Dogs might be the only beings that love you more than they love themselves. Their selfless and heroic natures make them a natural fit for some of the best protagonists in literature. And while most of literature relies on the machinations of human beings to roll into a story, some of the most rewarding narrative you can read is concerned with our four-legged friends. Enjoy this list of books that qualify as the picks of the litter for dog-lovers. It just might come in handy during the gift-giving season or a snuggly reading session with your favorite pup.

 

1. Marley & Me

by Josh Grogan

Marley picture

Many have seen the movie with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, but this warm-hearted tale began life as a memoir about a married couple and their first “child.” When the author’s wife, Jenny, utters the fateful proclamation that she’s never “seen anything so cute” in her life, the wayward (and specially discounted) Labrador Retriever puppy gives them a crash course in unruly yet adorable behavior, just in time for their growing family. Humorous and relatable anecdotes about the journey of puppyhood and early marriage make this an easy and heart-warming read for anyone who thinks puppies can do no wrong. (And they’re right.)

 

 

 

2. Where the Red Fern Grows

by Wilson Rawls

where the red fern grows

Tales like this heartwarming book from reading lists around the world are the reason why we think of dogs as our best friends. This coming-of-age favorite tells the story of a boy and his resourceful dogs. Billy roams the Ozarks with his canine best friends during hard times of little food and little warmth. Eventually though, they become a hunting team to be reckoned with across the region. It doesn’t all go down smoothly of course, but you’ll have to read the rest of the story to find out why not.

 

 

 

 

3. The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

call of the wild

This turn-of-the-century classic novel’s main character is a dog named Buck. Ruthlessly stolen from his California home, Buck is reintroduced to his wilder nature as an Alaskan sled dog during the Klondike Gold Rush. Life is harsh and dealing with the pack is no picnic either. Author London spent a year in Alaska to deliver an authentic narrative of the austere and beautiful Yukon wilderness. It’s been adapted many times, but nothing beats the experience of reading this transcendent classic on the page.

 

 

4. Devoted: 38 Extraordinary Tales of Love, Loyalty, and Life With Dogs

by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

Devoted

It’s like chicken soup for the soul only it’s dogs for the soul. This collection of stories document the inspirational ways that dogs know us better than we know ourselves. Whether stories about dogs detecting cancer or the dogs that understand the language of war veterans, this compendium of moving stories seeks to uplift us out of the ordinary to a place of loftier concerns, like what dogs are thinking about: us.