Quick, answers these questions as fast as you can….
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Hamburgers or Pizza?
Cats or Dogs?
If you said dogs you may own one of the 78.2 million dogs living in the United States, and if you are anything like I am, then your dog is a member of the family. In these Dog Days of summer where it’s 90 degrees every day, Hubbell and I like to end our walks with ice cream while we lounge in front of the air conditioning. Here are some cool reads featuring awesome canines that will help take your mind off the sweltering temperatures.
What the Dog Said by Randi Reisfeld with HB Gilmour
Shortly after their police officer father is killed in the line of duty, thirteen-year-old Grace’s older sister decides to adopt a dog to train as a service dog for a handicapped child so that she can write about it for her college applications. But, true to form, it is the grief-stricken Grace who ends up taking responsibility for the dog.
Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce (2007 Best Books for Young Adults)
When sixteen-year-old Beka becomes “Puppy,” she is given to two of the toughest “Dogs” in the Capital, who will teach Beka the ropes — if she survives. Beka Cooper uses her police training, natural abilities, and a touch of magic to help them solve the case of a murdered baby in Tortall’s Lower City.
Stargazing Dog by Takahashi Murakami (2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Nominee)
Fed up with his down-and-out life, Daddy sets out in his car to just get away from it all to nowhere in particular. His family and friends have abandoned him. The one companion he can count on completely, his dog, follows him blindly and faithfully to the end.
Notes From the Dog by Gary Paulsen (who also wrote My Life In Dog Years, a Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers)
Fifteen-year-old Finn is a loner, living with his dad and his amazing dog, Dylan. This summer he’s hoping for a job where he doesn’t have to talk to anyone except his pal Matthew. Then Johanna moves in next door. She’s 10 years older, is cool and funny, and she treats Finn as an equal. Dylan loves her, too. Johanna’s dealing with breast cancer, and Matthew and Finn learn to care for her, emotionally and physically. When she hires Finn to create a garden, his gardening ideas backfire comically. But Johanna and the garden help Finn discover his talents for connecting with people.
My Boyfriends’ Dogs by Dandi Daley Mackall
On a stormy night in St. Louis, Bailey Daley finds refuge in an after-hours diner. Bailey, a girl with three dogs in tow, wearing a soaking-wet prom dress, obviously has a story to tell. See, she wants what every girl wants from her boyfriend: enthusiasm, loyalty, and unconditional love. And Bailey is always falling in love — with boys, and with their dogs. And each of her dogs came from a relationship that didn’t quite work out. But don’t worry: in this fun, clean romance, true love is never far away — it just waits until you stop looking for it.
Straydog by Kathe Koja (2007 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)
Rachel is happiest when she’s volunteering at the animal shelter, especially after she meets the feral collie she names Grrl; they’re both angry and alone. When a teacher encourages her to write about it, Rachel finds another outlet for her pain and frustration. But writing about Grrl is much easier than teaching Grrl to trust her. And when Griffin, the new boy in school, devises a plan to spring Grrl from the shelter and bring her home, Rachel finds that the dog isn’t the only one who must learn to trust.
Hopefully these titles have helped you and your dog weather our August heat. If you are ready move from in front of the fan, I’ve included a Hubbell-approved recipe for a chilly treat. Then we can ponder the age old question, “Can a dog get a brain freeze?”
— Laura C. Perenic, currently reading Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik
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