Last Saturday author Greg Kincaid was at The Book Barn for a chat and book signing for his most recent novel “A Christmas Home.” Kincaid resides in the Kansas City area and has written two other Christmas-themed, dog stories: “Dog named Christmas” (2008) and “Christmas with Tucker” (2010). All three of these tales are touching and heartwarming…and will cause a few tears for most folks. They make great gifts for all ages. Reading these books started me thinking about the abundance of dog-themed stories that are available. Many of these are ones that I read many years ago. These still have relevance and are a great read. Unless you are in my generation, you have probably heard of these stories but have not read them. Here are a few recommendations: “Lassie Come Home” by Eric Knight is a classic. The book is better than the movie. “Old Yeller” by Fred Gipson is the tale of a stray yellow mongrel dog that is taken in by a struggling ranch family in the 1860’s and the impact he has on the lives of the family, especially the young boy. It, of course, has a sad ending as most dog tales do. “Sounder” by William H. Armstrong is a narration about the complicated life of a poor sharecropper family and their dog Sounder. The father is arrested and Sounder is shot by the police and disappears for a long time and the young son searches for him and the father. Eventually they all are reunited. The ending is sad and uplifting at the same time. The James Herriot series of stories are always wonderful. Veterinarian Herriot shares stories of his "patients" and their owners. Each chapter is a different story that will lift your spirits as well as m???ake you laugh and cry. Our family always remembers the times when I would read Herriot stories to the kids when we were on long road trips. The only problem was, that too often, I was unable to go on when there were sad moments. I would look back at the children and see three tear-streaked faces waiting for me to continue. “Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life, as an Animal Surgeon” by Nick Trout is another tale of a veterinarian’s life. In this case, it covers one day in the life of a surgeon working at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston treating urgent emergency trauma cases. It begins with a call in the wee hours of the morning and ends with another call in the wee hours of the next morning. There are many books available about dealing with the loss of a pet. Most are geared toward children. “I'll Always Love You” by Hans Wilhelm is highly recommended along with “A Little Dog Like You” by Rosemary Sutcliff. A favorite of mine is a picture book “Dog Heaven.” It and its companion book “Cat Heaven” show a heaven where the pet is whole and healthy again and all of their favorite things are there. There are so many sweet and charming books for young readers that it is hard to make a recommendation. “Good Dog Carl” by Alexandra Day is about a baby-sitting Rottweiler. “Dog Breath: the Horrible Trouble with Hally Tosis” by Dav Pilkey for ages 3-6 is just about what the title says and of course the dog saves the day. “I Don't Want a Posh Dog” by Emma Dodd is told in simple rhyming couplets for 4-8 year-olds. “Wrapped in Love” by Jan Johnston for ages 3-6 is about nighttime fears that a dog experiences and how he overcomes his fears as he is taught that he is “wrapped in love”. A final recommendation of an inspirational book for all ages is “Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love” is a true story by Larry Levin about a dog with scars and mutilations from being used as a “bait” dog in fighting, who has kept his gentle trusting nature and thus has an impact on his adoptive family and all emotionally and physically scarred people. Anne Divine is a long time member of LAWS and has volunteered at Animal Control for 18 years. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.