help me find a beloved book from my youth
August 10, 2010 2:39 PM   Subscribe

(book filter) A young boy befriends a tallking dog who is actually an alien from outer space.

When I was a wee teenager back in the late 70's I read a book about a boy and his dog. The dog would talk to the boy and it turned out the dog was an alien from outer space and was trying to go back home, somewhere in outer space. In the end the dog left earth and I remember crying over the boy's loss. I could swear the title was "Dog Gone" or something similiar but I have never been able to locate it. Any help would be phenomenal!
posted by TLCplz to Media & Arts (13 answers total)
Your description kinda sorta reminds me of Rusty's Spaceship, a book I loved as a kid in the early 1970s. The only thing is, in this book the dog wasn't the alien, but he did go along on the journey with the boy and his sister through outer space. An alien arrived in their back yard while they were constructing a makeship rocket ship (it seems to me he looked like a short little man dressed in an overcoat and hat at first and then revealed himself to be an alien from outer space who was lost on Earth.) He was able to make the kids' space ship actually fly and they visited each planet in the solar system looking for this alien's home.
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:49 PM on August 10, 2010

Did the alien dog have extra legs?
posted by elle.jeezy at 2:53 PM on August 10, 2010

Sounds kind of like Diana Wynne Jones' Dogsbody, but the human protagonist is a girl rather than a boy, and the dog isn't exactly an alien per se as much as he is the soul of a star incarnated on earth as a dog as punishment for the murder of another star. One of my favorites as a kid - wish I knew where my copy has run off to.
posted by MShades at 3:00 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

The dog did not have extra legs. He was a normal dog to everyone else except the boy. They didn't travel together but I kind of remember that the boy might have aided in the dogs pursuit somehow.. lol.. not a lot of help.
posted by TLCplz at 3:02 PM on August 10, 2010

Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones (published mid-70s) is about an alien who is the star Sirius, and is exiled to Earth in the form of a dog. He's trying to leave to become a star again, and at the end does so. The main human character is a girl, although she does have a younger brother.

Or on preview - what MShades said.
posted by siskin at 3:03 PM on August 10, 2010

Maybe it was Dogsbody. I don't remember that much fantasy, but I might order it from Amazon just to see.
posted by TLCplz at 3:09 PM on August 10, 2010

Nthing Dogsbody, which I enjoyed very much as a child and when I reread it recently. It's back in print, so it should be easy to get at your local library as well as on Amazon.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:27 PM on August 10, 2010

Space Dog and Roy?
posted by dzaz at 3:44 PM on August 10, 2010

I ordered a used copy of Dogsbody from Amazon. The more I roll the title over my tongue, the more familiar it becomes. I'm really looking forward to reading it again. Thanks everyone. I love this place.
posted by TLCplz at 3:49 PM on August 10, 2010

Your description made me think of the Paul Auster book Timbuktu (originally published 1999). Probably not the book you have in mind, but the similar subject might make it a worthwhile read. Paul Auster is a stunningly inventive writer probably best known for The New York Trilogy.
posted by petitemom at 4:35 PM on August 10, 2010

Is it Star Dog? Some of the details don't match, but the gist (boy finds a space-dog that only speaks to him) is the same.
posted by vorfeed at 7:46 PM on August 10, 2010

I believe vorfeed has it, though I'm a little miffed that I Googled star dog and did not find it in a number of pages.

The star dog is an earth/alien hybrid; a ship crashes and as his last act an alien dog mates with an earth dog in heat.

The alien dog had hands, which makes me believe elle.jeezy was thinking of the proper book after all, yet his offspring does not.

The star dog only talks to the earth boy (out of loyalty?), but telepathic dogs are enormously valuable to the alien civilization, which comes to collect him.

The dog won't communicate with them (can't?) so they take the boy along too, as the honored interpreter of the dog.

I thought it was alot of fun.
posted by jamjam at 11:46 PM on August 10, 2010

yes, jamjam, that is the book i remember.
posted by elle.jeezy at 5:34 AM on August 11, 2010

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