Give me more 'Verklemptness'.
November 25, 2009 1:26 AM   Subscribe

Book Filter: In the spirit of 'Verklemptness'...

Following this post please help with my search for books, fiction or non fiction, that tell the heart warming stories of animals (dogs in particular) and their interactions with humans, other animals, their environment, and so on.

It is only in the last few years that I have become a dog person, and Marley and Me (the book in particular), is the only book that has ever made me literally sob. While sad, it was also quite cathartic, and I'm looking for others like this. I have tried other books of owners reflecting of what their dogs reveal about human nature, but after reading 'Sophie & Stanley' I have been wary of picking up another one.

I have, however, read "From Baghdad with Love", "Alex & Me"(a bird, I know), and "Dog Boy" (fiction) by Eva Hornung, and while they were all good didn't elicit the same emotional reaction (ok, maybe a little bit).

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
posted by Pippi Longstocking to Writing & Language (25 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Have you read any James Herriot? He wrote memoirs of his days as a rural vet in the Yorkshire Dales (started his practice in 1940). He was a large and small animal vet, so the stories are not just about dogs (though there is a collection called James Herriot's Dog Stories). I loved his books when I was a child; I read our local library's copies to pieces.

I also remember greatly enjoying a book called Emma and I; it was by a woman named Sheila Hocken who had (IIRC) been blind from birth. Emma was her guide dog, and the book was mostly an account of learning how to live with her new guide dog. The book seems to be out of print, but you might be able to find a used copy.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:49 AM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Gerald Durrell My family and other animals.
Seconding Herriot.
posted by Namlit at 2:50 AM on November 25, 2009

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle has the best dog writing I've read, from both the human and canine perspective. Also, it's a great story, being essentially a retelling of Hamlet with half the characters played by dogs.
posted by spasm at 3:26 AM on November 25, 2009

Follow My Leader, by Franklin Garfield, is a book for teens about a guide dog and his boy. It's dated but I enjoy each rereading.
posted by JimN2TAW at 3:54 AM on November 25, 2009

Walking Ollie - Winning the Love of a Difficult Dog by Stephen Foster is a lovely read, I've just got it back from my father and will be settling down to read it again tonight. I see that he now has a follow-up, Along Came Dylan so I'll be adding that to my wishlist, along with Rescuing Sprite - A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish. If you look at the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" section below either of these books there are some good ideas for other books you'll enjoy.

I hestitate to recommend Paul Auster's Timbuktu because I cried so much whilst reading it (and after) but I'm an Auster fan so I can't not mention it.
posted by ceri richard at 3:57 AM on November 25, 2009

About the animals left behind in Hurricane Katrina....

Not Left Behind: Rescuing the Pets of New Orleans
posted by nineRED at 4:15 AM on November 25, 2009

A Dog's Life by Ann Martin
posted by Elsie at 4:44 AM on November 25, 2009

The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein
posted by dlugoczaj at 6:22 AM on November 25, 2009

OMG - Where the Red Fern Grows. That book made me lose it when I was younger. Ignore the part at the beginning of the Wikipedia article about ages - while it features a young boy and his dogs, it is still a good read for adults.
posted by urbanlenny at 6:30 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, also--if you don't mind older fiction, the CHAMPION of animal verklemptness is Marshall Saunders's Beautiful Joe. It's late 19th century, kind of maudlin at times, but I re-read it often as a child and still find it moving.
posted by dlugoczaj at 6:31 AM on November 25, 2009

Here are two wonderful books that I read years ago. They are both young adult fiction but don't let that deter you - they are great. If you're a dog lover, both of them will make you cry.

The Trouble With Tuck

A Dog Called Kitty

Also, The Horse Whisperer. It's a tale of two love stories, one between a woman and a man, and another between a girl and her horse. The latter is very touching.

And lastly, The Call of the Wild. Classic.
posted by yawper at 6:54 AM on November 25, 2009

I really liked Beem, a (Russian?) story, told in first person from the dog's point of view.
posted by booth at 7:01 AM on November 25, 2009

Oh yeah...don't forget Old Yeller.
posted by yawper at 7:01 AM on November 25, 2009

I Have Heard You Calling in the Night by Thomas Healy
posted by amarynth at 7:21 AM on November 25, 2009

I just read about Dog Years by Mark Doty and put it on my to-read list.
posted by gladly at 8:05 AM on November 25, 2009

The Dogs of Babel, by Carolyn Parkhurst is fiction and the dog is more an emotional proxy. Still made me cry like a baby though!
posted by whodatninja at 8:12 AM on November 25, 2009

My Dog Skip

Guaranteed weepie.

If you're interested in horses (which I was, once upon a time...)

National Velvet

Black Beauty

Misty of Chincoteague
posted by bookgirl18 at 8:23 AM on November 25, 2009

Also, I should take this opportunity to plug a book published by one of my co-workers...

Saving Cinnamon
posted by bookgirl18 at 8:28 AM on November 25, 2009

3rding, or adinfitiuming James Harriet. If I think about Only One Woof, I can get a little misty.
Gerald Durrell is a luke warm seconding. He's not very sentimental.

There are many good dog stories (and goose stories and jackdaw stories) in King Soloman's Ring by Konrad Lorenz. He also has Man Meets Dog which I haven't read, so cannot advise on.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:35 AM on November 25, 2009

Man Meets Dog by Lorenz is not so much on the schmoopy but it is very interesting.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:51 AM on November 25, 2009

Pack of Two: The Intimate Bond Between People and Dogs by Caroline Knapp, a wonderful memoir about how the author's relationship with her rescue dog helped her successfully battle lifelong alcoholism and rebuild her life.
posted by susanvance at 11:37 AM on November 25, 2009

I'm the opposite. I can't bear to read this sort of thing, which is why I still can't pick up Walking With Zeke even though my boyfriend wrote it. (Mods, feel free to delete if this is too self-linky.)

I have it on good authority that it's wonderfully, weepily cathartic.


(See?! I can't even write about it!)
posted by Space Kitty at 5:47 PM on November 25, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, the 'to buy' list just got significantly longer!
posted by Pippi Longstocking at 11:39 PM on November 25, 2009

Time Traveler's Wife. It's worse the second time around because you know what's going to happen.
posted by like_neon at 4:40 AM on November 26, 2009

Urgh, sorry! I read way too fast and didn't see that you wanted stuff about dogs.
posted by like_neon at 4:41 AM on November 26, 2009

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