Recently, after watching a comedy movie on Hulu called Dog Days, I began to think of all the movies, TV shows, and books that had featured dogs as a central or prominent character over the years. Since around 40 percent of households in America have dogs as pets, it’s not surprising that dogs are a popular subject for entertainment media.
I’ve already seen previews for a new film coming out soon: The Art of Racing in the Rain based on a book by Garth Stein that came out in 2008. It was on the New York Times best seller list for 156 weeks and featured a narrating dog, who tries to prepare himself to come back as a human in his next life. Even though the film rights were sold in 2009 with plans for Patrick Dempsey to star in the film, it took 11 years and a few casting and crew changes for the film to finally be made. Another dog-centered book, A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron came out in 2010 and beat Stein’s book to the movie theatres in 2017. In May of this year, the film A Dog’s Journey was released, based on Cameron’s second book in the series. A Dog’s Purpose, which lasted 49 weeks on the New York Times best seller list, also had a dog narrating the story and dealing with the topic of reincarnation. The marketing for the book and movie made it seem as though Cameron was the first to come up with the novel idea of telling the story from the dog’s point of view, yet this had already been done two years earlier in Garth Stein’s book. Regardless of who had the idea first, both authors have created works that readers and audiences have grown to love.
The WaKeeney Public Library will be featuring a collection of movies and books to celebrate the “dog days” of summer–or at least to keep us inside our air-conditioned houses awhile to read until the heatwaves pass. Patrons can enjoy the recent books A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Journey, and A Dog’s Way Home as well as The Art of Racing in the Rain next to classics like Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, and Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. There will also be a range of children’s hits like Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua series or Homeward Bound along with other family films like Marley and Me with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston and Hachi, A Dog’s Tale starring Richard Gere. The librarians also look forward to helping patrons find any number of non-fiction books we also carry that share information about a human’s best friend.