Realistic Fiction

Middle Grade Dog Stories

If you have a dog, he’s probably your best friend. You’ll do anything for him. He’ll do anything for you. Dog stories tend to be tear jerkers. When you nearly lose your dog, it’s devastating. These are some of the best books for dog lovers.

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart (2015)


Mark has cancer and he’s exhausted. Exhausted from the treatments and the hurt it causes his parents. Feeling no control over his life, he decides to head off on his own to climb Mt. Ranier with his dog and trusted companion, Beau, at his side. Slightly shorter book and an excellent choice for boys.

Old Yeller by Fred Gipson (1956)


Travis doesn’t want the mangy dog that shows up on his farm, but his mom convinces him to give the dog a try. When his father leaves Travis in charge while he goes to earn money on a cattle drive, Travis and the dog become companions. Old Yeller proves his worth many times over and when the responsibility falls on Travis to end his life, it’s a real tear jerker.

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (2000)


When 10-year-old Opal goes to the local supermarket, Winn-Dixie, to pick up a few items for her dad, she finds an ugly dog on the loose in the store. When the manager threatens to call the pound, Opal steps up and claims it. They become best friends and together traipse around the town all summer making friends everywhere they go.

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin (2014)


Rose is a fifth grader with autism and a father who doesn’t understand her. When he unexpectedly brings home a dog on a rainy night, she names it Rain, and the two become instant companions. When Rain goes missing during a hurricane, she will stop at nothing until she finds her dog. Excellent man’s best friend story with an autistic voice.

Chasing Augustus by Kimberly Newton Fusco (2017)


Rosie’s had to deal with a lot in her short 11-year life. Her mom left when she was a baby, her dad recently had a stroke, her grandfather is annoyed about having to raise her, and her mom gave away her best friend…a dog named Augustus. Rosie is stubborn and determined. She pulls out all the stops to find her beloved dog.

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (1991)


When 11-year-old Marty finds a beagle on the loose, he knows something isn’t right. Upon returning the dog to its owner, Marty realizes the dog is being abused. He begs his dad to let him keep the dog, but his dad refuses. When the dog runs back to Marty again, Marty decides he is going to keep the dog secretly in order to protect him.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (1961)


10-year-old Billy’s greatest wish in life is to have two coon hounds who can be his best hunting buddies. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t cheap and his family is too poor. Billy doesn’t let that stop him. He decides that he will do whatever it takes to raise the money on his own.

A Dog’s Life by Ann M. Martin (2005)


This story is told from the perspective of a dog named Squirrel. When Squirrel’s mom doesn’t return home, Squirrel and her brother, Bone, set out on their own. What follows is a telling of her life on the street, both the good and the bad. Though life starts out rough scavenging for food, finding shelter, and dealing with cruel humans, eventually she finds a forever home.

Wish by Barbara O’Connor (2016)


11-year-old Charlie’s father is in jail and her mother has issues. When she is sent to live with her aunt and uncle she is determined to make things difficult. If only her wish would come true everything would be perfect. Then she meets a friend and a stray dog and realizes maybe she was wishing for the wrong thing all along.



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