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New Books for Dog Lovers

There’s little better than curling up with a good book—except, perhaps, curling up with a good dog book with your dog curled up at your side. These new releases range from guides and manuals to photography books, memoirs, and a touching children’s book. They’ll have you laughing, crying, and whooping with joy. Inspiring and thoughtful, well-researched, and just plain fun, these books are worth picking up for yourself or a dog-loving friend this holiday season.

big-being-a-dogBeing a Dog: The World From You Dog’s Point of View by Karen Wild
Animal behaviorist Karen Wild, the author, considers everything—from seeing and smelling to tasting and hearing—from the dog’s point of view in this information-packed handbook that follows the life stages of dogs from puppyhood to their senior years. It’s a little strange getting used to “you” meaning your dog, not you. But this text-concise tome is full of charts, info graphics, and detailed illustrations to explain concepts as varied as breadth of vision and kinesthetic sensory systems. It touches on training, communication, genetics, emotions, and then some. The writing is straightforward and easy to understand and can help you better understand why your dog does what he does. There are many interesting facts—like what wagging a tail left and right usually signify—sure to delight dog owners who want to learn more about their canine companions. (Firefly Books Ltd., 2016, $19.95, 192 pp.)

What to Expect When Adopting a Dog: A Guide to Successful Adoption for Every Family by Diane Rose-Solomon
Dog rescue advocate and educator Diane Rose-Solomon puts out a comprehensive how-to manual for a successful dog adoption. She breaks the notion into five modules, moving from first steps and sources for obtaining a dog, such as shelters and rescues, to preparing the home, seamless household and family integration, and advanced doggie parenting. Blog, article, and product links are copious for every module, so a prospective new dog parent won’t be overwhelmed or lost along the complex road to dog parenthood. This sums up the author’s point of view succinctly: “Dogs are pretty amazing. They don’t care where you live, your financial or marital status or what you look like. They want to give and receive love. Pretty basic. It is really quite magical. Enjoy the journey.” (SOP3 Publishing, 2016, $14.99, 179 pp.)

Travel With Dogs: Essential Advice and Tips for Travel With Your Pooch by Janine Eberle and illustrated by Jess Golden
If you’re planning a trip with your dog soon, you might want to pick up this fun, little book by Lonely Planet, the travel-guide publishing kings. Janine Eberle boils down helpful travel related information into useful nuggets that will keep you and your pooch happy, healthy, and entertained on the road, in the air, on the rails, and on the ground. It’s a compendium of common-sense advice as well as a handbook of travel-savvy tips that can steer you in the right direction before you leave and keep you on the right path when you’re gone. Original illustrations by Jess Golden add a whimsical touch since she plops pups in sidecars and bone-shaped hotel pools and depicts them piloting planes and punching train tickets. Writer and illustrator are terrier owners. (Lonely Planet, 2016, $11.99, 128 pp.)

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Flying Dogs by Julia Christie
This book of color photographs of “flying dogs” is the best of the bunch this year. Photographer Julia Christie, owner of Frisbee-fond pup Flinn, catches 120 dogs mid-air, arms sometimes outstretched, eyes occasionally wild with surprise, ears akimbo, tails twisted, and fur usually flying, thanks to a wind machine. Doberman pinchers and Dalmatians, poodles and Poms, hounds and hairless cuties from fluffy to sleek grace the pages against solid backdrops in airborne poses in images that will lift your spirits. Big, small, beautiful, and scrappy, these fearless fliers come in all colors, shapes, and sizes in photos that let their athleticism shine through. Don’t worry, by the way: No dogs were hurt making the book. In fact, the photographer had owners drop their pooches from minimal heights onto a well-padded mattress and most often got the best expressions on the first try. (Touchstone, 2016, $14.99, 123 pp.)

Unconditional: Older Dogs, Deeper Love by Jane Sobel Klonsky
Photographer Jane Sobel Klonsky, a longtime dog lover, crisscrossed the country in search of heartwarming tales about humans and their senior pooches and puts them together in this photo-centric coffee table book. Beautiful pictures, beautiful stories. The stars are often gray-muzzled Chihuahuas, retrievers, mutts, border collies, spaniels, mastiffs, cattle dogs, and more, with the furry friends smiling, high-fiving, cuddling, squinting, trotting, and licking their way through the pages. The people, dogs, and their devotion are apparent in every photograph and in each bit of prose. The dedication reads in part, “This book is dedicated to all the beloved dogs who have left us but are still in our hearts and remain with us in spirit.” That means you better get the tissue ready. Then show your own oldster how much she means to you. (National Geographic Books, 2016, $19.95, 208 pp.)

Unlikely Friendships: Dogs – 37 Stories of Canine Compassion and Courage by Jennifer S. Holland
This handsome book by Jennifer S. Holland outlines 37 stories of unusual friendships between dogs and other species as well as a few instances of how dogs saved the day for a humans. A few of the unlikely animal pairings include a former junkyard dog and a goose, a chameleon and a Lab, a pug and a coyote, a fox and a hound, and a pit bull and a tortoise. The photographs are downright adorable: For instance, the cover features a golden retriever nestled up with birds and a hamster. Then there’s Ingo the Belgian Malinois holding a stick in his mouth with Poldi the pygmy owl perched on it while in later pages Laska the Harzer Fuchs licks Tirza the roe deer, enjoys a hug from Frodo the orphaned raccoon, and grooms a pair of boar piglets. Stories of human-dog relationships and fun factoids make this uplifting book a keeper. (Workman Publishing, 2016, $13.95, 237 pp.)

Sit Stay Heal: How an Underachieving Labrador Won Our Hearts and Brought Us Together by Mel C. Miskimen
The author, Mel C. Miskimen, writes a witty memoir about her goofy Labrador retriever Seamus, a full-of-energy lively lug with a mind of his own, and, it turns out, an uncanny ability to bring the family together. The story begins with the declining health of Miskimen’s aging mother, the key to a complex family. Her death sends her loved ones into a tailspin. After her mother’s death, Miskimen and her father are feeling hopeless and lost, so daughter and father, a retired cop who knows his way around the dog-retrieving world, focus their attention on the animated Seamus, an overachiever apparently when it comes to stirring up chaos and trouble. Miskimen, an empty nester, has an informal talkative style that will hook you immediately in this charming tale of loss and healing with humor sprinkled profusely throughout. (Sourcebooks, 2016, $15.99, 285 pp.)

Sled Dog Dachshund by Laura Atkins and illustrations by An Phan
This is a perfect bedtime story for kids, ages 5 to 7. It’s the tale of plucky sled dog wannabe, Jasper, a dachshund that’s a wee too small to be able to fit into a sled harness. But this puny little guy with a strong bark, good intentions, and a big heart won’t stand down and does his part to inspire the team to greatness in the world’s biggest sled race. The author, a writer, teacher, and children’s book editor, is an Oakland resident. The illustrator lives in Vietnam. (Traitor Dachshund, 2016, $14.99, 32 pp.)