Book Nook: The dog days of summer

The summer days of July and August are often referred to as the dog days of summer,” for those of us living in the northern hemisphere. This saying originates from the sun rising in the same part of the sky as the Sirius constellation. Early Romans believed that Sirius gave extra heat to the sun and that is why it is so hot during this time of year. But the real reason it is so hot right now has to do with the tilt of the earth as it rotates around the sun.

However, it’s hard not to hear the phrase without thinking about our furry companions. The companionship of dogs and humans has existed for over 15,000 years. These animals have not only helped us in our work, and protected us, but they have also brought us comfort, joy and love.

Our dog Zora is a mess! She is a mutt we rescued from a shelter about six years ago. Part cairn/terrier, part lab she has a horrible underbite, terrier legs, a lab body and tail, and floppy ears that don’t fit her face. This freak of nature can’t hunt, can’t swim, can’t run, but is adored by our entire family. She is also a great companion dog for when you are reading a book.

Literature is full of dog companions and stars. Powerful memories are evoked when names like Clifford, Spot, Biscuit, Cracker, Rin Tin Tin, Scooby-Doo, Snoopy, Togo, Balto, Hachi, Sounder, Buck, White Fang, Lassie, Benji, Old Yeller, Winn Dixie, and more are mentioned. One of my favorite dog books, which is also an old Disney classic movie, is “Bristle Face” by Zachary Ball (1962). Bristle Face is a lot like Zora and is a freak of nature in appearance. He has wiry hairs all over his face that make him look like he has seen the business end of a porcupine. It turns out Bristle Face is the best hunting dog and best friend a boy (or anyone) could have.

To honor Zora, Bristle Face, and all of our furry companions, we offer tribute by providing you with a list of our newest books about dogs. Some of these stories may include visual depictions or descriptions where a dog may be hurt or dies. These are denoted with an asterisk. There is something here for everyone and we hope you are able to enjoy them with your furry companion. (All are available from the Lincoln County Library System and descriptions are taken from our WYLD online catalog database).

“The Finders’’ by Jeffrey Burton — The beginning of a fast-paced new mystery series featuring a heroic golden retriever cadaver dog named Vira and her handler, Mason Reid. Mace must put all his trust in Vira’s abilities to thwart a serial killer who has now set his sights on Mace himself.

“The Truth According to Blue” by Eve Yohalem — Thirteen-year-old Blue Broen teams up with her diabetic alert dog and the spoiled daughter of a vacationing movie star on a treasure hunt to find her family’s ancestral fortune.

”Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs” by Jennifer Finney Boylan — A memoir of the transformative power of loving dogs. This is a book about dogs, the love we have for them, and the way that love helps us understand the people we have been.*

“Warrior Dog” by Will Chesney — The powerful true story of a SEAL Team Six member and military dog handler, and the dog that saved his life.*

“Sunny (a Dog Diaries book)” by Kate Klimo — Sunny, a pampered Pekingese dog, narrates the tale of the voyage and sinking of the Titanic.

“Dog Breed Guide: A complete reference to your best friend fur-ever” by Tamara Resler — From dachshunds to Dalmatians and poodles to pugs, this comprehensive guide gives an overview of more than 400 different dog breeds.

“How to Rescue a Family (Furever Yours)” by Teri Wilson — Single father Ryan Carter wants just one thing: a new beginning for his grieving son. That means decamping for small-town North Carolina, adopting a rescue dog...and even proposing to the gorgeous restaurant manager he can’t stop thinking about.

“One-Third Nerd” by Gennifer Choldenko — Ten-year-old Liam and his two younger sisters, precocious third-grader Dakota and second-grader Izzy, who has Down syndrome, face the possibility of losing their beloved dog, Cupcake, who keeps urinating on their apartment’s carpet.*

“Hero Dogs: How a Pack of Rescues, Rejects, and Strays Became America’s Greatest Disaster-search Partners” by Wilma Melville — The incredible memoir of how Wilma Melville turned a band of shelter dogs into one of America’s foremost disaster-response assets in catastrophes from 9/11 to Katrina.*

“I Love You, Fred” by Mick Inkpen — Little ones will laugh out loud as you read Mick and Chloë Inkpen’s delightful second story all about a troublesome little dog who finally discovers his own name.