Heroic dogs that serve in the military, loyal mutts that enter our families and our hearts, goofy dogs that make us laugh. As the holiday season arrives, there is no shortage of books for dog lovers. Here are a few:
“Biscuit for Your Thoughts? Philosophy According to Dogs”: Photographs by Andrew Darlow (Ulysses Press, $14.95). Darlow ( www.CandidCanine.com ) offers 95 pages of wonderful photos coupled with short thoughts. For example, there’s a portrait of a dog staring into the camera, a sock in its mouth, accompanied by “There’s no accounting for a man’s taste in socks.” It’s a clever idea for a stocking-stuffer, and Darlow’s photos make it work.
“Miracle Dogs: Rescue Stories”: Liz Stavrinides (St. Martin’s Press, $21.99). Stavrinides proves again she is a rescue dog’s best friend with this collection of stories of canines rescued from shelters. Celebrity rescue-pet owners (Chevy Chase, Lance Bass, etc.) and average owners tell the story of their pet and how it came to be part of their family. Each dog’s story includes a portrait of the animal by Stavrinides. This book will inspire more than a few people to high-tail it to their closest shelter.
“The Language of Dogs”: Justin Silver with David Donnenfeld (Gallery Books, $24.99). Silver, of the reality TV show “Dogs in the City,” says that dog owners and their dogs have problems because they don’t speak the same language. In his book, he explains the dog mind, helping an owner to see what makes the animal tick. After you know that, training becomes easier, using positive commands and the dog’s natural desire to please. Even if you aren’t trying to turn out an obedience champion, Silver’s book will give you a better understanding of your pet.
“Good Dog: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Loyalty”: David DiBenedetto and the Editors of Garden & Gun (HarperWave, $25.99). DiBenedetto is editor-in-chief at Garden & Gun, and he and his editors have compiled this anthology of 51 essays about dogs. The book is broken down into five chapters — The Troublemakers, Into the Field, Man’s Best Friend, Family Ties and Life Lessons. Two particularly enjoyable pieces are John Ed Bradley’s “Emmett & Me,” about an English bulldog that was brought into his life by a friend, and Pat Jordan’s “Puppy Dreams,” about an elderly couple buying what they are sure will be their last puppy.
“War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love”: Rebecca Frankel (Palgrave/Macmillan, $26). Frankel, senior editor for special projects at Foreign Policy magazine, has been writing about war dogs since 2012. In this book, she examines not only the history and heroism of war dogs, but the bond that exists between them and their handlers, using the often moving and inspiring stories of individual dogs.