Six must-read books for animal lovers

Zibby Owens

THE WASHINGTON POST – Last August, after my mother-in-law passed away from COVID, my husband and I adopted her black lab, Nya. Over the past few months, with Nya snoozing under my desk chair, I’ve collected a stack of new and upcoming books about pups. What’s with all the doggy tales? Am I more aware of these canine stories because of my newfound dog obsession? Here are a few bark-worthy books to put on your radar.

PUB ACTUALLY, BY MATT DUNN

This hilarious romance is told from the point of view of Doug the dog, who plays Cupid. Doug doesn’t approve of his owner Julie’s love interest – not just because he’s married and is her boss. Doug has his hind legs set on another, more suitable human. But can Doug spark a love connection? You’ll be rooting for this lovable dog – you might even wish he could weigh in on your own relationships.

LONDON’S NUMBER ONE DOG-WALKING AGENCY: A MEMOIR, BY KATE MACDOUGALL

Why not start a dog-walking business? That’s what Kate MacDougall thought after leaving her job at Sotheby’s in London. Kate’s friends and family thought she was crazy, but Kate blindly jumped into the fray anyway. As her business grows, Kate learns as much about dogs (and their high-maintenance owners) as she does about herself.

WHAT IS A DOG: A MEMOIR, BY CHLOE SHAW

Through pregnancy, parenting, joy and loss, Chloe Shaw’s dogs have played a special part in her life. Her elegant memoir, written in the wake of her family dog’s death, is a reflection on her life as a mother, told via her relationships with her canines. It’s a heart-rending and heartwarming tale that will resonate with just about any mom out there.

DOG DAYS: A NOVEL ABOUT LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT IT IS TO BE HUMAN, BY ERICKA WALLER

Three life stories intersect in Ericka Waller’s debut novel: a recent widower who inherited a dog, a therapist with OCD and a mother living with her son in a women’s shelter. As these characters struggle with some heavy life issues, they are buoyed by the unconditional love of their dogs.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: THE GREATEST COLLECTION OF TAXIDERMY DOGS ON EARTH, BY JD POWE

A unique art book about dogs, Best Friends Forever is antique taxidermy collector JD Powe’s vision of what it means to be a man’s best friend, with photography by Zach Ishmael.

THE SPECKLED BEAUTY: A DOG AND HIS PEOPLE, LOST AND FOUND, BY RICK BRAGG

Pulitzer Prize-winner Rick Bragg tells the story of how his life was deeply affected – perhaps, saved – by Speck, the dog he took in after she wandered onto his property. As Bragg fought cancer, kidney failure and pneumonia, Speck got him through. Written in Bragg’s inimitable style, this moving book is a literary ode to canine love.