The good dog in literature

Canine Culture

My huMom reads a lot. She says literacy is very important. I was curious if any of these books have dogs in them. Turns out there are many famous books with dogs playing big parts in them. Here are some famous books about or with dogs as the main characters.

One of the first dogs in literature was from the book, the Odyssey by Homer. Argos waited for his master to return for twenty years, & was the only one to recognize Odysseus when he returns. Having seen his master safely home, Argos can die at peace, an enduring symbol of fidelity & love.

Though most people probably know Lassie from movies & television, she originated in a 1938 Saturday Evening Post story by Eric Knight, & later expanded into the novel Lassie Come-Home, which chronicles Lassie’s trek to get back to the boy she loves so dearly.

The Call of the wild is considered a classic. Written by Jack London, the main character is a dog named Buck. Stolen from a cushy life on a California ranch, he is sold into sled dog slavery in the harsh north of Canada, where he becomes more beast like than he had ever imagined possible. But when he meets John Thornton, he is reminded just how powerful love can be, even in the face of tragedy.

In L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, Dorothy’s faithful companion is a little dog named Toto. Toto seems to be just a normal dog at first, but in later books, as other animals are revealed to have the ability to speak, Toto finally admits that he can speak too but chooses not to.

Where would Tintin be without his good dog Snowy? Snowy is a goldmine of cynical commentary & fond eye-rolling to Tintin’s happy-go-lucky optimism. Though he sometimes gets distracted by bones, he is excellent at chewing through restraints.

There are many other dogs in literature. I hear a book called the Plague Dogs is an excellent if not disturbing novel. I think a trip to the library is in order.

CEO Olivia

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