Best Books About Adventurous Pups

It’s the perfect time of year to curl up with a mug of tea, snuggle with your dog, and dive into a good book.

The Call of the Wild

call wildYou may have read this novella by Jack London in school, but it’s worth re-reading as an adult, too. Set in the Yukon, the story follows a hardy dog named Buck who is stolen from his home—a ranch in the Santa Clara Valley of California—and sold into service as a sled dog in Alaska during the gold rush. Buck becomes progressively tougher as he is forced to fight for survival, and by the end of the story “…he was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.”

The Philosopher and the Wolf

phil wolfRowlands was a young philosophy professor at the University of Alabama when he noticed a classified ad in the local paper advertising wolf cubs for sale. He fell in love at first sight, but Rowlands quickly learned that his wolf pup Brenin could never be left alone in the house. As a result, Brenin and Rowlands went everywhere together—from classroom lecture to Ireland, England, and France. More than just an exotic pet, Brenin had huge influence on the philosopher’s life, encouraging him to re-evaluate his views on love, nature, fulfillment, family, and death. This nonfiction account of their time together is alternately funny (how do you react when your wolf pup demolishes your air conditioner?) and poignant, reaffirming over and over the incredible relationships that exist between human and animal.

James Herriot’s Dog Stories

dog storiesJames Herriot, a British veterinary surgeon, wrote a series of books recounting his experiences in the English countryside. Each heartwarming tale is written in simple prose, and his stories are filled with ailing animals, their concerned owners, and the veterinarians who tramped across the muddy fields of North Yorkshire at all hours of day and night. His best-selling books (including All Creatures Great and Small and Every Living Thing) are classics, but this collection of dog stories takes the cake.

Where The Red Fern Grows

red fernIn his award-winning young adult novel, Wilson Rawls shares the story of young Billy, whose parents don’t have the money to buy him a pup. Determined to get his dogs, Billy works odd jobs for two years to buy his two Redbone Coonhounds, Old Dan and Little Ann. It doesn’t matter that times are tough; together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley, but tragedy awaits. Keep the tissues close as you finish this book, because you can’t help but agree with wise young Billy: “I looked at his grave and, with tears in my eyes, I voiced these words: ‘You were worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over.’”

Meet the Author: Charlotte Austin

Charlotte Austin is a Seattle-based writer and mountain guide. She has climbed, explored, and led expeditions in North and South America, Nepal, Europe, Alaska, and Patagonia. Her writing has been featured in Women's Adventure, Alpinist, Stay Wild, and other national and international publications. When she's not guiding in the Himalayas, she's exploring her hometown (Seattle, Washington), trying new recipes, and hanging out with Huckleberry, her giant black Great Dane-Lab mix. Read more about their adventures at www.charlotteaustin.com.

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