rescue dog

25 Heartwarming Children's Books About Rescue Dogs

ladybug girl and the rescue dogs

Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs

Many of us can relate to Ladybug Girl and her friends who want to adopt every dog from the local shelter.  While this is not realistic, this dog-loving girl and her friends are determined to find homes for all the lonely pups. While they busy themselves brushing the dogs' hair and fetching them water, the crew puts the perfect plan in place to match the dogs with owners who will love them forever. 


Heartwarming Children's Books About Rescue Dogs

Rescuing a dog from a shelter is one of the most rewarding experiences for a family. It's an opportunity to provide a new life for a sad, lonely soul who was left behind by an owner or perhaps living a hard life on the streets. The stories in these children's books about dog adoption all share one thing in common- the undeniable love between a dog and its human. So if you are thinking about rescuing a dog, these wonderful books will assure you that you are making the right decision. And for families who have recently lost a beloved dog and are looking for a new furry companion, they may just find the pup is the one doing the rescuing.


mr scruff

Mr. Scruff

In this charming book, a dog named Mr. Scruff awaits patiently in the shelter for his forever owner. Lots of other pups have found their owners/soulmates, and usually it's love at first sight. In fact, the connection is so strong that their names rhyme and they even look alike. When a boy named Jim shows up one day, his name doesn't match, and he certainly doesn't look like Mr. Scruff. Nonetheless, these two are made for each other in this heartwarming children's book about a rescue dog.



the berenstain bears' pet rescue

The Berenstain Bears' Pet Rescue

You can always count on the Berenstain Bears to teach readers an important lesson. In this story, Brother and Sister visit a pet shelter. There they learn all about the importance of adopting rescue pets and the special attention these animals require. The cubs learn how to take care of the animals and the patience needed to help them establish trust. For families preparing to add a furry member, this is an excellent book about adopting shelter dogs to get your little ones ready.



the stray dog

The Stray Dog

A Caldecott Honor Book and New York Times Best Illustrated Book, this endearing story will capture the hearts of anyone who reads it. A family is enjoying a picnic in the park when then come across a stray dog. They play with the puppy, named Willy, and when they return home they can't seem to get him off their minds. So they return to the same spot the next week, hoping to find their furry friend. Unfortunately, a dog catcher is after sweet Willy, so the family acts quickly to rescue the pup and give him his forever home.



<home sweet forever home

Home Sweet Forever Home (The Invincible Girls Club)

This first installment in a chapter book series for young readers is perfect for dog-lovers. A group of best friends, Lauren, Ruby, Myka, and Emelyn, devise a plan to help the elderly, less desirable dogs from the local shelter get adopted. They put their marketing skills to the test when they advertise a gourmet cupcake party at the shelter. They hope to attract a large audience who will fall in love with the furry critters. But when everything seems to go wrong on the day of the event, The Invincible Girls Club has to find a way to save the day.




An uplifting story about a three-legged doggy who approaches life with a glass-half-full attitude. His sunny disposition is key to his survival as a street pup, and he meets plenty of strangers willing to hand out food. Readers will love to follow his route on a map. Three finally makes his way out to the country and into the arms of a quirky girl with a big heart. A truly moving children's book about dog adoption that has received wide critical acclaim.



tails from the animal shelter

Tails from the Animal Shelter

An award-winning non-fiction book about animals shelters for children. The backstories of ten different animals are shared, including that of a handicapped dog, in this tear jerker that will motivate you to go out and adopt. Moving poetry delivers a powerful message about the overwhelming need to help these furry friends. This dog adoption book is full of information about how many animals end up in shelters, all the resources required to care for them, and the need for permanent, loving homes for all of these animals.

harry the homeless puppy

Harry the Homeless Puppy

 The Rescue Pet Adventures series is a collection of easy, adorable chapter books for kids who love animals. In this story, Harry's days in the shelter are brightened by daily visits from Grace. She take care of Harry and takes him on frequent walks in the sunshine. Then one day, Harry is adopted by a family. While this is a happy event, Harry and Grace sure so miss each other! A heartwarming story about an adopted puppy who learns how to transition into his forever home.



let's get a pup said kate

"Let's Get a Pup!" Said Kate

 The biggest dilemma families when they visit animal shelters is how to pick just one! In this charming story, Kate and her parents settle on Dave, who is the perfect petite size with a delightful personality to match. But then they discover Rosy, an older, larger dog, but lovable just the same. Children will enjoy this endearing story about pet adoption with a surprise ending.



felipe and claudette

Felipe and Claudette

This pair is highly unlikely to get adopted, and each blames the other for this unfortunate situation. Felipe and Claudette have sat by and watched numerous furry friends find forever homes. But everyone who stops by the shelter passes right by these two. Felipe is quite possibly the grumpiest cat you have ever met. And Claudette, well, let's just say he's not the calmest, best-behaved pup. Then luck changes for the better and one of these fur friends is whisked away by a new family, and the other is left behind desolate and alone. After much introspection, both Felipe and Claudette discover the meaning of home and realize they had everything they needed all along.



i want a dog

I Want a Dog

 The Copley County Animal Shelter is no ordinary animal rescue facility. Here you will find an iguana, an aardvark, a weasel, and even a goose! But what's a little girl to do when she arrives with a wagon with plans to adopt a plain old puppy dog? Little readers will get a kick out of this humorous animal adoption book with a very happy ending.





All a little street dog wants is someplace to call home. Poor Perdu is doing his best to make it on the streets of a busy city where everyone sees him as a nuisance. His legs are tired and his tummy is empty, but no one seems to care. One day when he loses his only possession, a ratty kerchief, a little girl retrieves it for him. Her kindness doesn't end there in this moving book about a street dog who deserves a family.



i'll be your dog

I'll Be Your Dog

 Every day offers a brand new opportunity to find a family for a group of shelter dogs. A variety of dog breeds share their highs and lows as they wait to be adopted. Winnie the Wolfhound, Sue the Shih Tzu, and Peter the Pug are all scooped up. When will the day come for Retriever Reg to finally go home? Adorable, rhyming read-aloud perfect for kids looking to adopt a dog of their own. Lots of bonus material about dog breeds and animal shelters to help anyone looking to adopt a dog.



madeline finn and the shelter dog

Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog

Madeline Finn first fell in love with dogs when she met Bonnie, Mrs. Dimple's  library dog. She convinced her mother to adopt a pup from Bonnie's litter, and she named her Star. When Mrs. Dimple tells Madeline about all the dogs in shelters, the little girl knows she has to do something. So she and Star make it their mission to visit, love, and care for all the local animals waiting for their forever homes. Madeline rallies her entire community to make a difference in the lives of these abandoned pets. An engaging story with a valuable message.


before you were mine

Before You Were Mine

Anyone who has ever adopted a dog certainly wondered what life was like in the previous home. In this heartwarming book about dog adoption, a little boy ponders all of the possibilities. Was the puppy too mischievous? Did the previous owners move away? Was the poor doggy treated badly? He finally comes to the conclusion that the loving home he will provide for his rescue dog forever and ever is what counts.



the porch puppy

The Porch Puppy

A touching chapter book for beginners about a border collie who is abandoned on the steps of an animal rescue center. The team quickly gets to work nursing the pup back to health, and then investigating what happened in the first place. A sweet book about the importance of taking good care of our dogs and the value in adopting from a shelter. 



it's raining pups and dogs

It's Raining Pups and Dogs!

A very informative children's book about the importance of spaying dogs to avoid overpopulation. Lauren wanted her dog, Scout, to have puppies, so she was understandably upset when her father had him neutered. He takes Lauren to visit the local animal shelter so she can see firsthand the number of dogs waiting to be adopted, many of which may never find a home.  

can i be your dog

Can I Be Your Dog?

Sometimes a dog has to take matters into his own paws! In this New York Times Bestseller, Arfie is tired of living in a box down an alley. So he embarks on a letter writing campaign, pleading with every resident on Butternut Street. In eash of his carefully scripted notes, Arfie details his attributes, like his willingness to get along with cats. Finally his efforts pay off when an unlikely human takes Arfie seriously and offers a place to call home.



webster tale of an outlaw

Webster: Tale of an Outlaw

Webster is a tough, independent dog who needs no friends, animal or human. No one will ever adopt him and that's just fine with him. He spends his days waiting for the perfect opportunity to escape from the shelter and live his life alone on the streets. But eventually his tough exterior begins to crack, and he finds a soft spot for Jack the Terrier and Florence the Cat. As his soft side begins to surface, readers will be eager to find out if Webster eventually finds a real home. A chapter book about dog adoption that will melt your heart.



rescuing reed the little dog who could

Rescuing Reed: The Little Dog Who Could

 This is the story of Reed, a scrappy dog who has learned survival skills living on the streets. He has spent his whole life trying to evade the dog catchers, but one day his luck fall short. Reed is sent to live in an animal shelter which he finds to be a lonely and sad place. All of that changes one day when a loving shelter volunteer takes a special interest in Reed and gives him a renewed sense of purpse.  A moving story of survival and second chances. Readers everywhere highly recommend this children's book about rescue dogs.



found dogs

Found Dogs

A charming dog adoption book perfect for preschoolers! Join a little boy as he counts all the dogs waiting to be adopted. Toddlers will love counting backwards as each of the adorable, feisty pups finds a home until there are none left in the shelter. Funny pictures and a bouncy little rhyme work well together in this picture book about animals shelters for young children.



a dog's life autobiography of a stray

A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray

A gut-wrenching look at life on the streets from the viewpoint of a dog named Squirrel. Born into this world by a stray, Squirrel learned survival skills from the time he was a pup. Separated from his mama and brother, this soulful dog was forced to fend for himself. He survives near starvation, freezing temperatures, and untrustworthy humans before he ultimately finds a loving home. This middle grade novel brings readers to tears before delivering a satisfyingly happy ending.



rocky and daisy go home

Rocky and Daisy Go Home

A 32-page beginner chapter book about a little boy who adopts two pups from an animal shelter. The loving pups, Rocky and Daisy, fondly remember the day they were rescued by Owen. Colorful, cartoonish illustrations help to keep new readers engaged in this children's book about rescue dogs.



curious george and the puppies

Curious George and the Puppies

George just can't help himself sometimes. In this funny story, his curiosity gets the better of him when he visits a dog shelter. At first he just spending time petting the puppies. But then he wants to hold them, but when he opens the door, all the puppies escape. Fortunately, George is clever and devises a plan to rescue all the furry escape artists! A fun page of stickers and bonus activities add to the appeal of this Curious George book about rescue dogs.



sit stay love

Sit, Stay, Love

A sugary sweet coming-of-age novel about Cecilia, a girl whose love for a rescue dog opens her heart and her mind. She falls for Potato, a new dog at the rescue shelter where she works. Her plans for adopting this pup fall through when he is snatched up by Eric, a cute but arrogant boy from school. He has big plans for Potato to perform in a dog show, and Cecilia puts a plan in place to ruin it. A humorous, fast read about a girl, rescue dogs, and first crushes.


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Why Read Kids' Books About Dog Adoption

Recent statistics indicate that about 3.9 dogs enter shelters every year, and of those, 1.5 million are euthanized. Many of these dogs were strays found on the streets, and others were surrendered by owners who could not care for them anymore. A startling finding is that only about 10% of these dogs have been neutered, which further exacerbates the problem of overpopulation.

For this reason, families everywhere are encouraged to "adopt, don't shop" for their new furry family member. For some families, adopting a dog may be their first experience adding a furry friend to the family. For others, adopting a new dog may be simply an addition to a household already filled with cats and other precious pets.

If you choose to adopt a rescue dog, it's a great idea to read children's books about dog adoption to help you prepare your children. These wonderful books about shelter dogs, from cute poodles to scruffy mutts, will open your hearts and minds to the idea of giving a lonely dog a brand new lease on life.

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