Non-Fic Picks: Dogs

Posted Sep 9, 2016

Every dog has its day, but this week’s #FridayReads is dedicated solely to dogs.  Check out some of the heart-warming (and true) stories about man’s best friend.  

A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the Good Life from an Unlikely Teacher by Sue Halpren

After Sue Halpren’s daughter leaves for college, she and her Labradoodle, Pranksy, set out on an adventure of their own.  After completing dog therapy classes, Halpren and Pranksy begin visiting a nursing home once a week, and Halpren quickly experiences a transformation like none other.  Pranksy is affectionate, patient, and compassionate with all the residents he visits, and the kindness he exhibits affects both the person he is visiting as well as his owner.  Instead of depression, memory loss, and death, Halpren begins to focus on hope, fortitude, and empathy.  There’s good things in all stages of life, and Halpern explores it with joy, wisdom, and animal intelligence.    

George the Dog, John the Artist: A Rescue Story by John Dolan

Growing up in East London was not easy for John Dolan.  As a child he experienced abuse, neglect, and poverty, and later as an adult turned to drugs and petty crime which eventually landed Dolan in prison.  Upon his release, Dolan lived on the streets, desolate until he met George, a Staffordshire bull terrier who was also abused and neglected.  This proved to be a turning point for both Dolan and George; the two were inseparable and Dolan started to sketch his four-legged companion.  In George, Dolan found comfort, inspiration, and happiness, and soon opportunity came knocking – Dolan’s drawings were featured in a successful solo gallery show.  George the Dog, John the Artist illustrates the power of unconditional love in a charming story of dogs, self-help, and emerging art.  

Off the Leash: A Year at the Dog Park by Matthew Gilbert

Boston Globe TV critic and first time dog owner Matthew Gilbert gets a crash course in canine etiquette and dog park subculture after he and his wife adopt Toby, a yellow Labrador puppy.  As an introvert, Gilbert was reluctant to veer from seclusion, but he soon found himself and Toby at Amory Park, a well-known dog park near Fenway Park.  With offbeat dog owners, Gilbert eventually embraced the group, discovering a microcosm of feelings and personalities, and daily meetings mimicked group therapy sessions.  From fighting, frolicking, and romance, friendships formed among dogs and their owners, Off the Leash is a sweet, witty ode of community and the relationships between man and dog.           

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