s poverty, the dog’s courage, and loyalty - all this has stayed with me, become part of my marrow and I now, finally, perhaps 40 years after reading Lassie, have a collie of my own.

By Eric Knight, Marguerite Kirmse (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Lassie Come-Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Sold in financial desperation to a wealthy duke living in the far north of Scotland, a collie undertakes a 1000-mile journey in order to be reunited with her former master in Yorkshire.


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We Had Fun and Nobody Died: Adventures of a Milwaukee Music Promoter

By Amy T. Waldman, Peter Jest,

Book cover of We Had Fun and Nobody Died: Adventures of a Milwaukee Music Promoter

Amy T. Waldman

New book alert!

What is my book about?

This irreverent biography provides a rare window into the music industry from a promoter’s perspective. From a young age, Peter Jest was determined to make a career in live music, and despite naysayers and obstacles, he did just that, bringing national acts to his college campus atUW-Milwaukee, booking thousands of concerts across Wisconsin and the Midwest, and opening Shank Hall, the beloved Milwaukee venue named after a club in the cult film This Is Spinal Tap.

Jest established lasting friendships with John Prine, Arlo Guthrie, and others, but ultimately, this book tells a universal story of love and hope – about figuring out where you belong, finding your way there, and living a life that matters.

We Had Fun and Nobody Died: Adventures of a Milwaukee Music Promoter

By Amy T. Waldman, Peter Jest,

What is this book about?

The entertaining and inspiring story of a stubbornly independent promoter and club owner 

This irreverent biography provides a rare window into the music industry from a promoter’s perspective. From a young age, Peter Jest was determined to make a career in live music, and despite naysayers and obstacles, he did just that, bringing national acts to his college campus at UW–Milwaukee, booking thousands of concerts across Wisconsin and the Midwest, and opening Shank Hall, the beloved Milwaukee venue named after a club in the cult film This Is Spinal Tap.

This funny, nostalgia-inducing book details the lasting friendships Jest established…


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Interested in dogs, the Ozarks, and Edinburgh Scotland?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dogs, the Ozarks, and Edinburgh Scotland.

Dogs Explore 401 books about dogs
The Ozarks Explore 18 books about the Ozarks
Edinburgh Scotland Explore 53 books about Edinburgh Scotland