100 books like Dog Years

By Mark Doty,

Here are 100 books that Dog Years fans have personally recommended if you like Dog Years. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Stepdog: A Memoir

Michael Konik Author Of Ella in Europe: An American Dog's International Adventures

From my list on inspiring dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

Michael Konik is the author of 13 books of fiction, poetry, and journalism, including Ella in Europe: An American Dog's International Adventure, an LA Times best-seller and the inspiration for the Animal Planet series Ella & Me. Surrounded by dogs since toddler age, Konik is currently the owner of Benji, a Golden Doodle, and Billie, a magnificent mutt.

Michael's book list on inspiring dogs

Michael Konik Why did Michael love this book?

Eddie, the four-legged title character, seems determined to destroy his owner's relationship with a new love. But every dog, even the naughtiest, worst-behaved has the magical canine ability to mend broken hearts. This memoir is a kind of romantic comedy between an unwanted “intruder” and Eddie the Protector, who learns to trust and make nice.

By Mireya Navarro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stepdog is the hilarious and heartwarming tale of a woman who has finally met the man of her dreams—and the dog of her nightmares. 

Winner of the June 2015 Elle Readers Prize

Lots of dogs eat shoes, bite people, destroy furniture . . . but Eddie tried to destroy a marriage.

After more than three decades of happy single womanhood, Mia Navarro wasn’t really looking to change her relationship status. The idea of being a step-anything to anyone was foreign to her, something she never thought about. . . . Until she fell in love with Jim and agreed to…


Book cover of The Incredible Journey

Jennifer Marshall Bleakley Author Of Pawverbs For Kids

From my list on a pawsitive impact years after reading them.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a painfully shy child, I found friendship, adventure, and ultimately my own voice reading about—and spending time with—animals. Animals felt safer to talk to than people. They didn’t judge, didn’t expect anything from me, and I never had to worry about what to say. They gave me the gift of their presence and time to practice communication—gifts that ultimately led me to obtain a master’s degree in counseling and work as a children’s grief counselor. I’m happy to report that I overcame my extreme shyness. But there's no denying the role that animals have played in my life. By sharing this list I hope to help other kids find that same comfort and inspiration.

Jennifer's book list on a pawsitive impact years after reading them

Jennifer Marshall Bleakley Why did Jennifer love this book?

The Incredible Journey is the first book I remember staying up past bedtime—with my Strawberry Shortcake flashlight—to read.

It is a timeless story of adventure that highlights the bond between three animals as they struggle to find their way home. A Siamese cat, an old dog, and an energetic retriever have to work together to overcome obstacles and survive dire and dangerous situations.

The Incredible Journey is a wonderful book to help children develop an appreciation for animals, sweep them into an adventure, and help them understand themselves a little better along the way.

By Sheila Burnford,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Incredible Journey 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?

Fans of Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Shiloh will love this timeless classic about two dogs and a cat that embark on a journey to return to their owner and inspired the movie Homeward Bound.
 
   An inquisitive Labrador retriever, friendly bull terrier, and courageous Siamese cat set out through the Canadian wilderness to find their owner in this truly “incredible” adventure.
    Instinct tells them that the way home lies to the west and together the three house pets face hunger, the natural elements, and wild forest animals as they make their way home to the family they…


Book cover of The Call of the Wild

Ken Wells Author Of Swamped!

From my list on coming of age survival and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, all I wanted to read were books about adventure. I also had an adventurous childhood, growing up in the Louisiana swamps with a father who actually hunted alligators and took me with him. As I came of age, I longed to tell stories, and, as they say, it’s best to write about what you know. To date, I’ve penned six novels, all set in the exotic wetlands of Cajun, Louisiana. I feel missionary about this—that my writing gifts allow me to decode my homeplace in a way that makes it easier for outsiders to see the singular niche it occupies on the American landscape. 

Ken's book list on coming of age survival and adventure

Ken Wells Why did Ken love this book?

I love this book for its fabulous sense of place, nonstop action, and realistic depiction of the rough-and-tumble Yukon during the 1890s Gold Rush.

The protagonist may be a dog but Buck, the good-heard Saint Bernard we meet as affable and innocent puppy, is I truly believe one of the most unforgettable characters in the history of adventure novels. His transition to a feral state is utterly believable as the book unfolds the darkness that lies at the heart of all too many men and the often violent chain of events that causes Buck to seek a new life.

I have read this book three times, and each time, it continues to amaze me. 

By Jack London,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Call of the Wild 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?

Puffin Classics bring together the best-loved stories to a new generation.

In The Call of the Wild life is good for Buck in Santa Clara Valley, where he spends his days eating and sleeping in the golden sunshine. But one day a treacherous act of betrayal leads to his kidnap, and he is forced into a life of toil and danger. Dragged away to be a sledge dog in the harsh and freezing cold Yukon, Buck must fight for his survivial. Can he rise above his enemies and become the master of his realm once again?

Jack London (1876-1916) was…


Book cover of The Dogs of Bedlam Farm: An Adventure with Sixteen Sheep, Three Dogs, Two Donkeys, and Me

Michael Konik Author Of Ella in Europe: An American Dog's International Adventures

From my list on inspiring dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

Michael Konik is the author of 13 books of fiction, poetry, and journalism, including Ella in Europe: An American Dog's International Adventure, an LA Times best-seller and the inspiration for the Animal Planet series Ella & Me. Surrounded by dogs since toddler age, Konik is currently the owner of Benji, a Golden Doodle, and Billie, a magnificent mutt.

Michael's book list on inspiring dogs

Michael Konik Why did Michael love this book?

Enlightening and touching, whimsical and wise, this story of one man's transition to country living is populated by a menagerie of farm animals and a challenging border collie named Orson. It's said that there are no bad dogs, only bad dog trainers. This books reminds us that the dogs who share our lives serve as mirrors, reflecting our best and worst qualities, gently teaching us we can be better humans if we're willing to be more like dogs.

By Jon Katz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dogs of Bedlam Farm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Dogs are blameless, devoid of calculation, neither blessed nor cursed with human motives. They can’t really be held responsible for what they do. But we can.”
–from The Dogs of Bedlam Farm

When Jon Katz adopted a border collie named Orson, his whole world changed. Gone were the two yellow Labs he wrote about in A Dog Year, as was the mountaintop cabin they loved. Katz moved into an old farmhouse on forty-two acres of pasture and woods with a menagerie: a ram named Nesbitt, fifteen ewes, a lonely donkey named Carol, a baby donkey named Fanny, and three border…


Book cover of Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me from Myself

Meredith May Author Of Loving Edie: How a Dog Afraid of Everything Taught Me to Be Brave

From my list on dogs who make us better humans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent the last 21 years in the company of a golden retriever, all through my career as a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer – and ever since I left the paper in 2015 to write memoirs. I wrote a memoir for an Iranian child soldier, a memoir about my childhood beekeeping with my grandfather in Big Sur, and it was only a matter of time before I turned to my dog for inspiration. After two perfectly happy golden retrievers, Edie’s extreme anxiety baffled me: I hired trainers, behaviorists, specialist veterinarians, read everything I could on the canine brain, tried CBD oil, and even a pet psychic to understand her emotions.  

Meredith's book list on dogs who make us better humans

Meredith May Why did Meredith love this book?

Put a golden retriever on a book cover and I’m sold. From the opening scene, when Julie has a panic attack in her New York kitchen, I was pulled into this heart-cracking memoir about a young woman haunted by unresolved childhood trauma. She tries all the usual methods to combat depression, from therapy to Zoloft, yet the magic pill is found in the love of a golden retriever named Bunker. Having something else to take care of helped Julie get outside her own head. I felt a kinship with Julie; that sometimes the way a dog looks at you with such love in their eyes is the only thing that can make up for the ways we weren’t seen as kids.

By Julie Barton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An honest and deeply moving debut memoir about a young woman's battle with depression and how her dog saved her life

A New York Times Bestseller

"Dog Medicine simply has to be your next must-read." -Cheryl Strayed

At twenty-two, Julie Barton collapsed on her kitchen floor in Manhattan. She was one year out of college and severely depressed. Summoned by Julie's incoherent phone call, her mother raced from Ohio to New York and took her home.

Haunted by troubling childhood memories, Julie continued to sink into suicidal depression. Psychiatrists, therapists, and family tried to intervene, but nothing reached her until…


Book cover of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul

Samuel Sanders Author Of Your Next Big Idea: Improve Your Creativity and Problem-Solving

From my list on reshaping your perspective through nonfiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

The whole concept of Your Next Big Idea is to change your perspective on how people come up with ideas. It is easy to count yourself out as not creative, but creativity and the ability to generate ideas are something that can be taught. You just need to refresh your perspective on how to look at the topic. These books do the same things for other categories in nonfiction, rethinking kindness, working, play, and changing people’s minds. These are skills that anyone can apply to any field of work (like with Your Next Big Idea) and can change how we act for the better!

Samuel's book list on reshaping your perspective through nonfiction

Samuel Sanders Why did Samuel love this book?

This is a light read around the most recent research around play. It is so easy to drown in work as adults, but it is critical to make time to play! This book is a reminder of all the benefits we get by being free and playing. It is a fun, interesting read with great anecdotal stories.


By Stuart Brown, Christopher Vaughan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Play as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From a leading expert, a groundbreaking book on the science of play, and its essential role in fueling our happiness and intelligence throughout our lives

We've all seen the happiness on the face of a child while playing in the school yard. Or the blissful abandon of a golden retriever racing across a lawn. This is the joy of play. By definition, play is purposeless, all-consuming, and fun. But as Dr. Stuart Brown illustrates, play is anything but trivial. It is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep or nutrition. We are designed by nature to flourish…


Book cover of Devoted

Heather Gudenkauf Author Of Not a Sound

From my list on thrillers and mysteries about dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

Some of my fondest memories have been of curling up with the family dog and reading a good book. This started as a child with our golden retriever OJ, and continues today with Lolo, our sweet but spoiled German shorthaired pointer. Dogs are such wonderful companions, always up for anything: hiking, exploring, car rides, sitting on the couch, and lounging. It’s no surprise, then, that not only do I love reading books featuring dogs I’ve also included a canine sidekick in each of the nine thrillers that I’ve written. I hope you enjoy this dogged list of mysteries and thrillers as much as I have. 

Heather's book list on thrillers and mysteries about dogs

Heather Gudenkauf Why did Heather love this book?

My first experience with a Dean Koontz book was Intensity and wow, did that thriller live up to its title. The same goes for Koontz’s, suspense-packed Devoted – the perfect descriptor for Kipp, a loyal golden retriever who has that magical innate ability dogs seem to have of communicating wordlessly with their humans. At the beginning of the book, we meet Woody, an eleven-year-old non-verbal child with autism who is confident that his father’s untimely death was no accident, but an evil entity that is now after him and his mother. While Woody’s terror grows, Kipp begins his tireless search for Woody, knowing that he could be the only one who can deliver the boy to safety. 

Told with Koontz’s signature page-turning suspense, Devoted is a heart-tugging, immersive thrill-ride, best experienced with your canine best friend snuggled up right next to you. 

By Dean Koontz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One boy with the power to save the world. One man with the will to destroy it.

The chilling, unputdownable new standalone thriller from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense.

'The master of our darkest dreams' The Times

A mother, a boy, and a desperate battle against the night.

Woody Bookman hasn't spoken a word in his eleven years of life. Not when his father died in a freak accident. Not when his mother Megan tells him she loves him.

For Megan, keeping her boy safe and happy is what matters. But Woody believes a monstrous evil is behind his…


Book cover of Cormac: The Tale of a Dog Gone Missing

Kat Albrecht Author Of Pet Tracker: The Amazing Story of Rachel the K-9 Pet Detective

From my list on lost dog recovery.

Why am I passionate about this?

Kat Albrecht-Thiessen is a police detective-turned-pet detective and is the founder / director of the Missing Animal Response Network (MARN). Since 1997, Kat has worked search dogs trained to find lost pets. She is widely known as the leading authority on lost pet recovery training. Kat is a regular speaker at animal welfare conferences. She and her search dogs have appeared on Animal Planet and articles about her work have appeared in People, Reader’s Digest, Parade and many other publications. In 2005, Kat launched the first-ever pet detective academy and since that time has trained over 800 volunteer and professional pet detectives from across the world.

Kat's book list on lost dog recovery

Kat Albrecht Why did Kat love this book?

This is a well-written story about a dog named Cormac, a Golden Retriever, who went missing from his home due to fireworks and the extensive search his guardian made in his attempts to recover his best friend. The owner following leads that came in and how he recovered his dog are an amazing read.

By Sonny Brewer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cormac -- a dark-red Golden Retriever who has always been afraid of thunderstorms and lightning flashes -- runs away one stormy night while his master is away. So begins a strange adventure that lands Cormac in the back of a red pick-up truck driven by a mysterious woman, takes him to a series of dog pounds and rescue shelters, and ultimately brings him to the suburbs of Connecticut. Meanwhile, his owner, devastated and trying to juggle his family and his new novel, becomes determined to solve the "dog-napping" case, watching his small-town community come together in search of his lost…


Book cover of Watchers

Peggy Webb Author Of Black Crow Cabin

From my list on books about crime that transcend the genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a small farm in Mississippi and discovered the wide world through a movable feast of books provided by the Bookmobile. The hayloft was my favorite reading spot. I could look across the lake to imagine myself in WWII Paris, the frozen tundras of Alaska, or anywhere beyond the pastures where Daddy’s cattle grazed. I fell in love with words when I was eight years old, a dreamer spinning stories inspired by the ones I read between the covers of my beloved books. I still love words and hear their music as they flow onto the pages of the thrillers I currently write.

Peggy's book list on books about crime that transcend the genre

Peggy Webb Why did Peggy love this book?

I confess: I love the book because of the dog, Einstein. But I also love it because Koontz shines a spotlight on the downside and potential harm of technology and spins a classic tale of good versus evil.

I have never forgotten this book, and I read it on publication in 1987. The story is fascinating and different. But it stayed with me because of the quality of the writing and the unexpected use of magical realism. A dog who understands language? Wonderful. And he was a major character, another surprising bonus for me.

I’m a fan of Dean Koontz because his suspense novels always deliver a great story and always rise above the genre. 

By Dean Koontz,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Watchers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The No.1 bestselling classic from Dean Koontz, the master of chilling suspense, that will thrill fans of Stephen King and the Odd Thomas series.

They escape from a secret government project: two mutant creatures, both changed utterly from the animals they once were. And no one who encounters them will ever be the same again.

A lonely widower, a ruthless assassin, a beautiful woman, a government agent.

Drawn together in a deadly hunt, all four are inexorably propelled towards a confrontation with an evil beyond human imagining.


Book cover of A Matter of Breeding: A Biting History of Pedigree Dogs and How the Quest for Status Has Harmed Man's Best Friend

Michael Worboys Author Of Doggy People: The Victorians Who Made the Modern Dog

From my list on the history of modern dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of biology and biomedicine who has always been an outsider. Most of my colleagues have worked on ‘Darwin to DNA’ – evolution, physiology, genetics, and molecular biology. My interests have been in applied biology – parasites, insects, fungi, bacteria, biomedicine, animal diseases, and latterly dogs. It was a book on rabies, that I wrote with Neil Pemberton, that got me into dogs. In our research and writing we explored the wider social history of dog ownership and then, encouraged by the new interest in Animal History, researched how, and by whom, dogs’ bodies and behaviour had been shaped and reshaped, beginning in the Victorian period. 

Michael's book list on the history of modern dogs

Michael Worboys Why did Michael love this book?

Michael Brandow has an agenda. He wants to change radically how pedigree dogs are bred and valued.

He argues that the preference for standardized fancy forms and coiffured coats should be replaced with a priority for dogs’ health and well-being. Dogs should be valued as companions, not commodities.

Brandow develops his argument historically, starting with the Victorian invention of multiple breeds and the very idea of Dogdom as composed of discrete, standardized, physically uniform breeds.

Not everyone will agree with Brandow, but his strength of feeling and the thoroughness of research makes for an engaging, often witty, and thought-provoking read. The narrative combines social and animal history, psychology and ethics, and stories, most entertaining but some shocking.

By Michael Brandow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Matter of Breeding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A provocative look at the ‘cult of pedigree’ and an entertaining social history of purebred dogs—“a must-read for all dog lovers” (Booklist).
 
So-called “purebreds” are the mainstay of the dog industry. Expert Michael Brandow argues these aren’t time-honored traditions—but rather commercial inventions of the 19th century that were marketed as status symbols to a growing middle class.
 
Combining social history and consumer studies with sharp commentary, this reveals the sordid history of the dog industry and shows how our brand-name pets pay the price with devastatingly poor health. It includes chapters devoted to popular breeds such as:
 
• Golden Retrievers…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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