A Heartwarming Look at Canine Inclusivity in Children's Literature

These 7 tail-wagging tales catered to young audiences illustrate the core of canine inclusivity: friendship, acceptance, responsibility, and community.

A Heartwarming Look at Canine Inclusivity in Children's Literature
Canine companionship = childhood joy 

Canine inclusivity looks to celebrate the bond between dogs and humans in all its forms and facets of daily life, exploring how the expansion of pet-friendly policies and public spaces can enrich communities as a whole. The Roch Society champions this cause by raising awareness about responsible pet ownership and envisioning a friendlier world for dogs and their owners.

Beyond a point of advocacy, canine inclusivity is, by and large, a source of joy for all dog lovers, young and old. One medium that does well in capturing the power of canine companionship from childhood is narrative storytelling and illustration. Sometimes dubbed as 'Kidlit,' children's picture books memorably place dogs big and small at center stage to heartwarming ends. So, without further ado, let's take a gander at seven acclaimed dog-friendly reads:

Hot Dog by Doug Salati

It's a scorching summer day and this hot dog is so over it! Tired of weaving through congested city streets and steaming sidewalks, this little dachshund is eager for a change of scenery. Luckily, his owner knows just what to do! Embarking on a summer excursion to the beach, this city-living duo finds renewal by seeking out the ocean breeze.

Hot Dog is a delightful, vibrant, and award-winning tale that beautifully captures canine companionship and reminds us how our dogs can help us cherish the little joys in life and incentivize us to find new, calming spaces to roam free.

Stay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List by Kate Klise

Astrid and senior dog, Eli, have always been best buds. Now that Astrid is growing up (and Eli too), she decides to concoct a bucket list for her furry friend to make a slew of new memories together. From eating at a restaurant with him to taking him down the slides at the playground, Astrid's list is, at its core, an ode to cherishing every moment with our loved ones.

In short, Stay is a celebration of "people who love dogs and dogs who love people." It showcases canine inclusivity in various venues - from libraries to movie theaters - and strikes a powerful emotional chord via the unforgettable bond we share with our childhood pets.

Antoinette by Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson

Part of DiPucchio's "Gaston and Friends" series, Antoinette follows a determined little poodle with three burly bulldog brothers - each with their own special talents. But what makes Antoinette extra special too? When a dog park friend goes missing after chasing a butterfly, Antoinette sets out on a rescue mission and looks to find her heroic spark in the process.

This endearing read is a fun adventure tale for young readers that celebrates diverse dog personalities and dog families. Set in Paris (a very dog-friendly city), Antoinette encourages letting our dogs lead the way (and even save the day) in our communities.

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp

Madeline Finn is not exactly keen on reading. However, she does want a gold star from her teacher. Disheartened about reading out loud, Madeline's confidence starts to wane - at least until she meets Bonnie, a library dog. Bonnie is the perfect, nonjudgmental audience and lets Madeline feel more at ease, teaching her that it's okay to make mistakes.

Inspired by the many existing library dog programs for new readers, this feel-good story showcases libraries as one increasingly popular venue for canine inclusivity, where four-legged therapists offer emotional support and a listening ear to memorable effects.

Piglet Comes Home by Melissa Shapiro, DVM

Author and veterinarian Melissa Shapiro has taken in many disabled rescue dogs in her day. One of them is Piglet, a Dachshund-Chihuahua mix who was born without sight or hearing due to congenital defects. Piglet quickly became an Instagram sensation and inspired this popular children's tale about inclusion and empathy.

This real-life story is perhaps the most heartwarming on our list of 'Kidlit' and is perfect for any readers in need of a hopeful found family narrative. It introduces an important side of canine inclusivity: animal rescue, adoption, rehabilitation, and education.

My Dog Mouse by Eva Lindstrom 

This sweet yet poignant tale translated from the original Swedish spans one leisurely walk with an old dog with floppy ears that our young protagonist calls Mouse. He waddles along slowly and stops to smell everything along the way. She and Mouse always share snacks. Although this sweet senior dog belongs to someone else, this little girl wishes he was hers.

Breaking away from the conventional notion of dog ownership, this wistful story brings to life a powerful and patient form of canine friendship sure to tug on your heartstrings and compel you to take a nice long, relaxing walk with your own pup.

Every Dog in the Neighborhood by Philip C. Stead and Matthew Cordell

Louis sets out to prove to his Grandma that there are never too many dogs in the neighborhood, discovering the diverse array of canine companions living nearby along the way. As he tallies the furry residents, he realizes the true value of community and compassion and finds a particularly endearing pup named Baklava in need of a home, teaching him that sometimes just one more dog is exactly what the neighborhood needs.

This charming read emphasizes the beauty of a community shaped by canine inclusivity, sporting a delightful spread of four-legged friends and the positive connections they foster in a busy neighborhood. Bottom line: dog-friendliness helps build vibrant social communities!

So, what do you think of our list? What are some of your favorite canine book characters? Do you have some canine inclusivity stories of your own? Let us know in the comments below!