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Man's Best Friend

Linda Stevens
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Old Yeller

Linda Stevens from Harris County Public Library talks about her difficult experience seeing Old Yeller as a child, unprepared for the emotional ending, and suggests heartwarming books for dog lovers. 

Book Buzz is a blog produced in collaboration with neighborhood librarians from Houston Public Library, Harris County Public Library and the Bellaire Library.

My family is full of animal lovers, although we are split between camps as to whether dogs or cats are superior. I have always been in the dog camp.

Most of my friends have been forced to sit through the story of my childhood encounter with Old Yeller. Every weekend, my family dropped me off at the movie theater for a double feature, usually a zany comedy or heartwarming animated story. I went into Old Yeller unprepared, and when my parents came to pick me up, they had to scrape me away from the Malco Theater’s red velvet wallpaper, which I was clutching as I sobbed unreservedly. Spoiler alert for the book and the movie: devoted love and loyalty are not always rewarded by the universe.

That stuck with me, as you can tell. Now, I insist on being prepared before consuming any dog-themed books or entertainment. I have no qualms about turning to the end or searching for spoilers. No more red velvet wallpaper for me. (Although I do like the cake.)

So, fellow dog lovers, these books are pre-approved for your consumption.

#WeRateDogs: The Most Hilarious and Adorable Pups You've Ever Seen by Matt Nelson – I love their social media posts and can honestly rate this one 13/10. 

Finding Gobi: A Little Dog with a Very Big Heart by Dion Leonard – A nonfiction adventure story about an ultramarathon runner and a stray dog that seems too good to be true, but it isn’t!

The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne – This novella features Oberon the Irish wolfhound from Hearne’s Iron Druid series in the starring role. He is assisted by his druid, Atticus O’Sullivan, and a Boston terrier named Starbuck as he solves the titular mystery.  Books with dogs solving mysteries are usually a safe bet.

Worthy by Catherine Ryan Hyde – A sweet novel about a lost dog who ends up bringing people together to change their lives for the better. He is the smartest character, and I mean that in a good way.

Dog Songs by Mary Oliver – Poems by the renowned Mary Oliver celebrating the bond between human and dog. Grief does appear, but in a more therapeutic sense.

The heartwarming dog story has almost become a distinct genre, so I know I have missed some favorites. Any suggestions for my reading stack?

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