It's a Dog's Life

How do you know you are reading a really enjoyable novel? I judge a book by how much sleep deprivation  I'm willing to deal with in order to finish. I just finished a read about a dog that I couldn’t put down. The dog is the narrator. After he dies, he is reincarnated, several times, actually. He's highly motivated and is eager to please his human family members. He continues to improve through each of his reincarnations and has memory of each of his past lives. In each reincarnation he tries to find his true calling in life, thus the title, A Dog’s Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron.
He starts out as a sort of junkyard dog, and has a rather short hardscrabble life. His situation gets better in his next life and in each subsequent life his soul evolves into the dog he has always wanted to become.

For a bit of humor, you might try Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter, by Lisa Patton. The dog in this story is not a main character, but she plays an important role in the book. Her name is Princess Grace Kelly and she just seems to have a knack for “misbehaving” at just the right moment. Anyway, as the story goes, Leelee Satterfield’s husband decides that the whole family, including Princess Grace, should leave Leelee’s beloved Memphis and move to Vermont to run a bed and breakfast inn. Although Leelee is not happy about the move, she goes along with her husband’s plan. Soon, the story moves into the “fish out of water” category for Leelee. Vermont life is hard for a Southern girl like Leelee to get used to, but she perseveres and begins to deal with the new “pond” she is thrown into. Her transformation into a savvy businesswoman along the way and her acquisition of a tougher exterior are rewarding. All along the way, Princess Grace keeps Leelee company and helps her cope.

For a more serious story, try Cold Train Coming, by Larry Barkdull. The novel takes place during World War Two in Montana. It's a coming of age story about thirteen-year-old Ben, who is in love with an “older woman”. At the same time the novel is a heartwarming story of a dog who is very loyal to his owner even though the owner has passed away. The dog doesn't understand that the owner is not coming back. You see, the man’s casket was put on one of the trains to be buried elsewhere. The dog knows that the man went away on the train and expects the man to come back to town so that they can resume life as usual. He goes to the train station every day for six years with hope in his heart. People try to befriend the dog, but the dog wants nothing to do with them. Ben comes closest to forming a bond with the dog.

Enjoy these three dog stories for upcoming "three dog nights" this winter.