One of the very first books I read as a child was All Because of Gina by Elsie Gambrell. Almost 40 years later it still holds a special place in my heart. There are many classic dog stories, who amongst us hasn’t laughed and shed a tear reading Marley & Me. From The Incredible Journey to Cujo most of us have read “A Doggy Tale” at some point. To quote Lord Montdore’s words in Nancy Mitford’s novel Love in a Cold Climate. When asked about his choice of reading he replied: “I’ve only ever read one book, White Fang, it was so good I’ve never read another.”
So what are the best Canine stories out there at the moment? Here’s a few worth a look!
Finding Harmony A remarkable true story of an extraordinary dog that rescued a woman from the depths of depression and transformed a family for ever.
A keen mountaineer, Sally Hyder was in her prime and loving life. She shared her passion for climbing with her partner Andrew and it was a dream come true when Andrew proposed at Everest Base Camp. For them, climbing mountains made anything seem possible and represented their attitude to life.
But a year after Sally and Andrew were married Sally was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She was only 28 and was training to be a Macmillan nurse – she wanted to care for the terminally ill. But Sally was determined the disease wouldn’t slow her down: she went back to work looking after others and, despite warnings that her condition could deteriorate in pregnancy, went on to have three beautiful children.
But it was when her youngest child Melissa was diagnosed with severe autism that Sally began to spiral into depression. Sally felt guilty about the pressures faced by her elder daughter Clara in her role as carer. Sally worried that she was missing out on the freedom of childhood.
She needed help. Unsure who to turn to, she happened upon Canine Partners and an extraordinary dog called Harmony. They formed an instant bond; Harmony can perform over 100 chores – from putting groceries into the trolley to handing over Sally’s purse at the till. Harmony is an unending source of comfort: she intuitively knows when Sally is in pain and calms Melissa when she suffers panic attacks.
Harmony has given Sally the ability to start living once more, and become a mother again in her own way. She has shown Sally that the sky’s the limit and, with a taste for independence that she hadn’t felt since her mountaineering days, Sally’s sights are set on the peaks of Ben Nevis once more.
The Art of Racing in the Rain- Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it
Endal-Allen Parton was seriously injured while serving in the Gulf War. He lost the use of both of his legs, plus all memories of his children and much of his marriage. He was left unable to walk, talk or write – isolated in his own world. After five years of intensive therapy and rehab, he was still angry, bitter and unable to talk. Until a chance encounter with a Labrador puppy – Endal – who had failed his training as an assistance dog on health grounds. They ‘adopted’ each other, and Endal became Allen’s reason to communicate with the outside world, to come to terms with his injuries, and to want to live again. Not content with learning over 200 commands to help Allen complete everyday tasks like getting dressed and going out to the shops in his wheelchair, Endal gave Allen the ability to start living again, and to become a husband and father again in his own special way. This is the incredible story of Allen, his wife Sandra, and his family. And, of course, Endal.
A Dog’s Life- Born in an unused shed ‘The Autobiography of a stray’ is the story of ‘Squirrel’, born one of two surviving puppies to a stray dog who arrives at the shed seeking shelter to give birth to her litter.
Separated early on from first her mother then her brother, Squirrel’s tale, told in her own words is compelling and great reading. Never staying anywhere long, living mainly on the outskirts of small towns, coming into contact with humans both kind and cruel, taking what shelter she can from the elements and surviving on scraps and small mammals, Squirrels story is both heart-breaking and lovely at the same time.
A Dog’s Purpose-This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life’s most basic question: Why are we here? Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of eight-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures, Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders – will he ever find his purpose? Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog’s Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives, but also a dog’s-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.
Oogy-The heartwarming tale of a larger-than-life puppy and the people who saved him from a life of violence.