The best pet adoption books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about pet adoption and why they recommend each book.

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Another Good Dog

By Cara Sue Achterberg,

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

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.

Another Good Dog

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…


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.


I wrote...

Book cover of Poppy in the Wild: A Lost Dog, Fifteen Hundred Acres of Wilderness, and the Dogged Determination that Brought Her Home

What is my book about?

Teresa Rhyne fosters dogs in need, including Poppy, a small, frightened beagle rescued from the China dog meat trade. The elation of rescue quickly turns to hysteria when Poppy breaks free from a potential adopter during a torrential thunderstorm and disappears into a rugged wilderness park, bordered by a busy road.

In the quest to find Poppy, Teresa works with rescue specialists, volunteers, psychics, a Native American who communes with owls, helpful neighbors, decidedly unhelpful strangers, a howling woman, police, crushing dead ends, glimmers of hope, and her own emotional and physical limits.  Meanwhile, Poppy encounters heavy rains, a homeless encampment, the Sheriff, a series of strangers, hawks, and, ultimately, a community willing to do anything to protect rather than harm her. Through their journey, Poppy and Teresa both discover just what home means.

Can I Be Your Dog?

By Troy Cummings,

Book cover of Can I Be Your Dog?

This adorable and funny picture book is about a stray dog looking for his forever family by writing letters to each family on Butternut Street, but no one wants to take in poor Arfy. The illustrations are bright and colorful with lots of fun details for kids to point out. I love the exchange of letters between Arfy and the prospective families - each one unique to the sender. Will he ever find the right family? You’ll have to read to find out!

Can I Be Your Dog?

By Troy Cummings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Can I Be Your Dog? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

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…


Who am I?

As a little kid, I wanted nothing more than to be best friends with every dog I met. Our family dog was a Yorkie and she was my little buddy for 17 years. A Family for Louie came about because of my love of dogs, food, and family. Naturally, my first picture book would be about all of these things! Dogs are such wonderful creatures, brimming with love, loyalty, and so much personality. I hope this round-up of books featuring our furry four-legged friends brings a little joy and laughter to your storytime. 


I wrote...

A Family for Louie

By Alexandra Thompson,

Book cover of A Family for Louie

What is my book about?

A foodie French bulldog finds a forever home in this heartwarming and adorable debut picture book.

Meet Louie. He’s a dog of very fine taste. He knows every chef in town, and each day he wanders the city, visiting his favorite restaurants. It’s a good life, except… Louie is all on his own. What Louie wants more than anything is a family. But try as he might, Louie can’t seem to find a family that’s right for him. Where-oh-where will Louie find a just-right family of his very own?

For the Love of Cats

By Tom Colvin, Carol Griglione, Mick McAulife

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

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.

For the Love of Cats

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!


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.


I wrote...

The Divine Feline: A Chic Cat Lady's Guide to Woman's Best Friend

By Belinda Alexandra,

Book cover of The Divine Feline: A Chic Cat Lady's Guide to Woman's Best Friend

What is my book about?

Cats and women share many traits: beauty, elegance, sensitivity, affectionate natures, a knack for nurturing, and a love of the luxurious. Cats also embody the feminine dark side, with a tendency towards neurosis and fear of change. Then there are the qualities that a cat possesses which women long to emulate: fighting fiercely to protect herself, never saying yes when she means no, and being unafraid to claim the best seat in the house for herself.

Cats are loyal to those who love them but couldn't give a toss about what others think. They don't suffer self-esteem issues or worry if they're overweight. And then, there is that enviable air of mystery, that slinky walk... oh to be a cat They're the ultimate totem of female strength.

Belinda Alexandra, writer and ardent cat lover, makes no apology for celebrating the special bond between women and their cats. In The Divine Feline, she details her own experiences with cats, describing the relationship between women and cats throughout history and solving some behavioural and philosophical issues in a whimsical and practical way. Viva la cat lady!

Who Wants Broccoli?

By Val Jones,

Book cover of Who Wants Broccoli?

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.

Who Wants Broccoli?

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.

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?


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.


I wrote...

Book cover of Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

What is my book about?

Madeline Finn is a struggling reader who just can’t find her voice. But everything changes when she meets Bonnie, the Library Dog. Reading to Bonnie is different. “Bonnie doesn’t laugh when I mess up on a word. Instead, she puts her big paws in my lap and lets me pet her until I figure it out.” But soon, Madeline Finn has to read in school – without Bonnie. Inspired by the therapy dogs at Lisa’s local library, this tale of struggle, persistence, and the power of unconditional love will resonate with readers young and old.

The first in the Madeline Finn series, Madeline Finn and the Library Dog was awarded the Children’s Choice ‘Book of the Year’ and has been translated into 23 languages.

Trouper

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

Book cover of Trouper

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.

Trouper

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…


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.


I wrote...

Dario and the Whale

By Cheryl Lawton Malone, Bistra Masseva (illustrator),

Book cover of Dario and the Whale

What is my book about?

When Dario and his mother move to Cape Cod from Brazil, Dario has a hard time making friends because he doesnt speak English well. But one day Dario meets someone else who has just arrived in New England, and he doesn’t speak English at all—a right whale! Inspired by the author’s real-life encounter with a whale, Dario and the Whale (Albert Whitman) captures the heart-warming efforts of a migrant boy to make friends and fit in. 

Dario is the Massachusetts selection for the Library of Congress 2021 Great Reads From Great Places award, a 2019 Massachusetts Book honoree, and recipient of numerous starred reviews including Shelf-Awareness.

My Old Dog

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

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

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.

My 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,…


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.


I wrote...

Book cover of Don't Lick the Dog: Making Friends with Dogs

What is my book about?

My standard poodle, Andy, was afraid of children. I wrote and illustrated Don’t Lick the Dog, to help kids (and dogs!) feel safe together. Don’t Lick the Dog, was selected as a 2010 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, starred for Outstanding Merit, and accepted to the Society of Illustrators Original Art show. 

“I’m passionate about helping children (and their parents) understand how best to safely interact with dogs, and this book perfectly encapsulates my philosophies on the matter in a really fun and engaging way.” Victoria Stilwell, host of It's Me or the Dog

A Dog Named Christmas

By Greg Kincaid,

Book cover of A Dog Named Christmas

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.

A Dog Named Christmas

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…


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.


I wrote...

Until the Robin Walks on Snow

By Bernice L. Rocque,

Book cover of Until the Robin Walks on Snow

What is my book about?

Imagine…a child is born far too early. He weighs 1.5 pounds, a micro-preemie so small he can rest on his father’s hand. Amazingly, the tiny newborn is breathing. Now imagine… this birth is occurring 100 years ago, on the edge of winter and the Christmas season, in a New England farmhouse without electricity or running water. 

My grandparents and their midwife lived this event in 1922. As recent immigrants to America, much was uncertain for them, yet they were determined to save this child. My uncle and I like to say Until the Robin Walks on Snow recreates the story that might have happened. Facts, family history, and research form this novella’s base. Family, friendship, and faith are themes.

I Want a Dog

By Jon Agee,

Book cover of I Want a Dog

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.

I Want a Dog

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.

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?


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?


I wrote...

If You Want a Friend in Washington: Wacky, Wild & Wonderful Presidential Pets

By Erin McGill,

Book cover of If You Want a Friend in Washington: Wacky, Wild & Wonderful Presidential Pets

What is my book about?

Have you ever wondered what pets lived in the White House? Maybe Bears? Or Alligators? Find out what wacky, wild, and wonderful Presidential pets there were throughout history and some of their stories.

Rescue Dogs

By Pete Paxton, Gene Stone,

Book cover of Rescue Dogs: Where They Come From, Why They Act the Way They Do, and How to Love Them Well

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…

Rescue Dogs

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…


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.


I wrote...

One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues

By Cara Sue Achterberg,

Book cover of One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues

What is my book about?

After nearly a year struggling to find a home for a challenging foster dog, Cara wonders—when will all the dogs be saved? Even after the one-hundredth foster dog passes through her home, the stream of homeless dogs appears endless. Seized by the need to act, Cara grabs her best friend, fills a van with donations, and heads south to discover what is really happening in the rural shelters where her foster dogs originate.

What she discovers will break her heart and compel her to share the story of heroes and villains and plenty of good dogs, in the hope of changing this world. Join Cara on the rescue road as she follows her heart into the places where too many dogs are forgotten and discovers it's within our power to save them.

Rescuing Penny Jane

By Amy Sutherland,

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

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…

Rescuing Penny Jane

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,…


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.


I wrote...

One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues

By Cara Sue Achterberg,

Book cover of One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues

What is my book about?

After nearly a year struggling to find a home for a challenging foster dog, Cara wonders—when will all the dogs be saved? Even after the one-hundredth foster dog passes through her home, the stream of homeless dogs appears endless. Seized by the need to act, Cara grabs her best friend, fills a van with donations, and heads south to discover what is really happening in the rural shelters where her foster dogs originate.

What she discovers will break her heart and compel her to share the story of heroes and villains and plenty of good dogs, in the hope of changing this world. Join Cara on the rescue road as she follows her heart into the places where too many dogs are forgotten and discovers it's within our power to save them.

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