Pets

Dog-Friendly Reading for Summer – Oh My Dog!

Dog-Friendly Reading for Summer – Oh My Dog!


With the summer solstice a few days behind us, it’s officially time to pack up those pool bags with a pile of summer reads!

And, lucky you, I have a bunch of recommendations for all kinds of readers. (:

From the dozens of books I’ve finished recently, a few animal-themed books rose to the top of the list, and I have several more that are next on my TBR. I wanted to share those today in case you’re looking for summer reading inspo.

And, if you want to talk books even more, I am trying to share more of my reading and TBR lists over on Instagram! As I wrap up the couple books below I haven’t yet finished, I’ll post even more thoughts over there.

5 books for your dog-friendly reading List!

At the edge of a pool, on top of a white beach towel sits an iced tea drink in a glass container with a striped straw. Behind the beverage is a straw pool bag tipped over and the contents spill out onto the towel, including a pair of pink sunglasses, teal and purple flip flops, a hardback book with a  floral cover, and a pink notebook with Notes written in gold on the cover. The text overlay reads: 5 books for your pet-friendly TBR

A big thank you to all of the publishers for sending along copies of these excellent books–and so many more I greatly enjoyed but didn’t quite make it to this post! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The cover of the book Wagnificnet: The Adventures of Thunder and Sage by Bethanie Murguia shows a young girl wearing denim overalls and a white t-shirt. She has short brown hair and a huge smile. She's holding a light brown dog of no specific breed who wears a green collar. The background is a gradient of green and yellow paw prints.

WAGNIFICENT: The Adventures of Thunder and Sage

by Bethanie Murguia

Available on Amazon and Bookshop.org.

It’s hard to state how delightful this book is without actually squeaking. It is utterly charming and adorable. I read it first and loved it–the way she captures Thunder’s expressions is perfection–then Violet (age 7) read it, and she was effusive in her praise of this book. Here’s the thing: Violet read it cover to cover in one sitting; literally, she sat down at the kitchen table after breakfast and didn’t move again until she’d finished the entire thing, giggling and gasping the whole way. Then Violet asked me to film her review to post to Instagram because she wanted the author to see how much she loved it. (Which I filmed but have yet to post to Stories.)

The blurb: “Our protagonist, Thunder, is a dog whose favorite things involve cuddles with her human Sage and playing fetch. But, as any dog owner will know, Thunder doesn’t always have the easiest time controlling her more animal (and from our perspective, inconvenient) instincts: like barking, digging, or chasing suspicious furballs around the yard. Thunder is shocked when her inner Wolf appears one day and reveals the truth behind these irresistible impulses: it’s all because dogs are really wolves! (That is, they’re descended from them.) The big question is: Will Thunder choose to be a loyal pet to Sage, or embrace the wild animal within?”

The cover features an illustration of a German shepherd sitting on a low branch of a large tree with the book title Soulmate Dog above his head.

SOULMATE DOG

by Michelle B. Slater, PhD

Available on Amazon and Bookshop.org.

A dog is not “just” a dog. That’s the premise of this narrative, and it weaves together many facets of what it takes to really understand our non-human animal friends with how we grieve our companions. This is the next book on my TBR.

The blurb: “Soulmate Dog tells the brave, moving story of Slater’s extraordinary relationship with her German Shepherd, Brady. The book charts the nature of love and the inevitability of loss that accompanies it, while showcasing the telepathic language that can exist between dogs and humans. Because Brady became seriously ill at the age of five (and, according to his vets, should not have survived), this is also a story of the expanding field of modern integrative veterinary medicine.

Animal communicators argue that anyone can be coached to listen, understand, and respond to animals. Having undergone training with Debbie McGillivray in the art of animal communication, Michelle became semi-fluent in the language of dog. As a result of her extraordinary conversations, Brady transformed the way that Michelle sees animal beings. This perspective has shaped her understanding of the human-animal relationship.”

The book cover says Mattie, Mile, and Me in large letters in the top center. Below the words is an illustration of two dogs, one a larger dog with textured light brown fur and the other a smaller dog with white fur and a cropped tail.

MATTIE, MILO, AND ME

by Anne Abel

Available on Amazon and Bookshop.org.

TW: A dog dies on page one. There are also descriptions of an abusive childhood and harm to animals.

This story serves as a testament to one of my biggest beliefs about the dog-human bond: We help each other heal.

The blurb: “After the untimely death of her beloved companion, Mattie, Anne rescued an initially aggressive dog named Milo. Anne’s unwavering commitment to Milo’s rehabilitation became a powerful metaphor for her resilience and growth. Amid many challenges and recovering from childhood trauma, Anne found strength, rediscovered her capacity to love and transformed both herself and Milo in the process. She is releasing a soul-stirring book this spring that delves into the profound role dogs can play in healing journeys, starting with her own.”

If you’ve known me for any amount of time, you have to know that I can’t resist a transformation story. Anne’s story illustrates the power of love and commitment to a dog who needs help, and–through an open heart and mind–transforms her in the process. These are the kinds of love stories I can’t resist.

The cover of Wild Life features a picture of Dr. Rae Wynn-Grand, a Black woman wearing a yellow beanie cap, a blue fleece jacket, dark gray hiking pants, and a red backpack, sitting against a dark green background illustrated with line drawings of nature like trees and flowers. She's looking off into the distance.

WILD LIFE: Finding My Purpose in an Untamed World

by Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant

Available on Amazon and Bookshop.org.

First, a confession: I don’t watch TV. So, apparently I’m the only person who hasn’t seen Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant’s show.

Second, another confession: This book isn’t about dogs. There are dogs in it at a point or two, but this is a book about a woman’s journey toward finding herself and her place as a wildlife ecologist. It is inspiring and interesting, plus it paints a realistic picture of how we humans need to find the magical, elusive balance between wildlife ecology and the well-being of humans.

What I loved the most was how she philosophized about identity influencing experiences in science, along with the intersectionality of science and social justice. These are conversations we who love animals need to be having fairly urgently.

That said, this isn’t a heavy read. It’s written conversationally and focuses on how Dr. Wynn-Grant’s personal life wove into her professional life.

The cover of Rethinking Rescue features a black and white closeup of a pit bull puppy with a wrinkled face and one ear tipped forward. A woman's hand is holding the puppy up by the chest.

RETHINKING RESCUE

by Carol Mithers

Pre-order on Amazon and Bookshop.org.

THIS IS THE BOOK I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR. Both literally and metaphorically. Literally because the ARC only just arrived, so I haven’t had a chance to dive into it yet. Metaphorically because I’ve been writing about these topics for so long (like this one and this one and this one), and someone finally wrote a book about the intersection of animal welfare and human welfare!!

Here is the blurb: “It’s a deeply humane look at the world of pets owned by the poor—one that challenges the reader to see that the bond between pet and owner is no less profound when the owner is broke, addicted, or unhoused. It’s a profile of the remarkable Lori Weise, founder of LA’s Downtown Dog Rescue, who has dedicated her life to saving tens of thousands of animals on the city’s most down-and-out streets. It’s an eye-opening look at the No Kill and rescue movements, causes largely led by well-off white women who have too often neglected to consider owners in less enviable circumstances. But perhaps most importantly, RETHINKING RESCUE is a book that asks trenchant questions: Who deserves the love of a pet? What is our obligation to animals who are loved by owners who can’t give them what they need? Can we finally see social justice and animal rescue as part of the same fight?”

And, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to devour this book. For real.

What are you reading this summer?

I also just had a library hold come up for Dogland: Passion, Glory, and Lots of Slobber at the Westminster Dog Show and my sister recommended a (non-animal-themed!) novel called Daisy Darker.

Please share your summer TBR or any recommendations in the comments! I love growing my pile of books to tackle on these hot summer days!


If you enjoyed this post, you’ll probably enjoy my forthcoming book, For the Love of Dog, from Regalo Press in early 2025. It’s chock full of the latest research in canine cognition combined with stories of my dogs to bring the data to life. To stay up-to-date on the latest with my publication news, please join the mailing list or follow along on Instagram. I’d love to connect with you more!





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