Must Read Books for 2013

It might appear as though I am jumping right into tackling one of my New Year’s resolutions to read more, but the truth is that I’ve had this post about dog books planned for ever since I got my fingers on the Kindle that Mark got me for Christmas.

I’ve unfortunately never been a big reader except for a book here or there that really caught my attention. Over the past year or so that small list has expanded ever so slightly, especially since I’ve found myself wanting to learn about more topics in addition to reading fiction stories. Whatever the reason, there are a few books that I’ve read or plan to read that I absolutely have to share with you!

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce CameronA-Dogs-Purpose

I cannot say enough good things about this book.  It’s written from the perspective of a dog, and the author does a fabulous job of putting to paper what we think our dogs would say if they could talk. It’s funny, endearing, and heartbreaking – and it touches on a lot of sheltering issues that are close to my heart. If you love dogs I so, so recommend this book for you to read. The sequel, A Dog’s Journey, was just released and is just as good.

Wallace by Jim Gorant

WallacebookOH MY GOSH I fell in love with this book before I even read it thanks to following Wallace the Pit Bull on Facebook.  Wallace is beyond adorable, and his personality shines through in every single photo of him, which is why I felt like I knew him before even opening the book. The book was so much better than I expected (probably because I didn’t know what to expect). It tells the story of Wallace, a dog who did not do well in a shelter setting because of his high energy and prey drive, and how those exact traits turned him into a flying disc dog champion thanks to two people who didn’t give up on him, Roo and Clara Yori.  It’s a heart warmer for any dog lover, and sends home the message that each dog is an individual no matter what they look like. I love love loved this book, and REALLY think you should read it too.  Since the book was written, Wallace has become a doggy brother to Hector, one of the Vicktory dogs.

The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant

lost-dogsWhile we’re on books written by Jim Gorant, I have to add The Lost Dogs. Most of you probably know this is the book about the Michael Vick dog fighting case, but the amount of information I learned from reading it blew me away. I had no idea what went into this investigation, and how truly monumental it was for dogs from fight busts everywhere.  It’s not for those who can’t handle too much animal cruelty, as it goes into some graphic detail, but it’s eye opening and certainly reminds you why we do what we do to help animals.  I was more motivated as ever after I read that book to go out and remind the world that every dog is an individual and should be treated as such, no matter where they come from.  The Bad Newz Kennels bust and aftermath set the precedent that dogs from fighting operations should be evaluated instead of immediately euthanized, and that many, if not most, can even be adopted out as loving family pets – and the book outlines how that was achieved.

This book is also extremely close to my heart because it focuses a lot on the dog Jasmine who is pictured on the book’s cover. Jasmine was Catalina Stirling’s dog, the woman who started Jasmine’s House, the rescue I write so much about on this blog.  It’s an absolutely amazing story.

The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell

This is a non-fiction book that I’m only part way through, OELand reading for the book club I mentioned yesterday. It focuses on our relationship with dogs, and how our behavior affects theirs.  McConnell breaks down canine behavior and psychology, writing about how to create the best relationship you can with your dog without using dominance or force-based techniques. I’m only about 30 pages in but have already gained a wealth of knowledge and know the rest of the book will continue to be just as educational.

You’re smart to read anything by Patricia McConnell.  She’s got books on separation anxiety, leash reactivity, bringing a new dog into a home (wish everyone with a dog was required to read this one!), and many more. You can see all her books on her website.

I’m a Good Dog by Ken Foster

pit_bulls_book_i_am_a_good_dogI haven’t read this book yet, but it’s definitely on my list because of how much my pit bull dog loving friends have raved about it.  I can see why by reading the reviews – all glowing – about how Foster shows pit bull dogs in their best light through stories and photos.  I feel like it’s a book I shouldn’t just download to my Kindle, but one I should get in hard copy to see the fabulous photos, so I’ll pick it up next time I’m by a book store.

Little Boy Blue by Kim Kavin

little-boy-blue-cover1This is another one I haven’t read all the way through yet. It’s the true story of a puppy adopted from a high-kill North Carolina shelter and Kavin, the dog’s owner, sets out on a mission to figure out why this seemingly perfect dog was so close to being euthanized.  Kavin’s journey touches on many harsh issues in today’s sheltering world, including extremely underfunded and overcrowded shelters, gas chambers, and the world of private rescue groups. I know it’s going to be a tough but very interesting read, and I’m looking forward to finishing it.

So that’s just a few titles on my list, and I know there are many more I need to read! What good dog books do you recommend? I will try to add them to my pile for 2013, and write about them in a later book review post!


(Yes that is little Zee enjoying a good book over a year ago.)

22 thoughts on “Must Read Books for 2013

  1. I’ve read Wallace and The Lost Dogs; just bought I’m A Good Dog but haven’t read it yet. On my list are: Working Pit Bull, Pit Bull Nation, My Name Is Big, Lost Souls, and A Dog’s Purpose. Have you read Oogy?

  2. melanielegault

    Great suggestions. I agree with the previous post – Oogy by Larry Levin is a wonderful story. I’ve just started What’s a Dog For by John Homans. Got hooked on the first word – Stella – which is the name of my dog. Good read so far.

  3. have you read ‘inside a dog’s head’ by alexandra horowitz? it’s been sitting on my shelf for a while and i’m meaning to read it. ugh the lost dogs SLAYED me, it was so tough to get through but so worth it. and i felt like meeting a celebrity when i met catalina one day at the shelter.

  4. Heidi

    My pup was rescued from a high-kill shelter in KY, so I found “Little Boy Blue” to be a super-informative and enlightening read. I loved that it was written by a journalist so everyone involved gets a fair shake — even the so-called “bad guys.” I received “What’s a Dog For” and “A Dog’s Purpose” for Christmas and I’m looking forward to digging into those. I highly recommend “You Had Me at Woof” and “Love at First Bark,” both by Judy Klam.

  5. Michelle Ballard

    I’ve read the first three books you listed. I cried while reading A Dog’s Purpose and Wallace made me cheer. It was from The Lost Dogs that I read about Jasmine.
    Oogy is definitely a good read and so is Amazing Gracie, about the dog that inspired Three Dog Barkery.ballard

  6. I have several of these books on my “to read/get” list. A couple other good ones I’ve read over this past year are “If a Dog’s Prayer Were Answered…Bones Would Rain from the Sky” by Suzanne Clothier and “For the Love of a Dog” by Patricia McConnell. Both of these books were fantastic reads. the first I would recommend to anyone who loves dogs. The second also for those who loves dogs except this has a little bit more technical and scientific information laced throughout it. Check them out! :)

  7. How awesome! Thanks for the link to jasmine’s house. I’ve read some of the lost dogs and I agree It’s not for the squeamish. I will be looking into the other books once I finish lost dogs. Thanks for sharing.

  8. HIGHLY recommend “What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers” by Amy Sutherland. She is a journalist who was writing a story on exotic animal trainers, and had an epiphany about human relationships. Her prior book about the trainers is great too: “Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World’s Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers”

  9. I’ve read several of these and agree they are terrific. I finished Wallace’s book just a few months ago and it was one of my favourites from last year. So glad I picked it up!

    Have you read “Inside of a Dog” yet? If not you should. Every dog lover should, in my opinion. It changed the way I looked at my dog in so many ways.

  10. Another book which is wonderful – especially for women, is “Dogs and Their Women” by Barbara Cohen and Louise Taylor. I remember many of the stages and years of my life by which dog was with me and the diverse travels and paths we went through together. Always, always, they were my best friend and each, I miss deeply, but am so thankful for the time we shared.

  11. Pingback: My Journey to Becoming a Dog Trainer: Part 1 | Peace, Love, & Fostering

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