Can dog characters from books be among those we remember fondly? Yes, and many fictional stories or memoirs have four-legged characters who left memorable paw-prints on the minds and hearts of readers of ALL AGES.
Here is my list of FIVE great dog characters from fiction and non-fiction books.
1. An all-time favorite: Agatha Christie’s “Dumb Witness: A Hercule Poirot Mystery
I don’t know if it was Bob’s intelligence, the wire fox terrier, his never-ending attachment towards his mistress… or the surprisingly warmhearted side that Hercule Poirot revealed in this detective novel. But this doggo story tops my list. What an amazing canine among all the other book characters!
All dog owners know just how much their canine friends can communicate with them, and how much they understand too. Perhaps it is because of this that I love this tale so much. The assumption that if the dog, Bob, could tell his story, he could actually narrate everything that happened!
There are a few differences between the book and the movie though, such as the location, the time when the action takes place, and, best (and I wish they would have kept this satisfying detail in the movie), who gets to keep Bob in the end! 🙂
What is certain is that whenever I read this book my faith in the humans’ love and understanding towards animals is restored.
2. The miraculous one: Kika & Me: How One Extraordinary Guide Dog Changed My World by Dr Amit Patel
This is an incredible story of what happened after a rare condition casued Amit Patel, who worked as a trauma doctor, to loose his eyesight within 36 hours.
I think this is the kind of terrifying experience none wishes to be faced with. But as anything in life, the question that rises is how we deal with it? The answer here is Kika, a rather suborn guide-dog.
3. The lesser known one: Flush, a Biography by Virginia Woolf
Flush was Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Cocker Spaniel who had an adventurous life, yet he always seemed to find that silver lining. Flush could always “light tomorrow with today.”
Nasty maids, changing masters, fighting mid-19th century gangs, roaming the English countryside as a free dog before attaching himself to his new, young mistress to the point where he even resented Robert Browning – this is a delightful, satisfying read, especially for a Virginia Wolf book. Flush takes center stage in this novelette, but the reader will still catch glimpses at Elizabeth Browning’s life – from the dog’s point of view.
“I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me.”Elizabeth Barrett Browning
4. The one about the War Dog: Joyful Trouble, Based on the True Story of a Dog Enlisted in the Royal Navy by Patricia Furstenberg
When a Great Dane arrives in a Navy base nobody expects him to win everybody’s hearts, while breaking (many) rules along the way.
Honestly, this one books I had the most fun writing!
Joyful Trouble tells the story of Just Nuisance, the only dog ever enlisted in the Royal Navy. Just Nuisance was a Great Dane that served in HMS Afrikander, a shore establishment in Simon’s Town, South Africa, between 1939 and 1944.
Just Nuisance was a pup of only one year old when his owner was put in charge of the United Services Institute in Simon’s Town. It was here, and now, when Nuisance first came in contact with the sailors. Since the mariners fed and played with him, the doggo considered anyone wearing a sailor’s uniform to be a friend. Wouldn’t you? Yet Just Nuisance was a clever dog, and a fast learner too… from taking the train with his sailor’s friends… to entering the Navy.
Free to read with Kindle Unlimited across all Amazon platforms.
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(click on the image)
5. The one I still want to read: How Stella Learned to Talk by Christina Hunger
This is a memoir written by a speech therapist who used some of the methods she applied in her everyday work to help her better communicate with her pet dog, as well as to understand her dog’s needs! How amazingly clever is that?
And the dogs from children’s story books?
I have vivid recollections of growing up reading a lime-green book about a Dachshund named Fridolin, “a happy story for children”, written by German author Franz Caspar. It was a heart-warming tale about a little dog with a brave heart. (I still have this book).
But stories are meant to be passed on from one generation to the next and it works both ways! How else will they survive? My daughter introduced me to Timmy, George’s mongrel from “The Famous Five” by Enid Blyton. Timmy’s a much loved dog, especially by his owner, and he gets to save the children from terrible fates.
My son preferred Scamper, Peter and Janet’s dog, loyal to the “Secret Seven”, a series also by Enid Blyton. Scamper loves all children. Good to know you’ve got a wagging tail always there for you.
I don’t know where Little Tail came from. I suppose I should know, since I wrote about him in my first ever book, “Happy Friends”. I guess he just grew in my heart, his story spinning out of the lives of all the dogs I met and loved throughout my life. I just had to create a dog and put him in a book among other lovable characters! Little Tail is pretty much a do-er and a dream-er; a dog of contrasts. He’s small in size, but has the courage of a lion. He’s curious, yet cautious as he won’t easily venture outside his comfort zone. But above all Little Tail is a devoted friend (true to his canine nature).
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(This is an update of a blog post first published on 21/10/2016)
Which are your most loved book dog heroes?