The most recommended pet adoption books

Who picked these books? Meet our 10 experts.

10 authors created a book list connected to pet adoption, and here are their favorite pet adoption books.
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Book cover of Rescue Dogs: Where They Come From, Why They Act the Way They Do, and How to Love Them Well

Cara Sue Achterberg Author Of One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues

From my list on if you love rescue dogs.

Who am I?

Long ago (or so it seems), I was a novelist and a normal dog person with one good dog who played a great game of fetch and ran with me. But then I discovered the other dogs—the ones still waiting in shelters. And the ones who never make it out of shelters. Now my life and writing revolve around these dogs. I’ve fostered 200 animals, traveled to nearly eighty shelters in eleven states, and co-founded the nonprofit, Who Will Let the Dogs Out, whose mission is to raise awareness and resources for homeless dogs and the heroes who fight for them. Now I still write, but I write to save lives.

Cara's book list on if you love rescue dogs

Cara Sue Achterberg Why did Cara love this book?

Rescue Dogs is one part true crime, one part instructions on bringing home a rescue dog, and one part get-your-butt-off-the-couch-and-help. While the book focused on purebred dogs from puppy mills and commercial breeders, many of the same issues arise when you bring home any shelter pet. It wasn't always easy to listen to the stories of animal abuse that occur all too often in purebred breeding operations, but Pete’s devotion and his ability to put the big-picture before his emotions were admirable. If we intend to move the needle on stopping the killing of adoptable dogs in this country, we need more of that attitude.

What I loved most about this book, though, was Pete's attitude toward the individual animal. He urges the reader to look beyond breed to the dog as an individual. To love the dog not because of the way he looks or his pedigree, which he…

By Pete Paxton, Gene Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fascinating look at rescue dogs--where they come from, why every dog lover should consider adopting one, and how to make them part of your family.

America's leading undercover animal investigator, Pete Paxton, has, among other exploits, infiltrated more than seven hundred puppy mills, worked undercover to close one of the largest and most infamous puppy mills in the United States, and shuttered the most notorious trafficker of dogs for experimentation in history. In this book, he shares stories of the amazing dogs he has rescued and brought to loving families, and also offers invaluable guidance and wisdom for anyone…


Book cover of I Want a Dog

Erin McGill Author Of If You Want a Friend in Washington: Wacky, Wild & Wonderful Presidential Pets

From my list on pet books for kids who want pets.

Who am I?

As a child, I desperately wanted a pet. Even if it maybe wasn’t a “real pet” like a rock or an egg. I used my imagination for pet possibilities. When I was researching If You Want A Friend In Washington I was constantly in awe of the strange and unusual pets of the White House. I wanted this list of pet books to be as diverse and unusual as the Presidential Pets. Maybe a Glacier is the perfect pet for you?

Erin's book list on pet books for kids who want pets

Erin McGill Why did Erin love this book?

So maybe you want a dog, but have you considered other pets? The main character visits an animal shelter in search of a dog, but a persistent shelter manager urges her to consider other options. Join her in this humorous search for the perfect pet. What will it be? It may open reader's eyes to endless unexpected pet possibilities.

By Jon Agee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Want a Dog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

A girl seeks her perfect pet at a wonderfully unusual animal shelter in this comical read-aloud by the award-winning creator of Life on Mars

The Copley County Animal Shelter has an aardvark, a lizard, a goose, a weasel, and plenty more. But do they have a puppy? The girl with her wagon is ready to adopt a dog--not an aardvark, lizard, or goose! Can the shelter manager help her to find her perfect pet?


Book cover of Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs

Teresa J. Rhyne Author Of Poppy in the Wild: A Lost Dog, Fifteen Hundred Acres of Wilderness, and the Dogged Determination that Brought Her Home

From my list on rescue dogs.

Who am I?

I’ve been passionate about dogs and rescue dogs in particular since I got my first little rescue pup for Christmas when I was six years old. Tippy, a perfect blend of poodle and cocker spaniel, lived until my second year of law school. I’ve volunteered with several rescue organizations, transported dogs, fostered dogs, adopted dogs, and, oh, I also wrote three books about rescue dogs. Dogs are my passion, and books are a very close second, so naturally, dog books are kind of my thing. I hope you love these books as much as I do.

Teresa's book list on rescue dogs

Teresa J. Rhyne Why did Teresa love this book?

Fostering dogs is an important part of dog rescue, and Achterberg perfectly captures the joy and heartbreak of fostering. Her devotion to dogs became her family’s shared passion, which beautifully demonstrates how when we rescue dogs, they rescue us in return.

I love how the author unabashedly allowed the reader in to see not just the fluffy puppies and cuteness, but the hard work, the mistakes, the difficulties, and ultimately the “how and why” of the important work of fostering. Fostering saves lives, and Another Good Dog is a brilliant testimony to this fact.

By Cara Sue Achterberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Cara felt her teenaged children slipping away and saw an empty nest on the horizon, she decided the best way to fill that void was with dogs-lots of them-and so her foster journey began.

In 2015, her Pennsylvania farm became a haven for Operation Paws for Homes. There were the nine puppies at once, which arrived with less than a day's notice; a heart- worm positive dog; a deeply traumatized stray pup from Iraq; and countless others who just needed a gentle touch and a warm place to sleep. Operation Paws for Homes rescues dogs from high-kill shelters in…


Book cover of Rescuing Penny Jane: One Shelter Volunteer, Countless Dogs, and the Quest to Find Them All Homes

Cara Sue Achterberg Author Of One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues

From my list on if you love rescue dogs.

Who am I?

Long ago (or so it seems), I was a novelist and a normal dog person with one good dog who played a great game of fetch and ran with me. But then I discovered the other dogs—the ones still waiting in shelters. And the ones who never make it out of shelters. Now my life and writing revolve around these dogs. I’ve fostered 200 animals, traveled to nearly eighty shelters in eleven states, and co-founded the nonprofit, Who Will Let the Dogs Out, whose mission is to raise awareness and resources for homeless dogs and the heroes who fight for them. Now I still write, but I write to save lives.

Cara's book list on if you love rescue dogs

Cara Sue Achterberg Why did Cara love this book?

This beautiful book not only touched my heart, but it challenged me to re-think my perspective on dog rescue. Sutherland made me want to do more and while she occasionally broke my heart, she also gave me great hope that we can solve this very solvable problem. As a person involved in dog rescue, from the foster and rescue side, it was eye-opening to get a shelter volunteer's perspective, but Sutherland's journalistic chops added authority and clear thinking to the situation. Her obvious research, combined with her personal experience, made for a powerful read. I was inspired to read about what innovative shelters across the country are doing to tackle the problem of too many dogs being overlooked in shelters. Sutherland's personal stories of the dogs she encountered were heartbreaking and beautiful. She is a smart, realistic, dog-hearted person who asks a lot of good questions and challenges the reader…

By Amy Sutherland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The animal rescue culture is one of the most fascinating sub-cultures in American life, and Amy Sutherland explores it with honesty, humor, and great insight. This is not another sappy book about saving animals, but a valuable journey into the best spirit of this extraordinary new movement." - Jon Katz, author of TALKING TO ANIMALS

Terrified Penny Jane, brassy but filthy Dixie Lou, tough-guy Dingo and the crazed, nippy jester, Walter Joe. These are not your average cute-and-cared-for, well-trained pups, these are shelter dogs - they are scared, aggressive, so painfully shy that they can't look you in the eye,…


Book cover of Can I Be Your Dog?

Nicole Audet Author Of The Magic of Empathy: Theory and Practice

From Nicole's 6-year-old's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Family doctor Author Public speaker Passionate Perseverance

Nicole's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Nicole's 6, 8, and 14-year-old's favorite books.

Nicole Audet Why did Nicole's 6-year-old love this book?

The author gives his pen to a dog looking for a master. Without success, he writes to everyone on his street, offering his services.

The ending is as surprising and refreshing as all the pages of this book. Author, illustrator, and page designer created a fabulous picture book.

Children will love reading and rereading this gentle, emotional book. This book is sitting on my coffee table. My friends all smile as they read this book, which will touch the hearts of readers of all ages.

By Troy Cummings,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Can I Be Your Dog? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller featured on THE TODAY SHOW!

A heart-tugging dog adoption story told through letters--deeply sincere and almost desperate pleas for a forever home--from the dog, himself!

This picture book shares the tale of Arfy, a homeless mutt who lives in a box in an alley. Arfy writes to every person on Butternut Street about what a great pet he'd make. His letters to prospective owners share that he's house broken! He has his own squeaky bone! He can learn to live with cats! But, no one wants him. Won't anyone open their heart--and home--to a lonesome…


Book cover of For the Love of Cats: The Complete Guide to Selecting, Training, and Caring for Your Rescue Cat

Belinda Alexandra Author Of The Divine Feline: A Chic Cat Lady's Guide to Woman's Best Friend

From my list on for cat lovers.

Who am I?

Belinda Alexandra is the author of nine bestselling novels and a non-fiction book on the relationship between women and cats, The Divine Feline: A chic cat lady’s guide to woman’s best friend. An ardent cat-lover and rescuer, she is a patron of the World League for the Protection of Animals in Australia and lives in Sydney with her three black cats – Valentino, Versace, and Gucci.

Belinda's book list on for cat lovers

Belinda Alexandra Why did Belinda love this book?

With millions of cats around the world living on the streets or ending up being euthanized in pounds and shelters, simply because they are unwanted, the plight of the rescue cat has come to public attention. Many more people are choosing to ‘Adopt not shop’ and save lives in the process. This is a wonderful book for anyone starting out on the cat adoption journey. It covers everything you need to know about bringing a cat companion into your home and taking responsible care of it. It also includes lots of lovely rescue cat stories. I would give this as a gift to anyone considering adopting a cat and it would also make a great coffee table book for vet surgery waiting areas.

By Tom Colvin, Carol Griglione, Mick McAulife

Why should I read it?

1 author picked For the Love of Cats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The perfect read before you bring your rescue pet home, For the Love of Cats is a witty and informative book on all things feline-related. Featuring over 250 stunning pictures of cute cats, this resource illustrates the many facets of their personality, provides tips on training, and explains the best ways to care for a rescue cat. Know how to give them the life they've always wanted as you flip through the pages of this books that's as adorable as it is enlightening!


Book cover of A Dog Named Christmas

Bernice L. Rocque Author Of Until the Robin Walks on Snow

From my list on that touch our heart at Christmas.

Who am I?

I am someone who loves Christmas. My family’s Christmas Eve gatherings and a 5th-grade assignment inspired me to learn more about my heritage. This quest has outlived my eclectic career in libraries, teaching, and project management. In my fifties, I suddenly realized that who we are as people is forgotten within 100 years of our death. So, I started writing to preserve the ‘essence’ of those who came before me. A character from Until the Robin Walks on Snow tapped my shoulder to tell this survival story—one which embodies the love, traditions, and miracles of the holiday season. The recommended books lift hearts, too.

Bernice's book list on that touch our heart at Christmas

Bernice L. Rocque Why did Bernice love this book?

According to Nielson ratings, 18.7 million households viewed the 2009 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie debut of A Dog Named Christmas. It outperformed the NFL game and 60 Minutes broadcasts that Sunday evening. I was one of the movie’s ‘captives.’

The short novel equally touched my heart. I admire how the author eased in the backstories of the dog, father, mother, and son—all so crucial in the story path. Todd, an animal lover and developmentally challenged young man wants his family to participate in a program to foster a shelter dog over the holidays. Can you guess the inherent conflict? The mother’s quiet strength and influence reminded me of Mrs. Brown in the movie, National Velvet.

By Greg Kincaid,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Todd, a developmentally challenged young man still living on his parents' Kansas farm, hears that a local animal shelter is seeking temporary homes for its dogs during the holiday week, he knows exactly what he wants for Christmas.

Animals are Todd's first love, and his persistence quickly overwhelms his father's objections to befriending a canine, a reluctance that proves to have a painful origin.

The family takes in a very special animal, and the shelter's Christmas adoption programme soon grows larger than anyone had hoped. By the story's end, Todd, with the help of a dog named Christmas, has…


Book cover of Who Wants Broccoli?

Lisa Papp Author Of Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

From my list on celebrating what animals can teach us.

Who am I?

Animals have always been some of my very best friends. I believe in guardian angels, and I believe animals come to us when we need them most. As children, animals help us to believe in ourselves, they soothe the hurts that come from being misunderstood. When we forget, animals carry a knowing beyond words, with every purr, and chirp, and bark, and nuzzle, they remind us that we are loved. I hope you enjoy these books that celebrate the love of animals and the many ways they help us heal.

Lisa's book list on celebrating what animals can teach us

Lisa Papp Why did Lisa love this book?

I adore this book about a rambunctious, but lovable, dog named Broccolli who lives at an animal shelter, awaiting his perfect home. Beautifully illustrated, and written with a good dose of humor, readers will love following Broccolli’s antics as he shows off his many clever (but loud) skills. How will he ever find a home? Broccolli shows us there is a perfect match for every one of us. And that we don’t need to be perfect to be perfectly loved.

By Val Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who Wants Broccoli? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Broccoli is a lovable but rambunctious dog who wants to find a home in this fetchingly fun picture book! Broccoli lives at Beezley’s Animal Shelter and loves to show off his bowl-tossing and tail-chasing skills—and especially his great big BARK!  He dreams of playing in a yard with a boy. But when a boy named Oscar comes looking for his perfect pet, Broccoli is hidden away. Will Broccoli find his perfect home?


Book cover of Trouper

Cheryl Lawton Malone Author Of Dario and the Whale

From my list on children’s books about kindness and friendship.

Who am I?

Fairy tales were my first love but I didn’t discover the true magic of children’s picture books until I left my 25-year career as an attorney to enter an MFA program. Wow, was I amazed. Picture books—books in which pictures tell an integral part of the story—not only create an instant connection between reader and little listener but stay with us into adulthood as memories. With this insight, I dove into the genre to discover what distinguishes picture books that are read and reread from those that fade. The answer turns out to be—tales that engender awe and wonder, yarns with heart, and narratives about friendship and kindness. Those are the stories that stay with us forever.

Cheryl's book list on children’s books about kindness and friendship

Cheryl Lawton Malone Why did Cheryl love this book?

Author Meg Kearney and Caldecott Honor Book artist E.B. Lewis join together to create the enchanting story of a three-legged street mutt who longs to find his forever home. After his canine mob is napped by animal control, Trouper watches each of his pals get adopted. Alone in his crate, he wonders if anyone will ever want him. Of course—with perfect pacing—the right boy comes along at the right time and oh my goodness, do we cheer. In a charming approachTrouper is told from the dog’s POV. This book oozes with heart and humor and is a sure re-read for anyone who loves an underdog.

By Meg Kearney, E.B. Lewis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A moving story of a three-legged stray dog who finds a loving boy to call his own--illustrated by Caldecott Honor Book artist E.B. Lewis. Based on a true story.

Trouper ran with a mob of mutts who tripped over trash cans and pawed the cold streets for bones. They howled and cried and wished for a home. Until one day, the dogs are captured from off the streets and put in cages in a shelter as they wait to be adopted. Trouper watches sadly as, one by one, each of his dog friends are chosen. He's the only one left…


Book cover of My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts

Wendy Wahman Author Of Don't Lick the Dog: Making Friends with Dogs

From my list on dog books to tug on your heartstrings.

Who am I?

I’m passionate about animals. When I was starting out in my 20s, I worked as a vet tech and a dog trainer and fully intended to make a career in animals. But along the way my other love, art, joined the dance. It’s only natural I’ve found ways to combine my two loves, like, illustrating a veterinarian's advice column for Family Dog magazine, and writing, Don’t Lick the Dog, and Nanny Paws, both inspired by my own beloved dogs.

Wendy's book list on dog books to tug on your heartstrings

Wendy Wahman Why did Wendy love this book?

Adopters of elderly animals are everyday saints. In, My Old Dog, we get to meet some dog saints (including George Clooney), and the sweet oldsters they’ve opened their hearts and homes to. This is a tenderly written book — and I’m not surprised: Laura Coffey has one of the biggest, most generous hearts I’ve ever known. Lori’s photos will make you weep, smile, and go, “Aw.” There’s a poignant foreword by Neko Case, and in the chapter, How You Can Help, wonderful advice from Dr. Marty Becker, and trainer and behaviorist, Mikkel Becker.

Now, go snuggle with your old dog.

By Laura T. Coffey, Lori Fusaro (photographer),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

National Bestseller

“No Dog Should Die Alone" was the attention-grabbing — and heart-stirring — headline of journalist Laura T. Coffey’s TODAY show website story about photographer Lori Fusaro’s work with senior shelter pets. While generally calm, easy, and already house-trained, these animals often represent the highest-risk population at shelters. With gorgeous, joyful photographs and sweet, funny, true tales of “old dogs learning new tricks,” Coffey and Fusaro show that adopting a senior can be even more rewarding than choosing a younger dog. You’ll meet endearing elders like Marnie, the irresistible shih tzu who has posed for selfies with Tina Fey,…