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Tiny Confessions: The Secret Thoughts of Dogs, Cats, and Everything

Christopher Rozzi

New York City-based comedian and artist Christopher Rozzi’s book Tiny Confessions couldn’t be more charming or right-on. Just try not to smile as you page through illustrations of dogs (and, yes, cats and “everything” too) matched with “confessions” like “I exist in a constant state of possibly unwarranted celebration” and “what you see as dancing is just me desperately trying to eat ham.” Our gift pick of the season.

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Canine Chronicles: 1900-2000, A Century of History’s Most Notable Dogs

Winnie Au, Alice Au Quan, and Cindy Au

This faux history of notable dogs imagines the canine counterparts to figures of historical import (think the never-was childhood canine companion to a young Mark Twain or the imaginary Shiba Inu inspiration behind 80s video game classic, Space Invaders). Decked out in period attire and sets befitting their era (late 70s television sets and wood paneling; a 1920 Coco Chanel get-up of stripes, a boater hat, and the requisite strand of pearls), Winnie Au’s dog models embody their age in charmingly silly-yet-dignified photographs that capture the dogs in all their period glory. Matched to the photographs are made up stories relating these unsung canine figures remarkable contributions to history that children and adults alike will enjoy.

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Dog Songs

Mary Oliver

Anyone who loves dogs and beautifully, deceptively simple language that somehow cuts right to the heart of things, wonderful and true, will delight in this book. Dog Songs, a collection of new and favourite poems from Pulitzer prize winning poet Mary Oliver, is a gift to the heart, one that will prompt smiles of recognition and likely leave you with tear spangled eyes. It feels like being known. This slim tome of poems celebrating the dogs that have enriched the poet’s world is a thing of beauty, a glorious, heartfelt tribute to and reflection on our communion with our canine friends. Highly recommended

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Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

Devoted by author Rebecca Ascher-Walsh presents a collection of inspiring dog stories and touching photos—dogs who comfort veterans, dogs who learn to surf, dogs who detect cancer, and dogs who save the day: Each one is devoted. In all, 38 uplifting dog stories showcase the most amazing dog rescues, accomplishments, and abilities that both fascinate us and touch our hearts.

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Sister Mother Husband Dog (etc.)

Delia Ephron

Delia Ephron’s keenly funny memoir is like sitting down with your best girlfriend to rejoice in and commiserate over all life’s absurdities, pleasures, delights, and challenges. From the joy to be found in the companionship of dogs (and all their weird peccadilloes), to the vital role of bakeries in modern life, straight through to a the challenges of an unconventional upbringing and the devastating loss of a sister, Sister Mother Husband Dog offers hilariously relatable (and sometimes tearinducing) observations on the many roles women assume.

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How Dogs Love Us: a Neuroscientist and his Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain

Gregory Berns

How Dogs Love Us is a fascinating account of neuroscientist Gregory Berns’ and his shy, skinny adopted terrier mix Callie’s journey to glimpse the inner workings of the canine brain. With incredible dedication, Berns sets about the thought to be impossible task of training his dog Callie to sit in an MRI scanner. The hilarious stories of overcoming the hurdles inherent in such a goal are interwoven with the surprising results Bern’s research yields, results that offer profound new evidence of dogs’ social and emotional intelligence, how they empathize with human emotions, how they love us, and why they should be treated with respect and affection.

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Weekends With Daisy

Sharron Kahn Luttrell

With her kids growing up fast, journalist Sharron Kahn Luttrell is jonesing for some puppy love when a chance grocery-store encounter with a dog in training leads her to participate in a weekend program for prison-raised service dogs. This uplifting memoir describes her pairing with an inmate training partner and a Lab puppy the “colour of buttered toast,” a life-changing experience that will test her compassion, forgiveness, and ability to let go.

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Spirit Dogs, Heroes Return

Susan Kelleher

Spirit Dogs, Heroes Return is Kelleher’s third book in her Spirit Dogs Trilogy (Spirit Dogs: Heroes in Heaven was covered in Modern Dog’s Fall 2007 issue while Spirit Dogs: Live Between Lives was covered in the Spring 2008 issue). This engrossing and thought-provoking story about canine afterlife is related through the continuing adventures of five main dog characters who, now back on Earth, find themselves to be living in the same neighborhood. Ivan (the lead character), and his neighbor dogs are once again battling evil forces and through their earth-bound experience further evolve. Ivan’s test on earth was of such magnitude that his earthbound experiences bring him the leadership position when he returns to Dog Heaven. An excellent read especially for anyone who has lost a dog.