Dogs are like coffee—not exactly rare, but nonetheless incredibly wonderful and never tiresome. It is absolutely delightful to encounter a cute and friendly dog as you go about your daily business, a highlight of the day second only to the next time you encounter a cute and friendly dog. Us humans and those canines are inexorably linked forever by some kind of bond, to the point where if we can’t pet ‘em, we’ll read about ‘em. Here are some of the most memorable dogs from books. They’re very good dogs. Yes they are! Yes they are!
1.TockThe Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton JusterBuy it from Amazon
Tock is a watchdog. Like, literally, he’s a watchdog, in that he has a working, stopwatch style-clock embedded inside of him. (So he’s not only a dog, he’s also a robot, which is somehow even better.) He escorts our young protagonist Milo through his journey to the Kingdom of Wisdom, one filled with puns, wordplay, and allegory. A faithful companion who also delivers wise and even sarcastic riddles? Best dog ever!
2.Fang Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. RowlingBuy it from Amazon
You’ve got to be a pretty sweet dog to hang out with Hagrid, the also sweet gamekeeper at Hogwarts. Of course, because Hagrid is gigantic, so too is Fang—even for a bull mastiff. But like many dogs magical or non-magical, huge or not-huge, Fang is loyal and affectionate to the point where it’s overwhelming. In fact, he slobbers so much that you just might get wet reading J.K. Rowling’s very first Harry Potter book.
3.Old Dan and Little Ann Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson RawlsBuy it from Amazon
For some kids, their definitive pop culture moment involving trauma and animals is when Bambi’s mom is shot by a hunter in Bambi. For other kids, it’s reading a classic, coming-of-age novel in which a dog figures prominently—because they all seem to end in the same sad way. (Let’s put it this way: Old Yeller doesn’t get to be that old…and he stops yelling.) But let’s not talk about the inevitable ending of Where the Red Fern Grows, let’s instead talk about the other 95 percent of Wilson Rawls’ deeply moving tale about a boy named Billy and his bond with two hunting hounds named Old Dan and Little Ann. Boy oh boy does that boy love his affectionate and talented dogs…which makes the ending hurt all the worse. (Sorry. It couldn’t be avoided.)