Welcome to the Dogs Monthly Book Club. Each month we review our pick of the latest releases, with an opportunity to win for lucky readers! If you would like to enter the prize draw, please email email@example.com with the name of the book you would like to receive in the subject line. Please remember to include your name and full address. Entries close 26 May 2017.
A Dog Like Lloyd by Jacqueline Sheehan
Spotted straying and afraid, with an arrow lodged in his shoulder, a black Labrador with a shadowy past launches this intriguing mystery story, set on the rugged Peaks Island off the coast of Maine, USA. When the summer holidaymakers return to the mainland, it’s up to the permanent residents to pick up the pieces – including the pets left behind.
Among the locals is someone new: Roxanne, who is desperate not to stick out and draw unwanted questions about her past. Recently widowed and grieving, and many miles from home, Roxanne takes on the role of animal control warden, desperate to feel some connection to her late husband, who had been a vet and died young.
One of her first cases is Labrador Lloyd – who shot him, and why? The questions hang over Roxanne as she is forced to care for the dog during his steady recovery. A reluctant partnership at first, Roxanne and Lloyd soon gel, filling the gaps in each other’s lives, even though they know nothing about one an other.
As the New England winter closes in, cracks in the close community are revealed, and Roxanne traces small snippets of information connected to Lloyd. Where they lead, however, will make Roxanne wish she’d never investigated.
A Dog Like Lloyd is a far darker story than the cover suggests; a gripping tale of obsession and personal struggle that’s moving and heart-stopping in equal measure. You’ll need to clear an afternoon for this book – it’s not a story you can dip in and out of.
Choosing the Perfect Puppy by Pippa Mattinson
From the bestselling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook comes a new instalment aimed at those thinking of adding a four-legged friend to their household.
It starts at the very beginning, considering factors such as timing, the emotional and financial costs, the sacrifices you will need to make, and being aware of how a puppy will affect your whole life. It looks at the history of dog breeding, what a pedigree certificate tells you, and the breeder and health checks you need to do before deciding.
There are many sad cases seen in rescues of dogs who’ve been given up as their owners realised the enormity of their new responsibility, which could be a result of choosing the wrong breed, or choosing a puppy when an older dog would have been more appropriate. Puppies need time, patience, socialisation and basic training. Specific groups and breeds have their own characteristics, need different exercise requirements that may not fit into your lifestyle, and may be more susceptible to certain health conditions than others.
The book focuses on some of the more popular breeds in the UK, gives a picture of what living with one of these dogs is like, and examines the different routes of buying a puppy and how to avoid puppy farms.
The balanced, well-researched information in this book will help you make an informed choice about the right dog for you and your family. Although we may have loved that Great Dane we had as a child, there are pros and cons to every breed, crossbreed and mixed breed.
Choosing the Perfect Puppy will equip you with the knowledge you need to make that all-important decision.
Bat Dog's Forever Home by Cara Thurlbourn
Bat Dog is a lonely Lurcher looking for a home. But, come to think of it, she could be a lonely Staffie, a terrier, or just about any kind of dog, because Bat Dog’s story is that of countless dogs of all breeds and sizes across the world – strays looking for a home to call their own.
It’s a situation that author Cara Thurlbourn desperately wants to improve, and the reason why she decided to write this book. Illustrated by Jessica Knight, with Cara’s own dog Molly serving as the model for Bat Dog, this is the heart-warming story of a stray with big ears setting off on a journey to find a family of her own and a warm bed to sleep in.
But finding a home is easier said than done, and Bat Dog has quite a journey to embark on before she runs into the right people to help her. Even then, she’ll have to wait her turn, because she’s far from the only hopeful dog waiting for the right family to walk through the shelter’s door...
This book is ideal for children, and an excellent way to explain to them the plight of stray dogs, without taking away the warm, fuzzy feeling of an uplifting ending. Plus, buying this book can help to make that happy ending a reality: 10 per cent of profits from sales will go to the National Animal Welfare Trust, to help some of the real-life Bat Dogs.
Mister Mushy by Aleksander L Nordaas
Written by Norwegian film writer and director Aleksander L Nordaas, Mister Mushy is quite unlike any dog book you might expect. There’s a medieval town fair, a princess, a fire-spitting beast, but no knight in shining armour, just Mister Mushy, the ugliest dog in the land – so ugly he gets laughed off the stage of the fair’s dog show.
But when it comes to saving the day, you don’t need a pretty face...
Illustrated by Yngvill Hopen, and written entirely in limerick form, this book is about self-worth and friendship, and takes a stand against all kinds of bullying. It makes for a lovely read and a valuable lesson. The printing costs have recently been funded via Kickstarter, so keep an eye out for this one!