Dogs and their relationships with humans have always been popular story fodder, but in recent years, a new type of dog tale has emerged: the pet memoir. Following in the pawprints of bestsellers like “Marley and Me,” these canine chronicles sometimes tell us more about human nature than man’s best friend, but they prove that dogs can often teach us a thing or two about life.


"Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love"

In 2002, Larry Levin and his adopted twin sons took their terminally ill cat to the vet to be euthanized and ended up taking home the ugliest dog they’d ever seen. Oogy, a puppy who’d been used as bait in dog fights, was missing an ear and covered in scar tissue, but the Levins brought him into their home and made him part of the family.


"A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog"

Best-selling novelist Dean Koontz’s life was transformed when he adopted a retired service dog named Trixie. The canine had a profound impact on Koontz’s life, persuading him to work less, play more and live in the moment.


"Uggie: My Story"

In this tongue-and-cheek book about the canine star of “The Artist,” Uggie shares his first-person (first-dog?) account of working in show business. Dedicated to his “Water for Elephants” co-star and celebrity crush Reese Witherspoon, the Jack Russell terrier's book reveals a few shocking secrets about his past, including the time he got drunk off a glass of champagne he found on the floor.


"Giant George: Life with the World's Biggest Dog"

In 2006, Dave and Christie Nasser adopted a Great Dane puppy — the runt of his litter — and watched him grow into the tallest dog in the world. Standing at almost 5 feet tall and 7 feet long, Giant George was declared the tallest dog ever by the Guinness Book of World Records, and in this memoir his owners share the story of their love for each other and how they adapted their home to accommodate their gentle giant of a dog.


"Bad Dog (A Love story)"

Marty was a high-functioning alcoholic on the verge of losing his job and his wife. In an attempt to get his life — and his dog, Hola — under control, he enters the world of competitive dog training and attempts to get Hola and himself through the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen test.



"Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him"

This is a tale of two wounded souls — a U.S. Army captain struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and a golden retriever who found it difficult to trust anyone — who finally find peace in each other.


"You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness"

Single and looking for love, Julie Klam finally found it when she met Otto, her first in a long line of Boston terriers. Otto and the rest of her dogs taught Klam how to open her heart and her home up to love and transformed her into an entirely different person.


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Laura Moss writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

Dog memoirs worth a read
The best pet memoirs sometimes tell us more about human nature than man’s best friend, but they prove that dogs can often teach us a thing or two about life.