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Only The Cutest Book I’ve Ever Read NBD

dog

What are you reading these days? The book I’m reading makes me clutch my heart…

First, let me say: Most of my life, I haven’t been a dog person. I’ve always been a little scared and skittish. Even the tiniest ones always seem like they might, at any moment, just turn and bite me. This probably sounds nuts, but there you go.

However! The new book of essays I recently picked up — The Particulars of Peter by Kelly Conaboy — makes my heart swell for all things canine. Kelly writes about her rescue dog, Peter, and all his lovable quirks.

For example, she writes about life before him:

What did I do before Peter? I’m trying to remember. I have to imagine there were things. I did computer, I guess. Typed. Sat alone. Shuffled around the apartment in stockinged feet. Made dinner and ate it while doing, what? Looking at the wall? And who did I feed a noodle to? No one? It’s almost too gruesome to recall.

She writes about his personality:

When he walks down the stairs, at his moderately paced gentleman’s trot, you can tell he’s a bit bowlegged. He has the heart of an angel and the soul of a poet, and there’s a hint of sadness to him that makes you want to protect him against all the world’s harshness… He will sit his big, fat butt on your lap like he’s tiny, when he actually weighs twenty-seven pounds. He’s affectionate, but not needy. ‘He’s just so…kind,’ is how a cousin of mine once described him, and it’s true: he’s just so kind. Also he loves to burrow under the covers, and he loves to sleep with his head on a pillow like a tiny little man.

She writes about buying him gifts:

Now that I know him, my yearnings for what I’d like to provide for him have gotten more precise. I still buy him chew toys, and stuffed things, and beds, and everything else, but I’d really like to buy him something big. Something life-changing. What I’d really like to buy Peter is a laptop. I’ll give you a moment to imagine it. Doesn’t that sounds like the kind of gift he deserves? Expensive, solid, able to compute things. A laptop is a statement gift, a real ‘leveling-up’ sort of purchase. It’s fun, but useful — you can surf the internet, or put together a spreadsheet. It would be an investment in his future. I think about how much I’d like to buy him a laptop with what one might deem an alarming frequency.

How sweet is that? The Particulars of Peter is the perfect pandemic read — a funny, warmhearted, cuddly love story. I’d highly recommend it — even if, like me, you weren’t (until now) a dog person.

What are you reading these days? I’d love to hear…

P.S. What are your top three books, and what’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever read?

(Top photo by J. Danielle Wehunt/Stocksy.)

  1. ari says...

    Sending you love Cristina! Our little rescue barks at ALL other dogs on walks and we’ve had to practice staying “under threshold” etc…we got him at the beginning of quarantine and are really learning his needs! I am thinking of you and definitely have been there! I love thinking that this is helping me to develop even more patience and empathy and love….xoxo

  2. Lisa says...

    A favorite book in our house is “The most magnificent thing” by Ashley Spires. It’s a good reminder for kids (and adults) to take a break and reset. We now have a canine assistant in our house, her name is Alice. We still can’t get over how much better life is with her in it.

  3. Karrie says...

    Our dog, Jak, died in June 2020. He was The most beautiful chocolate Labrador in all the lands. We miss him like crazy. Every time I came home from going anywhere, he would stand at the top of the stairs and smile and dance for me as if he had been missing me his entire life. I know my husband and son love me but they rarely dance for me when I enter a room. Dogs are the best!
    I can’t read anything about pets, though. Usually ends with tears.

    I did just write a list of books to look into based off the comments in this post. Thank you 😊

  4. People who don’t believe in love at first sight haven’t met the right dog.

    I read this somewhere I can’t remember where, but it was true for me. I also wasn’t a dog person and felt exactly like you and in many ways still do. But then I met Rambo and now I am, if not a dog person, definitely a Rambo person and I too would buy him a laptop.

  5. I am a dog person. My 19 year old daughter and I are OBSESSED with our 11 year old dog, Chili Dawg, who we have had since a puppy. The pandemic has made it even worse because he’s been with us 24/7 since March 12, 2020. I thought we couldn’t love him more but I was wrong. Even the thought of him dying (because he is 11 now and I know his years are short) makes me cry. I will buy this book for sure!

  6. Hannah S. says...

    Another great pick me up—for all ages is Underwater Puppies & Underwater Babies—sweet and silky photos that make you smile and spark curiosity!

  7. Katie says...

    Joanna, I just want to say how nice it is to hear a kind, normal person say they are not great with dogs. I too was never raised with dogs and would always shy away from them (I got majorly laughed at as a child for backing away from a neighbor kid’s toy poodle). I am sure that if I ever were to live with a dog, though, I would warm up, and this is not some sort of inherent character flaw. But people often act like it is! I feel like (especially with Trump) there has been a strain of writing that suggests that people who don’t love dogs can’t be kind or humane. So anyway, I am just glad that someone else has ‘fessed up, and glad you enjoyed the read!

  8. K says...

    dogs *can* be dangerous! just like humans!

    so sweet and tender, these passages remind me of two videos about dogs that are some of the most beautiful things i’ve ever watched :

    All About My Dog- Marimo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGQVX8iGbgk

    Milo & Noah https://www.tiktok.com/@miloandnoah/video/6920642421613202693?sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6894625368726062598&is_from_webapp=v1&is_copy_url=0

    a relationship with a dog is so bittersweet. not only because of their much shorter lifespan and eternal innocence, but that we humans have literally bred the most favorable personalities and yet also physically detrimental (ie pugs and dachsunds) traits into these creatures

  9. Becky says...

    After reading a few comments about moms who are guilty about not loving their pets as much post kids, I beg you not to drop them off at a shelter as one comment suggested. There is no guilt if you feel overwhelmed and need to re-home, you are making the best decision for everyone involved. Instead, if you are seriously thinking of not being a pet owner, consider a rescue. They have foster connections, or ask some trusted friends if they know someone looking for a new fur baby. Try a few day and overnight trials if you are doing it on your own. I say this because I have volunteered in both a shelter and now with a rescue. The shelters do their best but it is distressing for many dogs. The dogs don’t come off in the best light and everyone goes in for puppies, totally over looking the middle aged and seniors who are so fabulous. Going from a warm bed to a concrete floor is confusing. Start the process early if it’s something you are really considering, not when you are feeling overwhelmed. You will feel so much better about the decision you make. It’s okay to ask the new owner too for updates, maybe a yearly photo or an occasional email :)

    • Kate says...

      This was so nice to read. We re-homed our dog of eight years when I was completely overwhelmed with two babies, and we took the time to find a local family that was a great fit – and we did keep in touch. I did get a fair amount of guilt tripping, but it was just the only option at the time. Hearing this perspective is really validating – we met and interviewed a few families before picking his new one.

  10. I love dogs and have been so lucky to have a love affair with several diverse breeds/mixes over my seventy plus years. Last year, for kicks, I wrote and submitted a Tiny Love Story about my dog…Sunny for the New York Times. Not Published….but…here it is :)
    I drove from San Francisco to Marin to see Charlie , he wasn’t around when I got there, but his sister Lucy was so I suggested we go for a walk. She was sweet but hesitant so we went for a short one and I headed home. I found myself thinking about her so I called to she if she was around to meet again. This time when I showed up she was really happy to see me and my heart opened. I paid the shelter fee, changed her name to Sunny …. my one so true!

    Also.. A beautiful memoir. so so good. “A Pack of Two” Caroline Knapp

    • Laurie McCall says...

      Jane, having had dogs all 62 years of my life, I was interested in this post. Like most dog lovers, our dogs are family members, who we would never part with willingly. I love Caroline Knapp’s writing and eagerly bought “A Pack of Two” years ago, but I had a hard time reading it because instead of referring to her dog as “she” or “he” she refers to it as “the dog” – almost as if it’s an inanimate object without feelings. Also, someone pointed out to me that she found it odd that I said please and thank you to my dog. What? Why wouldn’t I use the same kind of words with my dog as I would with another person – both are sentient beings!

  11. silly lily says...

    Twenty two years ago I gave in to my son’s begging for a dog. When my “terrified-of-all-things-dog” Mom found out, she confided to my sister-in-law that she would never be able to come to my house again. One week later she arrived to find a four pound pug peeking out of my glass patio door. Love love LOVE at first sight.

    We lost him at the age of 11, and soon acquired another pug puppy. This one was nuts……anyone who knows pugs is nodding as they read this, but seriously, Clem was in a category by himself. After we lost him this summer, my vet commented that he was a great dog. I responded that, no, he wasn’t; he was a mess. But he WAS a great friend.

    Dogs put us in touch with parts of ourselves that might otherwise remain hidden. My dogs have ruined me, in a way (if you’ve ever made the decision to put one down, you know what I mean). But mostly they have made me better at everything I do.

    I still have my rescue dog, a very loving husband and six splendid grandchildren (SO blessed). But I now carry on with a pug shaped hole in my heart, caused by two of the great loves of my life. No regrets.

    • silly lily says...

      COJ readers…..my first comment got lost and I tried to recreate it above…..both ended up being posted, almost identical……sorry for the duplicate!

    • Karrie says...

      I have a lab shaped hole I need my heart, too. ❤️

  12. V says...

    I can’t believe my library only has this in e-book form! I guess I have another excuse to support my bookstore (shout out to East City).

    This post made me try to rank my top five reads from the past year…which was impossible. But some gorgeous/insightful/stayed with me a long time:

    Migrations – amazing (!!) novel about love, loss, and climate change
    On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – basically poetry in a novel form
    Deacon King Kong – a novel about everything, set in Brooklyn
    Girl, Woman, Other – 12 interconnected lives of Black women – stunning
    Catch and Kill – Ronan Farrow’s reporting is so specific, so intensive, so complete
    The Vanishing Half – this book (and Bennett’s first book Mothers) aren’t afraid to GO THERE
    No Visible Bruises – probably one of the most important books I’ve read in the last five years, about the epidemic of gender-based violence – and importantly what can be done

    Yes. So top five is actually seven, but each of these were profound and continue to affect my thinking.

    • Emily says...

      Thank you for ranking and sharing! I’ve read half of your top 7 and LOVED them (On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Deacon King Kong, Girl Woman Other, and Vanishing Half) – so the other 3 are going in my queue right now

      Also, I was a reluctant convert to my library’s ebooks and now its the only way i go!

  13. Ordered! thank you. i love to read and haven’t been able to focus enough to finish a book in months. something funny about a dog sounds like exactly what i need right now. (unless the dog dies in the end… oh if he does, pleasa tell me NOW so i can cancel my order.)

    • No deaths are involved in the making of this book 🙂

  14. Rusty says...

    Joanna, I used to beso fearful of dogs that they could literally smell my fear, line only me up from a gaggle of people and bark and snarl!
    Yikes!😳
    Then, 12 years ago, I began caring for an elderly neighbour who yearned for a small dog, to cuddle and feel the living, breathing warmth of.
    I searched and found a toilet trained puppy Toy Poodle. It was love at first sight for those two! She, Sally, named her poodle Lucette. Lucette used to sit on Sally’s handbag on the post office counter to start with, then Lucette began infiltrating all the local shops! The two of them were a perfect pair.
    There’s a celebration of Sally’s life this Sunday. Alzheimer’s took her three weeks ago. Implanning on sharing some “galavanting” stories from when the three of us went on adventures together.
    I showed my scruffy dawg, Rosie, her eyeless “Duckie” toy Sally gave her when I brought her home. Duckie was Rosie’s first toy from another person.
    It’s because of Sally and Lucette, that I niw LOVE dogs. All dogs, big, cute, fugly and small.
    I will always have a dog. The connection is beyond words.

    Now, for goodness sake, GET THOSE BOYS A DOG!! 🐕🐾🐾

  15. Amanda says...

    I honestly can not even fathom the last year without our little pack: 10-year old Zima the husky mix, 7-year old Hairy Potter the coyote mutt, and 4-year old Alastor Moody the three-legged Siamese who is 100% sure he is a dog.

    When working from home can seem like an endless and slow-moving slog, it is such sweet comfort to feel a heavy dog head rest on my leg, or laugh at their snores as they slumber under the desk. Rather than the old coffee-and-chat breaks we used to take with human coworkers, my husband and I now take cookie breaks – Milk Bones for all our fuzzy coworkers! We often hunt down the cat when we need to stretch our legs, simply to find out what curious position he’s melded himself into this time. And when we do venture out to perform the formerly mundane, but now highly anxiety-riddled act of shopping for groceries, it is always so wonderful to be greeted at the door like long-lost loves that they haven’t seen in years.

    I wouldn’t trade my animals for anything in this world, and I feel so lucky to have had them help me through this season of life.

  16. silly lily says...

    Twenty two years ago, I gave in to my son’s request for a dog, which caused my “terrified of dogs” Mom to confide to my sister-in-law that she would never be able to come to my house again, EVER. One week later she agreed to meet our four pound pug, Kirby. Love, LOVE at first sight, but then again…..if someone doesn’t fall in love with a four pound pug, you might as well write them off for life. In fact, maybe that should be our new standard……love a pug, you’re worth something; fear a pug, leave. Just leave. Of course, I’m kidding. Although not entirely.

    We lost him at the age of eleven, and soon came upon another pug. This one was nuts…….after we lost him this summer (again at 11) my vet commented: he was a great dog. Actually he was NOT a great dog, he was a mess. But he was a wonderful friend.

    Dogs put us in touch with parts of ourselves the we might not otherwise discover. My love for my dogs has ruined me (a bit) but also perfected me. I am better at everything because of this. I still have my rescue dog, a loving husband, and six splendid grandchildren. But two of the great loves of my life have left a pug shaped hole in my heart. That’s the deal you make. Totally worth it.

  17. Jessica says...

    Joanna, you must read The Friend by Sigrid Nunez! It’s wonderful.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      I agree.

    • I literally had the immediate same reaction! I recently read The Friend and felt its beauty, tenderness, and rawness seep into my soul. Joanna, I think you’d love the entire story and the definition of love that the narrator comes to realize :)

  18. Jenny by the sea says...

    Added to the ever growing TBR pile, thank you :-)

    I’m currently reading The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, by Charlie Mackesy – I think it’s one of Camilla’s reading group recommendations, and oh my goodness! It’s one of the loveliest, gentlest, most life affirming, and thought provoking books. I’m getting a copy for my little niece as she will love it too.

    No dogs in this house, as our little, old, and rather frail rescue cat would definitely not approve, and he’s in charge. Sending so much love to those of you who’ve recently lost, or are facing losing, their beloved fur babies. They make such a space for themselves in our hearts, don’t they?

    • Kelsey says...

      After reading this book I have purchased it at least five times for friends for various reasons. It is so lovely! The author is a great one to follow on Instagram as well.

  19. Catharine says...

    Oh our big, nutty, gentle Golden Retriever, Charlie. Totally the weakest link of the family (giant muddy paws-always, loves with his entire, hairy body, chews everything, a big kid-always), totally the best choice we made as a family. I am a total dog fanatic, I could not imagine not raising kids without him, and shaping two new dog fanatics. I love you Charlie-boy❤️

  20. Monica says...

    I am currently reading How To Pronounce Knife: Stories by Souvankham Thammavongsa and finding a few in there which resonate with me.

    I’m also slowly digesting (no pun intended) How Not To Diet by Dr Michael Greger.

    I’m here for everyone else’s comments :)

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      How To Pronounce Knife is such a sublime collection. One of the best books I read last year.

  21. Jacqueline says...

    Just finished Wintering – So good. About 3/4 through The Overstory – Mind blowing.
    Books are just the best.
    Love hearing about what people are reading.

  22. Erin Beveridge Cabuling says...

    I cannot wait to read this!!!! I love my dog so much and can relate to the 70 pound lap dog. My Irish setter golden retriever mix is truly one of the biggest joys of my life and makes everyday bright! If you are on the fence about getting a dog, I promise you won’t regret it if your heart is open to it! Getting him was the best decision (tied with my marriage haha) I’ve ever made! (It’s ok my husband is also obsessed with the dog and agrees haha)

  23. Lauren says...

    Although I had never thought of it as ‘cute’, I was sure you were going to say “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. Such a sweet book. However, after reading these few excerpts, I think ‘The Particulars of Peter’ may indeed be the cutest!

  24. Katie says...

    I grew up with dogs but they were always just kind of *there,* and I’ve never cared to get to know my friends’ dogs, nor wanted the responsibility of one. And then six months into the pandemic, 31 and alone, I wanted something next to me on the couch. So I whispered that I was thinking about adopting a dog, and two weeks later I took home Fitz, a sparkly 4mo tri-colored hound mix. I understand that dogs have personalities now. He is so curious and friendly to everyone he meets. Insanely food-driven, he devours the fallen pecans on our walks. I discovered his belly button one day and almost cried at the sweetness. He is exasperating, but it’s a beautiful growth to remember that he only lives in the present, and I need to always be a safe loving place for him, and to forgive and forget. We often visit a dog park nearby, and I chanced to meet the kindest man with his own smart dog, and we spend most of our days together. It’s all flowing along so beautifully and naturally and I’m very grateful for what this past year has brought to me. Thanks for letting me share this :) I’d love to read Kelly’s book too.

    • Rosalie says...

      This is beautiful! Congratulations!

    • Andrea says...

      This is so beautiful!

    • Mona says...

      Lovely….shows what happens when we are open to possibility. Your sweet story made my day.

  25. Trish says...

    The tiniest dogs WILL turn and bite you. Generally speaking, the bigger they are the more gentle they are. Get a big dog, a real dog.

    • Doris says...

      This is the most untrue comment ever. Show me the study that proves this. The dog that has been shown to cause the most dog bites….lab retriever (big dog!)

    • Alex says...

      This is really not true and people need to stop perpetuating this. There are tons of sweet small dogs who need homes just as much.

    • Traci says...

      Get a boxer. The sweetest dogs ever! Affectionate, loving, dramatic, and funny.

    • martini says...

      Ouch.

    • Twyla says...

      I call people with this attitude ‘Big-dog Supremacists’ (haha). There are a couple of breeds of small dogs are prone to be more yappy and mean, but I’ve also met some dogs of those breeds who are incredibly sweet. It all comes down to good training. We had a small dog growing up and I’ll always have smaller dogs. You can pick them up easily, they don’t take up too much space in your bed and their poops are the size of crayons.

    • S. says...

      https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2008.04.006
      For the debate about small dogs vs big dogs and aggression, here is a study analyzing owner-reported behaviors. Obviously this is just one study (and on reported versus observed behavior), so be careful not to make generalizations, but they found that Chihuahuas and Dachshunds exhibited higher than average aggression towards humans and dogs, while Akitas and Pit Bulls scored higher on dog-specific aggression. Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, and Jack Russell Terriers had the highest percentage of serious aggressions (which they characterize as bites or bite attempts) towards people. Labs were among the breeds that were least aggressive towards people and dogs.

      No single study can be conclusive, but this one indicates that breeds of ALL sizes can be aggressive, and the likelihood depends on the target of the aggression (i.e. owner, stranger, another dog).

      Sorry for the novel-length comment, but as a fervent dog-lover, I think it does dogs a real disservice to overgeneralize temperaments. Even the sweetest dog can experience what they perceive to be a threat and exhibit aggression. It’s on owners to be able to recognize situations that are making their pets uncomfortable, and people overall REALLY need to learn how to properly interact with dogs, especially unfamiliar ones.

  26. Zoë says...

    I’ve just started reading (on your recommendation from the Weekend Links post!) and love it so far. I’ve always been a dog person, but lately not so much. I’m hoping it’ll inspire me to fall in love with my dogs again. We’ve had our boxer and chocolate lab mix for 4+ years, and now have a 1.5 yo and I am 7 months pregnant with our second. I know I can’t be the only parent who suddenly CAN NOT STAND their dogs once a baby comes? We keep ’em around because our son adores them, but once you have a constantly needy kid, it is way too damn much to have one, let alone TWO, constantly needy dogs!

  27. Martha says...

    I am reading A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles. It is such a charming book. It is about a count under permanent house arrest in a grand hotel in Moscow in the 1920s. Talk about a book to read during a pandemic. I am totally hooked.

    • Rosalie says...

      I love this book so much! Enjoy!

    • Hannah says...

      I read this last spring and absolutely loved it! I thought it would make me feel claustrophobic during the pandemic, being home every day with no end in sight, but it ended up being my very favorite of the 30+ books I read last year.

  28. Emily says...

    I’m a huge fan of Kelly Conaboy’s writing! I remember discovering her candle reviews at the Hairpin then was excited when she wrote for the Cut — excited to check out her book.

    • Elliesee says...

      I love that book too and I do like Bill Gates and buy it as a gift!

  29. Emily says...

    more than once, when i’m bored in the car, i’ve thought “oh, i should call my dog” (who is a dog, um, has no phone).

    • Sarz says...

      So cute. 🤣 I bet if he/she could get the hang of one, they’d love a little phone sesh with you.

    • Katie says...

      I always want to call my dog when I’m at the grocery store so he can let me know if we have enough coriander in the cabinet or if I should buy more…

    • devon says...

      You can seriously tune into them psychically and have a perfect conversation – try it! Visualize them in your head while you talk and you will hear their responses. I am 100% serious. People have so much to understand about the mechanics of communication.

  30. Sha says...

    Feel like you wrote this just for me! One year ago, I could barely get into an elevator with a dog without breaking into a cold sweat. Then one week before NYC’s lockdown, I met my sister’s new puppy.

    Now, a handful of visits and 1,000 photos of him later, I’m cheering Champ and Major, greeting every dog on the street, and taking “What breed matches your personality” quizzes. :) My family laughs at my dramatic 180 (at the tender age of 38, no less) but, really, it just takes one. Could not be more grateful to finally understand the life-changing love of a dog, even if I took the scenic route getting there.

  31. April says...

    I was terrified of dogs as a child, started to come around to them once my family got our first in middle school but didn’t truly love them until I was the “mom” of one. Our dog died a little over a year ago and although my husband and I both enjoy them we aren’t planning to get another anytime soon. We want to travel and be on the go (didn’t happen this year) and that can be hard to do with a dog. They really are a huge commitment, especially when they are puppies but man do they love you so much and it’s the best.

    I’m currently reading “The Pillars of the Earth” which I have probably owned for a decade now and never read.

    • AJ says...

      My favorite, favorite books. Just love The Pillars of the Earth. Ken Follett is the best.

    • Eli says...

      Oh gosh! One of my all time, most favorite books. 😍 what a fabulous escape and the architecture and history was researched and accurate. I can’t wait to visit Europe in the future and see the most wondrous places. I do hope you enjoy it!

    • a.binton says...

      Thank you! I read this ages ago and had forgotten the title because I wanted to reread! I have no idea why I ever even picked this up but it was an inexplicably good read.

  32. Alison says...

    Oh, dog personalities! They really are each so unique. Peter sounds amazing. We got our dog as a rescue puppy flown in from far away by a local charity group and he’s now coming up on 11 years old. He is such a character, he has about 15 nicknames and answers to all of them. He’s his own mix of breeds that no one can truly identify but I learned about the blue lacy dog from Texas a while ago and that seems like the closest match so far! After the kids go to bed he comes and sits beside my husband and I while we love him up and tell each other stories complete with funny voices about all the wild adventures he had before he came to us – which are totally fictitious since he was just over 2 months old, but it’s a riot. He is completely cherished, even more so because we know one day not too long from now we’ll have to say goodbye.

    • martini says...

      Thank you, thank you for loving your furry friend so much. My husband and our family seem to have shared in the same experience and are still enjoying all the memories of it.
      We “talked” to the last one, had a chat with him. We explained to him that this time we were not going to ever waste a moment feeling sad or worried over a time to come when we’d somehow be parted. We used to worry outselves all the time with past pets and it was awful. We made a deal with him that we would understand eventually the day would come when one of us would leave ahead of the other, that was that, nothing we could do about it but to have the grandest time until then and that we never say “Goodbye”, rather “See you later”…and we will.
      Works well with humans also.
      In the next life I’d like to come back as your pet.

  33. Rue says...

    I’ve been a dog person my whole life, and in adulthood I was nervous about getting a dog before I felt like I had the life where I could take care of one. I also lived through harrowing trauma in my late 20s, and I entered my 30s carrying a very weighty PTSD diagnosis that left me feeling unsafe in many social situations and many parts of my life.

    I had explored the idea of getting a dog as I embarked (pun intended) on my trauma recovery therapy, but it was on the back burner. Then I met my now-fiance, and within a month or two of meeting him, I felt safe enough to welcome home a dog. I was still early in my recovery, and things felt so fragile all the time, but the support, stability, and love I felt from my partner helped me feel like it was safe to care for a dog.

    It turns out it was the best idea I could have had. I mean my partner and my therapist are tied for first place as my Heros of Recovery… but that dog. I got a rescue who clearly carried his own trauma with him, and like me, clearly wanted to be seen, understood, cared for, and given the tools to live a calmer and more stable life. And when it was still difficult for me to see myself in that light, I was able to practice my recovery by giving that to this sweet dog. I helped him recover, and in doing so, I learned how I could heal.

    I’ve since been formally discharged from therapy, meaning PTSD is something I will carry with me the rest of my life, but it’s something I’ve learned to navigate. I hopefully have another 5-10 years before my dog has to depart this world, and I honestly think I will carry what he taught me for the rest of my own life too. Caring for him day to day is literally what gave me my life back (in addition to very hard work in therapy). And I’m able to see the progress now in BOTH of us. How calm and confident and relaxed he is now that he has a home, family, and routine he loves. And how I’m the same way. I get to marry the guy who drove me to pick up the dog. (Me, at the time, “I mean it’s totally your call if you want to drive with me to this dog rescue place…”.) We created a whole dang family, and we all saved ourselves. Excuse me, I have to go wipe my eyes, and then walk the dog who gets *very concerned* if I don’t do daily walks during the pandemic.

    • Kimmy S says...

      Thanks for sharing Rue – lovely to read about your little family! You sound really strong and kind, and doubtless your fur friend is lucky to have you too :)

    • suki says...

      embarking was the way to go ; )

    • AJ says...

      :) this is awesome, so wonderful you all found each other at just the right time, and well done on all your work. Wish you all lots of happy adventures, walks and calm days x

    • Summer says...

      This is so beautiful! Big kudos to you for your resiliency <3

  34. BB says...

    Are you still debating getting a dog (I remember that from a while ago)? If so, you should just get the dog :)

  35. Gf says...

    Currently reading the children of blood and bone and loving it

  36. Agnès says...

    I’m reading a very french book, but I’m sure it is translated; it’s the letters between the poet René Char and Albert Camus, right after WWII and until 1959. I have been in love with the both of them when i was 20 (and who am I kidding, still now), and they’ve been my rock lately. Reading about their solitude, the difficulty of life after war is really helpful to go through this period. I haven’t been able to read fiction for the last 9 months. Reading about their honest friendship and their intense quest for beauty has been the best of my days. And Poetry, always (and thanks to you i discovered Kate Baer that I adore). Have a good day, I’m going to read in my bed.

    • suki says...

      I cannot find this in English anywhere – anyone else have luck? Thanks!

      Also I am reading Michael Pollan’s recent book on psychedelics – very interesting!

    • suki says...

      Thank you, Agnès!

  37. Lucy says...

    I force myself to read something about investing, but it’s a real torture.
    On the other hand I am really enjoying reading on a different topic – about time, the book by Carlo Rovelli The Order of Time, a beautifully and clearly written work. I know very little about physics and so I remain in constant awe.

  38. L says...

    Ugh dogs are the best! I can’t tell you how many times during this pandemic my husband and I have wondered aloud to each other how people without dogs are surviving this ha. In theory I do understand that not everyone is a dog lover but I feel so bad for everyone who isn’t snuggled up with cute dogs these last dark months. I cannot over state how much my sweet, amazing dog friends help my mental health and just well being. Thanks for the book rec!

  39. Abbie says...

    I moved in with my (now) husband wi the the one condition being we had to get a dog IMMEDIATELY. Life without one truly is gruesome!

    Currently reading: Atomic Habits by James Clear, which is both informative and surprisingly enjoyable
    Listening to: The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton. As a Massachusetts native and a lover of historical fiction I can’t believe I have just now discovered this delicious writer!

  40. Marisa says...

    This is so perfect- I JUST picked up a copy of this book from the library, after you mentioned it in your post, Joanna!
    Also, did anybody else see Scout and Major at the White House? I mean- they live at the White House now, and they don’t even know it! Reminded me of the reader who said she wants to be more “dog” this year.

    https://magicvalley.com/news/national/first-dogs-champ-and-major-move-into-at-white-house/video_e67e5104-e5c7-5d27-8635-b89ce98eb796.html

  41. Em says...

    Oh Dogs. We just lost our Golden Retriever this morning. She was 15.5 and single-handedly (pawedly) ruined other dogs for me for life. Sometimes you meet interesting adults and think, hmmm, I could maybe see myself married to someone like you. Or teach some wonderful children that you could potentially see feeding chicken nuggets and helping pick out bras and colleges in the future. No shade to my amazing husband and daughters; clearly my number ones for life and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. BUT, I have never met another dog that I would sneak into my suitcase and ferry away from their current family. Maybe my wounds are too fresh? Or maybe I’ve just had the opportunity to already be a mom to my dog-in-a-million?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Aww, Em, I’m so sorry. xo

    • Sarz says...

      Sorry for your loss, Em. Maybe, some day, far from now, you’ll meet a dog in need of a family, and you’ll just *sense* the approval of your furry daughter. Or maybe you’re a one-and-done Dog Mom. Either option is totally valid.

    • April says...

      Sorry for your loss EM. Lost my beloved pup about a year and a half ago and still cry when I think about her. It’s the worst. I too can’t imagine getting another.

    • JJ says...

      I’m sorry Em, she sounded like a good doggo x

      I think we rarely find a dog who fills the exact shoes of a previous love, but dogs have a way of carving out their own new spot in our hearts, just for themselves. (They also use this skill to find a spot on a couch or bed any human would deem to be already full, I’ve noticed. I bet they’d be good at packing a suitcase or playing Tetris).

    • M says...

      Dear Em, I am so so sorry. This is so hard, so achingly painful. I do think we are given the exact dog we need for our exact life. They are always meant to teach us something, a lesson we need to learn. I wrote this little poem about my favorite dog. Sharing it in hopes it might help in some way. <3 <3 <3

      THE LOVE OF A DOG
      I want to tell you about our lovely dog. I am not sure we deserve something so sweet to live in our home. Our kids dangle and ride on his body, poke his soft belly, pull his black fur, and still he nuzzles their new lives. Also he comes when we call his name, wagging his tail like he has been invited to Heaven itself. He works as seriously as a rancher. Tirelessly he herds us together and barks off squirrel enemies. And when he plays, he is as happy as a saint. He fetches his slobbery yellow tennis ball. Over and back. Over and back. Until after a while, he drops down into the snow. He rolls and welcomes its cold glimmering shine onto his hot panting body.//

      Every night we call him up onto the couch and we pet his fur by the handfuls and steal his softness. His warmth melts into our skin. His eyes make us feel loved and seen and whole, both when they are large at attention, and even at resignation, when his heavy lids are closing. //

      Evidently, this is what your life looks like when you are completely loyal to love. There is not a single lick of sulk. Devotion, duty, and delight drool from you until death and from memories of you too, even after that.//

    • annick says...

      I am so sorry, Em. Hugging my pup and holding him close, thinking of you. How lucky you were to have each other.

  42. M says...

    Thanks for the recommendation! I really want to start reading before falling asleep, as opposed to snacking terrible late night snacks and/or bingeing Netflix and/or doomscrolling the nytimes.
    This seems like the perfect, fluffy fun book to help me start the habit!

  43. Anya says...

    My sister, my friend and I have a text thread called Dogz where we talk exclusively about our dogs and send photos. We apologize if we accidentally chat about something else. Today our convo was about the White House grounds superintendent who helps take care of the presidential dogs. I think I’m going to buy each of them a copy of this book!

    • AJ says...

      Love this!

  44. Jessie says...

    On Dogs: It reminds me of a twitter post by Thoughts of a Dog: that humans always fail to consider that two will fit in a chair if they stack on top of one another. My dog is 80 pounds and loves being cradled. She can also contortion herself to fit on the tiniest patch of couch, holding perfectly still in the hopes that no one will notice and kick her off.

    On Books: I recently finished reading the essays in The Best American Travel Writing 2020. The anthology contains pieces from a variety of people and backgrounds, allowing you glimpses into the lives of others. I have learned more about how much I don’t know, and have found a number of subjects that I am looking forward to reading more about from other sources.

  45. Maywyn says...

    Blogs are excellent sources especially for adding titles to a reading list. Convoy is added to my list. Thank you
    There are two Tana French mysteries waiting on the table at the moment. Before those, I’m about to start reading, How Emotions Are Made, by Lisa Feldman Barrett.

  46. Christina says...

    YES! I can’t wait to read this book. I am loving all the comments on this post, too. Currently my two sweet dogs are snuggled up in a nest with a fuzzy blanket and about eight pillows on the guest bed (of which I just washed the duvet and sheets two days ago). It’s a snowday.

    It’s hard to imagine my life before the first one, and then equally hard to imagine my life before the second one, who we adopted eleven months ago (just before the pandemic).

    When thinking about expensive gifts for them, I’m sure a few extra hours each day of focused one-on-one time is probably the most valuable. A laptop is definitely second.

    It’s comment threads like this that make me wish we could attach photos to our comments. Can we start the #dogsofCoJ going on instagram? I’d love to see your sweet pups.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg I would LOVE to start that instagram!!!!!! my phone has been broken since Friday (bc Anton) but as soon as I get it fixed (hopefully tonight), I’ll post something!

    • Becky says...

      There is one from a few years back, maybe not even that long ago! I think I’ve recently used it. You should chose one every week as the Friday link image!

  47. Nigerian Girl says...

    I’ve been rereading books I love. I just finished Unaccustomed Earth – still as masterful, magnificent, perceptive and heartbreaking as ever – and State of Wonder – ever engrossing, sensuous and elegant. The last section of this novel never fails to blow my mind. Burial Rites is up next.

    • b says...

      I’m a rare re-reader of books – grad school was probably the last time, but there’s something so comforting about returning to old favorites. I don’t know why I don’t do it more often.

    • Caitlin says...

      LOVE Unaccustomed Earth so much.

  48. Sarah says...

    Like so many other commenters, I feel this in my bones! Our 10 year old Shiba got diagnosed with nasal cancer a few months ago. He’s doing okay for the most part, but we’ve been dealing with all the things we’ll miss about him when he’s gone. Mostly who will we talk to at home?! Whenever my husband and I are in a tiff, one of us will say “Meeko can you believe this sh*t?” He always takes both of our sides :)

    • Jill says...

      Hahahaha! He always takes both our sides :)
      Really cute!!

  49. Kay says...

    My husband really wants a dog, but as a mom of two kids under the age of 2, I can’t imagine having to be responsible for one more living being. Maybe one day.
    I just finished reading His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie. Very entertaining and a glimpse into Ghanaian culture. I’m going to start Euphoria by Lily King tonight. I also have You Should Have Known on deck. I’m hoping to start that before I watch The Undoing.

  50. Lindsay says...

    Fear of dogs is something I know well! You’re not alone. But 5 years ago we adopted Fiona (she’s a beagle/hound mix) and although she drives me absolutely crazy at times, she’s part of the family. I adopted her thinking she would bond with our kids. But really, she’s my dog.

  51. Emily says...

    On our dog’s 9th birthday, I made the horrible mistake of googling his life expectancy ( 10-12 years!?! Impossible! It can’t be – he’s still just a puppy in a dog suit!) Ever since then, I’ve been acutely aware of the gift of every day we have with him. Its made me cheer when he fetches (“you’ve still got it!”) and root him on when he naps (“good for you buddy, keep that body rested”) and kinder when he does things like lick his butt (“hey, whatever makes happy in your old age – you do you.”) Realizing he won’t be our forever family member makes the joy he gives our family all the more concentrated and precious

    • suki says...

      Our dog lived to 18 largely because he got a lot of exercise (hiking in the mountains) and because we fed him actual food: cooked meat, eggs and vegetables, mixed with quinoa, every day. Nothing lives long on canned or processed food.

      Make it up once a month or every few weeks and pre-portion into wax paper eco sandwich bags stored in freezer in one giant ziplock. Add a raw egg or half an avo on top ala minuté, haha. My logic was why do less for any family member that loves us that much? Lived nearly twice as long as expected.

    • Rusty says...

      Suki… I hate to say it but avocado is poisonous for dogs!
      Many human foods deemed to be healghy for us are really bad for our dogs.

  52. Cristina says...

    I had a tough (so frustrating that I cried and am now baking a cake, ha) morning on a walk with my reactive rescue dog, and this is a really buoying post to read. I knew that dog-ownership would be full of ups and downs, but am constantly learning more about how much more patience and empathy and love I can dig into. I’ll look forward to reading about Kelly’s sweet Peter, with my lil Phoebe curled up beside me <3

    • Kimberly says...

      Cristina – I feel you! We have a reactive rover as well and it can be so challenging at times. Hang in there!

    • Jo says...

      Also sending commiseration and love your way! Our older dog was a major challenge for the first few years of his life–we loved him like a family member but his reactivity drove me to tears more times than I can count. He’s mellowed a ton now (he’s 8), and we’ve also learned a zillion tricks and situations to avoid. He’s an all-around great boy. Hang in there and know that this too shall pass!

    • Cristina says...

      Thank you so much for your replies! I am grateful to have your perspectives and cheer. Today was better!

  53. Emily says...

    I love your book posts and I love your reader comment posts. Would you ever consider combing through comments on one and posting the reader results (giving us a run down of the most popular answers and some fun comments) – I always want to know what books people like and I trust this community’s opinions more than most!

    • Joaquina says...

      Sorry I have to laugh. Seems like every post brings at least one comment requesting, “would you consider (doing extra work)?”. Combing through comments and creating a list sounds time intensive, especially for a mother of two who is the head of a very popular blog.

    • AN says...

      @Joaquina, 1000% this. Like, hi, the comments are right there, Excel exists, rock on with yer bad self! ;)

    • liz says...

      lol are you seriously asking Joanna to read the comments for you and tell you which ones she’d think you’d like??

    • Emily says...

      I’m not sure its too demanding to suggest a post when Joanna often asks readers for input on content they’d like to see. Especially since this blog is her actual job (with a full staff as well) and not a side project she does in her free time.

    • Kate says...

      I don’t know why people are being so rude. I have actually seen a reader do something similar with a list of businesses from the comments in the past, she made a handy list on a website. It would be neat if there was a comment aggregator that could be used on any post!

    • AN says...

      @Kate, yes, a reader took it upon herself to do it. Asking Joanna to do it feels super-entitled, like she doesn’t do enough already?!?

    • Rosalie says...

      @Joaquina & AN — I see where you’re coming from, and I’ve thought the same thing before when reading comments on posts like this. However, I take Emily’s request more as a suggestion for future content than an entitled demand. Joanna (or more likely, a member of her staff) wouldn’t be doing this outside the bounds of her business. If she created a post that captured readers’ favorite books, she would get ad revenue from that post, as well as money from affiliate links. I don’t think Emily is asking Joanna to volunteer her time, rather, trying to share an idea for regular Cup of Jo content.

  54. Lisa says...

    I’ve just finished Obama’s autobiography which was very interesting. I’m currently reading The Seven Basic Plots – why we tell stories by Christopher Booker. He analysed hundreds of stories, from Ancient Greek tragedies to Jaws and everything in between, and found that there are seven basic plots that most stories follow. It’s very interesting, especially then trying to apply this to stories you know. It also helps when writing novels (which I’m trying to do right now) as it gives you a basic structure to work from.

    I have realised that I seriously need to find a book club as I’ll read something and get REALLY into it, and spend my whole time harassing my husband about it. He’s very nice about it but he must get bored with it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “I have realised that I seriously need to find a book club as I’ll read something and get REALLY into it, and spend my whole time harassing my husband about it. He’s very nice about it but he must get bored with it.” = hahaha same! I am forever reading book excerpts to my husband!

  55. Ali says...

    We got our sweet pup two years ago just as my health took a bit of a dive. I’m convinced he’s the reason these two years have actually been okay, even kind of special in a weird way. Spud has brought so much life and joy and PERSONALITY into our home and I don’t know what we’d do without him.

    Get a dog, Joanna! You won’t regret it! :)

  56. Jo says...

    I can’t even comment on the dog element of this post because some things are too precious to put into words. My dogs are my heart outside my body.

    But! I’m reading The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda and so far it’s too good not to recommend. I opened it when I got it home from the library intending to just skim through to see how it was laid out, and a hour and a half later I came to and realized I had finished a quarter of the book. I’ve been really enjoying translated books recently (other joys were Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk and Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin)–something about the clean precision of the translations is so refreshing to read. Here’s to great authors and translators!

    • Alison Watts says...

      Thank you! My cup runneth over!

  57. Kathryn Bowen says...

    Could you do a post about your top favorite books of all time – like top 10 fiction? Also maybe an interesting post on why there is such a HUGE fiction reading gender gap between men and women.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s a great idea! off the top of my head, I’ve really really loved:
      olive kitteridge
      exit west
      an American marriage
      away from her
      my name is Lucy Barton

      memoirs:
      epilogue
      blackout
      the glass castle
      when breath becomes air

    • Heather says...

      This is great – along the same lines you could do a post on top ten essentials for a library or even books for each stage of life. I love thinking about that sort of stuff!

  58. Kirstin says...

    Thank you for the recommendation! I love dogs, and cats, and sheep, llamas, monkeys, I know if I ever visited the USA I would probably die because I would defy logic and cuddle a bear, pat a wild cat in the forest. I’m just lucky I live in Australia where our deadly animals aren’t s cute! But back to dogs, at the end of 2019 my dog died – he was old, but I loved him. It had been a hard job, in a really complicated job and when I lost my dog I really lost the last thing holding me up. It was a matter of survival that I got another dog, it wasn’t about replacing my old guy but I had no where to put all this huge dog-love I feel. I really miss my old dog dog – always will. The idea that I will never see him again rocks me to my core. He made people so happy -he used to flirt with old ladies! he’d see them wobbling down the street and he’d sit up really straight (almost falling backwards) and lift one paw daintily in the air – they were defenceless against his charm. If a human ignored him, he’d nudge them with his long nose. And he gave the best cuddles. He was also great when I wanted to do yoga, when he was pregnant he always practised by my side, then as we both got older, he’d flop on top of me, as though suggesting we just watch this session in a restful state! I wonder if I could read that book without crying myself into a headache…. sorry I can talk about my dog and other dogs, (and cats) for hours and hours.

    As for reading – I am about to finish The Lying lIfe of Adults by Elena Ferrante. She seems to be my summertime read (It is summer where I live).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      it sounds like your dog was incredible xoxoxo

  59. Ann says...

    When dogs are being their ridiculous cute self, I always have the urge to give them a $10 bill. “Thanks so much for sharing your cuteness, kind sir.”

    It started with my 3-year old cousin who gave my brother’s dog $20 to be her friend. She took the bill and tucked it under his left front paw. She eventually grew wiser and started sharing her chicken drumsticks with him instead but that urge to give dogs money remain in my family.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that is so cute.

    • AJ says...

      ❤️ that tot paying a dog to be their friend is the sweetest thing

  60. Summer says...

    I have a 11 month old dog that is absolutely bonkers. He makes me question my sanity each day as he tugs me on walks, eats anything and everything (he once ate 3 bananas, peels included), and zooms around the house. His favorite thing to do is wake up before 6 am every. Single. Day.

    What makes me question my sanity even further is that I would do anything for my little monster. I have even come to love the early-morning version of my dog, because he is actually sweet, slow, and cuddly. He’s usually so blurry with speed that you can’t cuddle him, but I relish our early morning snuggle time.

  61. Chantelle says...

    Just came here to say the EXACT same thing!!

  62. Tazza says...

    The Frenchie in the pic looks a lot like my Frenchie puppy, Leo! I got him in October, and he is the first pet I’ve owned as an adult. I’m absolutely in love with him – he’s so sweet.

    I’m currently reading Bel Canto (finally) and I love it so far!

  63. Courtney says...

    I just finished reading Epilogue by Anne Roiphe and My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, both based on your recommendations, and my god! The women can WRITE.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes!!!!!! Loved those books so, so much.

    • Kara says...

      I read My Name is Lucy Barton while in the hospital with my younger son. He had jaundice and had to be readmitted 4 days after he was born for phototherapy in one of those giant blue-light incubator things. I was exhausted but terrified that if I fell asleep, his eye mask would slip off his and he’d get UV damage on his brand-new baby eyes. Anyway, I had brought My Name is Lucy Barton with me, and it absolutely saved me for those 24 hours. I read the entire book that day and I still associate that day with the book.

  64. Natasha says...

    I remember the early CoJ days when you had kitties!!! I am both a cat and dog person, but firmly more cat-lover. (Don’t tell my pup!) Cats are just more complex, with silky, less jolty body movements. Affectionate, but always on their own terms. They are more independent and self-assured, which really aligns with my temperament. Our pup, though, is such a great motivator to stay healthy- she is a big, hearty Rottie mix, who needs LOTS of exercise. She entertains our kids, gives so much love, and is just so cute!

    • Natasha says...

      Fangirling because you replied to *me* !!!!! :)

  65. Suzanne Quinn says...

    I just got Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs. So sweet and beautiful!

  66. Vivian says...

    We have a three year old rescue dog named Cordelia and I feel this post in my bones.

    Cordelia is a 36 pound, scruffy ray of sunshine with so much love in her heart. She’s sweet to other dogs and makes strangers smile as we pass them by. I just want to give her all the beautiful things she deserves!

    xoxo

  67. melz says...

    I went back to work yesterday as an elementary school teacher. First time since March 2020. My dog was the most upset. I returned home to a grumpy dog with a gassy tummy ache worried about where mom had been the last 9 hours. Our longest time apart in #pandemic2020.
    I’m loving everything by; Kristin Hannah *The great Alone & Nightengale

  68. Jules says...

    Ugh, I loved this and it made me so sad. We had to put down our sweet pup last night, also a frenchie like the pic. He was just the best most-chillest dog ever and I will miss him. However, tonight I am about to curl up in my COJ reading sweater and start Anna karenina to get my mind through winter!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I’m so sorry, Jules. He sounds like the loveliest little guy. xoxo

    • Stacey S says...

      Sorry, Jules. Excruciating.

  69. Kelly says...

    You should definitely check out Gone Dogs!

  70. Emily says...

    This made me sob! My 18 year old cat’s health has been up and down for the past year, currently in a down phase, and I can’t remember what I did before her and just can’t imagine what I’ll do after. I’m expecting a baby boy this spring and I’m terrified that I will lose my first child as I welcome my second. Pets are everything

    • Natasha says...

      Sending lots of love. I know exactly what you are going through, and it’s SO hard. <3

    • Teresa says...

      I feel the same way, Emily. I’m in a similar situation- our dog of almost eight years has Cushing’s Disease, and her health is very up and down. Meanwhile, I am pregnant and due in June. It breaks my heart to think that my daughter won’t meet and know her.

    • kirstin says...

      I’m so sorry Emily – I am sure so many other readers will understand your pain and wish this wasn’t happening to you. It’s so deep – our pets are so much better than anyone else. I’m not sure if this will seem a bit weird, or even possible for you but when our dog and cat passed, we buried them in our garden. Our beautiful cat (Miscellaneous, Moo Moo for short) is buried beneath an orange tree, and our dog Enzo has a rose garden. It helps me feel they are still in our lives – when I pick roses or orange blossoms, I feel like they are inside the house with us, when I water the garden and get to chat to them. One other thing I found, is that getting another pet doesn’t replace the old one – but it does allow your heart to share its love. I am so sorry, and I hope your cat does get to meet your baby.

  71. Elesha Mavrommatis says...

    I just took a midday break to listen to a sample. It made me smile and chuckle. Thanks for the recommendation.

  72. Denise says...

    I’m going to read this too. Pets are so endearing and full of fun personality. But I’d also caution any potentially twitterpated soon-to-be dog owners about the dark side of pets. No one writes a book about the neurotic chewing of expensive loved things, and the incessant vomit, the diarrhea that just can’t be picked up from the neighbor’s sidewalk while they look on through the front window, the vet expenses, the parasites, the drool, the canine smell of funk on all your pillows, the tether of needing to rush home to take the dog out, the vacations cancelled because you can’t find a pet sitter you trust in your home with your baby while you’re in Barcelona on the beach wishing you were home with your gross but darling pet. There’s that too. You might get lucky and get an “easy” pet, or you might not. There’s no way to tell ahead of time.

    O, you asked what I’m reading. I’m reading Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer. It’s book 3 of the Southern Reach Trilogy and the whole trilogy are amazing. Like nothing I’ve ever read before. I highly recommend it.

    • AR says...

      I love this honesty! I thought I wanted a puppy until I realized that he would keep me up all night long needing bathroom breaks with the frequency of a human baby needing diaper changes. I love dogs! And grew up with so many! But conveniently blocked out the responsibility parts of it (probably because my parents (or let’s be real, my mom, took care of the poop and vomit and anxiety and chewing etc).

    • Becky says...

      All these things are true though I haven’t missed out out on Barcelona but I guess I’ve missed out on other things and just didn’t know. I laugh about the diarrhea on the sidewalk because that happened just this week 😂 our babe has been sick 😔 I lost a good rug right before Christmas. She gas pancreatitis. I miss her spunk and can’t wait for it to come back. I’ve called out of work to be with her due to gi flare ups. I don’t regret it or the money spent or lost caring for her. Does my couch and comforter smell like a frito? Sure. Is every blankey hers? Of course! I wipe her bum too. I make (almost) every meal, food prep every night, wake up minutes before my 5 am alarm if she is waiting to eat, walk her at 6am in cold New England weather because I love her and our time is short together. I can’t wait to come home and smell her head (weird I know) and I’m so happy to give her a warm sweater from the dryer. Her being sick is unusual. It won’t always be like this. This doesn’t happen to all dogs. Don’t let all this scare you from adopting. I’m so happy to do this for her because there was a time she lived on the street, she has nightmares and cries until we wake her up, and because she would do the same for us. When I’m sick she is right next to me, glued to my every movement. She cries with happiness when she hears my husband’s car beep. I’m obsessed with her. Because of her I photograph and design for a rescue organization. She has her own little ig account (imthesass). Can’t think of her not being here. We sign her name on every holiday card. I hope that even if she is the crankiest old lady she will be around one day when we have a baby. I know she will love it as her own❤️

    • NN says...

      All these things happen with children too, don’t they? Will you list them out like this? Isn’t getting lucky and getting it “easy” true for children too?
      Its all about how much you are willing to think about a pet as one of your own. I hate that everytime a nice book/article about a pet is posted by Joanna, someone has to come and “remind” people about all the not-so-nice aspects that come with BEING A LIVING BEING.

    • Denise says...

      Sorry NN and any others, I didn’t mean to step on anyone’s joy. I was aiming more for humorous misadventures with challenging pets. Pets are definitely worth it. Apologies if I missed the humorous mark for you.

  73. kash says...

    Ahh, I loved this, especially that first bit about feeing him a noodle! I have a little 14 lb rescue dog, and it’s true–she’s like a little package of sunshine and love who follows me around hoping to be snuggled or for a bite of my sandwich… she’ll happily take either one. I read somewhere that dogs are unique among other animals because they have a distinctive capacity for interspecies affection–most animals generally prefer to be with their own kind, but sheepdogs love sheep, a dog raised with rabbits might love rabbits, and pets who live with humans love people.

    I’m reading Pachinko! I picked it up after writer Rachel Syme asked on Twitter “what is the book that makes you feel jealous of people who get to read it for the first time?” and a lot of responses mentioned it. So far, it’s amazing!

  74. Heidi says...

    We were firmly rooted in the “Pet Free is the way to be” camp for a long time… and then something about being home more and my daughter being an only child, and that we need to replace our carpet anyway made us rethink the whole thing. We adopted our 3 year old (Yay! She came crate and potty trained!) rescue dog, Posie, in December and I can’t believe we didn’t do it sooner. She’s a mama and a herder- she wants us all together at all times. We love her deeply.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “She’s a mama and a herder- she wants us all together at all times.” = sweetest!

  75. Sarah says...

    Unpopular opinion: now that I have kids, I wish I didn’t have a dog. Admittedly, I had multiples, so my home occupancy exploded overnight, but I daily look at my perfect sweet dog and wish I didn’t have the responsibility. He is sweet, keeps me warm, loves a walk, looks perfect in a sweater. I really love him. But I love my kids so much more, and I’m always forgetting to give him water, cleaning up accidents because my kids distracted me, feeling guilty when I take them to the park and have to leave him behind, spend time every day begging him to stop barking at everyone who walks by our yard. It’s definitely me, not him, but I just…feel immensely guilty about it! I keep hoping that as my boys get older, they’ll be happy to play with him, and vice versa. I read this and thought “I haven’t had time to lovingly get to know my dog in three years.”

    • Becca says...

      I felt this way about my cat when my kids were little, and I still feel badly about it (and the cat has been gone for 9 years now). I remember at the end of the day, the cat would try to sit on my lap, and I was so touched out. My kids are older now, but I’m pretty sure I’d still feel this way if I had a pet. It’s just not for me, but I do enjoy other people’s well-behaved pets.

    • Caitlin says...

      Oh man, right there with you Sarah.

    • CEW says...

      Hah, you’re not alone. I really dislike having a dog & cat now that I have a toddler – it’s a little too much.

    • Sue Henderson says...

      Hi Sarah, congratulations on your babies but please give your dog some love too. They are sensitive and emotional creatures, he used to be the apple of your eye and now he’s wondering what he did wrong. If it’s too hard for you, and it might well be, no judgment, consider rehoming him with someone you trust who needs a loving dog in their life. I know people who have done this after having children and honestly it’s been the best thing for all involved. You deserve to enjoy your children without feeling guilty about the dog and he deserves the love and attention it might be hard for you to give him at this stage in your life. Best of luck x

    • Alex says...

      Our poor dog has also been neglected the last few years since the tiny humans arrived… I feel so guilty too!

    • Caitlin Scott says...

      No judgement, Sarah! Your frustrations are legitimate. What a relief to know I’m not the only one who feels this way! My boys are toddlers now, and they have come to adore him (albeit a bit roughly sometimes – and I’m always there to rescue him!). Sometimes I’ll look over and I see that my 18-month-old just draped over him and they both have their eyes closed, or my 3 1/2-year-old is whispering into his soft ear that “Christmas is coming this year tomorrow.” That eases my guilt a little bit! Even if your dog doesn’t get all the love he used to get from you, he will get it from others in your household <3

    • Jess says...

      Yes. This.

      I miss how deeply I used to love my sweet pup instead of getting so unnerved when he simply wants a walk.
      Walks with both an old stubborn dog and a boundary-testing toddler are truly exhausting.
      Somehow the dueling needy requests from our toddler and dog don’t faze my husband, so thanks for acknowledging this struggle!

    • Tovah says...

      Yes. We actually re-homed our dog when we welcomed our second baby. It was a very hard decision, and I still think about him all the time, but it was 100% the right thing for everyone, dog especially. Now that the kids are 5 and 7 we’re starting to consider a new dog adoption, because of course they’re both completely obsessed with everything dog!!!

    • Wen says...

      Hey Sue, what an unkind reply! You think she hasn’t considered rehoming? Give her an original idea if you want to help. Your comment is like thorns wrapped in silk.

    • Sue Henderson says...

      Hey Wen, not my intention at all, it didn’t seem like she had considered rehoming and was just feeling guilty and sad about her dog. Friends of mine have been in a similar situation and rehoming worked out well. I know you mean well.

    • NN says...

      Sarah and Wen: Genuinely curious, what do you expect from commenters on a post about loving dogs? That everyone will sympathize and say, yes, dogs are so much work and its OKAY to love your kids more and even forget to give water to your dog? This whole thread is super thorny! Sue was so nice and kind in suggesting rehoming. What “original ideas” would you give if SARAH was infact complaining like this about her children?
      If you love your kids so much more and dont have space in your heart for a dog, seriously give him to a shelter so someone else can give their heart and world to the poor thing! There is no “solution” to your “guilt”. This is abuse. Period. The least you can do is send your dog to a day care where he will run and play and have some fun and release all that nervous energy. Of course it will cost money, and I wonder if you will scoff at that thought.
      Dogs are very real loving creatures and don’t think they won’t pick up on your neglect. The reason he is barking so much is perhaps he is upset and nervous and is heartbroken that his mom doesn’t care for him like she used to.
      All people who think similarly – no, please don’t get a dog. It is better for everyone – you, your kids and the dog.
      I get very worked up when I read such things because the poor creature is so helpless. He cannot speak for himself and owners get so defensive about their choices. Pets are not home decor or extras for that perfect christmas card.

    • Wen says...

      Sue, I am sorry that I had you wrong. I get upset when people use niceness as a cover for unkindness.. I think it’s a personal hangup. I’m sure your intentions were good

    • Sue Henderson says...

      NN, thanks so much for your back up, much appreciated and also thanks Wen for your apology. No thorns in silk intended, sometimes it’s hard for someone to do the right thing , in this case rehoming a dog who’s not getting enough care, because it feels like the wrong thing and I just wanted to say that it’s ok and probably for the best to consider rehoming. Sarah I hope you’re ok in that we are all commenting on your situation, it does sound like you need to make a decision and I for one wish you very well.

    • Sarah says...

      Wow. This got mean fast! I suppose, as with anything written on the internet, the tone with which you chose to read my post made it seem like I didn’t love my dog. Strangely, I wrote the exact opposite more than once in my post. I assure you- my dog knows he is extremely loved. This is more about me and my individual role as dog mom.

  76. Janey says...

    I am ordering this immediately as a lockdown treat for my dog loving family. We love our dogs so much that our regular family zoom quiz nights always include a pets round where the dogs (5 of them, in our 6 households) have to solve a puzzle – like find the treat hidden under a cup. Always hilarious, especially when the only cat competitor beats all the dogs every single week!

  77. Macauley says...

    I am hopeful that this bodes well for Anton’s dog campaign.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha <3

  78. celeste says...

    When you spoke about this book before, I thought I could’ve written it. My teens best quarantine laughs came from visiting the dog park. :)

    Reading The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris and probably will reach for something a little lighter next go round. Listened to all Mindy Kaling’s mini books on Audible.

  79. M says...

    A rescue animal is the most wonderful thing!

    I recently read the Department of Speculation after seeing you talk about it here, Joanna, and it was SO good. Whew.

    Also just finished and LOVED The Office of Historical Corrections. Similar names, ha. Highly recommend both!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you for the rec!

  80. Jo says...

    this book sounds so adorable! I am a dog lover-owner:)
    Also – I love when you ask your readers what book they’re reading… I can’t wait to see all the recommendations.
    I’m reading “the Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd (loving)
    and the booklet: “the seven spiritual laws of success” by Deepak Chopra (savouring).

  81. Em says...

    For another adorable read, I would totally recommend T.J. Klune’s The House on the Cerulean Sea. It’s a sweet and tender story filled with silly, colorful, lovable characters, and it will make you laugh out loud on more than one occasion!

    • trish says...

      Yes! that is a most wonderful book, loved it

    • Kirstin says...

      I am ordering that book right now! Along with Mary Oliver’s dog songs – and I am sure a few others will make this list before I get to the end of the replies to this post! I’m glad there are only about 50 replies at this point – these replies to book posts can get very very expensive! (not that I am complaining – I feel like lock down vindicated all excessive book purchasing in the past)

  82. Laura says...

    Does this mean the boys can finally get a dog?! :)

  83. Dog Momma says...

    As I did my hair this morning I thought, I’m looking forward to Cup of Jo. I wondered what it will bring today. 11 years in for me and still, this site brings the light.

    “To gruesome to recall.” I laughed for a solid minute, right out loud and rubbing my eyes. All knowing that I too have.no.clue what I did before my beloved Cocker Spaniel. Her favorite color is orange, she’s not a morning person, she’ll lay in the sun in the grass and nap. Also, if there’s a full moon and we’re going potty in the middle of the night she’ll lay in the Moonlight. Dogs forever.

    Headed to buy this book now!

    • Dhdj says...

      Same! I actually delay checking the site because it brings me so much joy. The only place on the internet that doesn’t make me want to pull out my hair. Thanks, CoJ.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, thank you both! (I feel teary!)

  84. Tenley says...

    I just started Why Fish Don’t Exist by Lulu Miller, and I can’t remember the last time I loved a book so immediately. It feels immersive and intimate in the best way.

    • Charlotte says...

      Oooh, thanks for the recommendation Tenley, I love Lulu Milller from Invisibilia. Why Fish Don’t Exist sounds great!

  85. Jacqui says...

    We recently got a pup. Unlike our 10 y/o, our 7y/o was adamant that he didn’t want a dog OR the responsibilities of having one.

    One week later as he’s staring off into the distance, plopped on the floor next to the dog, he looks up in earnest and asks “What was life like before Echo?”

    It’s truly hard to imagine our life without him.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      echo is the cutest name :)

  86. Catherine says...

    I have been listening to the audiobook version of Ross Gay’s Book of Delights, and it is precisely that: delightful. He is so prone to search for beauty and joy, even when confronting truly hard topics like race and death. I recommend it fully, especially the audiobook (since he reads it), especially listening to it on walks, and especially in the midst of this insane time.

    • Anna says...

      Catherine,
      Book of Delights is fantastic to read. But to hear Ross read his own daily delights over a year is the absolute best! He inspired me to start a daily delight bullet journal. I go out of my way to find and record delights now and re-reading them brings delights of their own.

    • Kate says...

      That book is SO delightful! It makes me want to write my own. What a wonderful outlook.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh can’t wait to read! thanks for the rec.

    • Emily says...

      I got to hear Ross read from this in person when the book came out! I’m sure the audiobook is wonderful; I loved reading it.

  87. Cills says...

    <3 <3 <3

    I read "Nobody Will Tell You This but Me" by Bess Kalb recently and have recommended it to everyone I know. It is a memoir written from the perspective of a grand daughter (Bess) about her grandma. There is SO much love and history between these two. If you have a grandparent or parent who you love so deeply, this book will make you want to go buy a journal and write down everything about them and every hilarious text or voicemail they've ever sent you!

    My grandpa texted me from his ipad yesterday thanking me for a "motion picture" I sent him… it was video… I sent him via text..

    This book will make you see all of these exchanges and love taps in a new light.

    • Your comment is making me tear up! I love my grandmother and feel so lucky to be able to talk to her regularly. <333

    • Caitlin says...

      Oh wow, this made me tear up too. My grandmother passed away when I was 18 and before texts or voicemails. How I wish we could have had a relationship as adults and experienced all these new technologies together. :)

    • Sarah says...

      Thanks for this suggestion!, the “motion picture” made me laugh, I thought of how my grandmother refuses to use facetime because she doesn’t understand why we need to see her when we can hear her. I love my grandmother dearly & my relationship with her, so I read the description and downloaded it immediately to my kindle. Can’t wait to dive into it this weekend!

  88. Amy says...

    I’m reading “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion, and I can’t put the book down. It’s a melancholy read – Didion explores her relationship with grief after the sudden deaths of her husband and daughter – but it’s made me reflect on my own relationships and how precious they are.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! this book was so beautiful and stirring. I also loved Epilogue by Anne roiphe about the year or two after her husband died.

    • Sage says...

      I’ve had that staring at me from my to-read shelf for almost a year now… I really need to pick it up, but it’s hard to willingly enter that headspace.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Another book that centres grief in such an honest, moving, poetic way is The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander. Grief isn’t the easiest subject to write about; I’m in awe of those who can.

  89. Melody says...

    Kelly Conaboy is a treasure

  90. Court says...

    I’m reading Anxious People by Fredrik Backman and The Mystery of Mrs. Christie. Both GREAT.

  91. Leah says...

    Sounds like you really need a dog Joanna. It’s time.

    And my experience: the larger the breed, the calmer they are. I’d stay away from those tiniest tiny ones.

    • Eirian says...

      As a chihuahua owner, I can confirm that tiny dogs are lively dogs!

  92. Charlotte says...

    “He will sit his big, fat butt on your lap like he’s tiny, when he actually weighs twenty-seven pounds.” made me laugh, especially because mine does the same, although as a pitbull-mastiff, he’s closer to seventy-seven!

    Right now I’m reading a few different things:

    Eager, by Ben Goldfarb, about beavers and how they help the environment
    The Liar’s Dictionary, by Eley Williams
    The Life of the Mind, by Hannah Arendt, because it’s been on my list forever and now is as good as time as any

    Obviously I have a hard time picking a lane! ;)

  93. Allyson says...

    If you’re still thinking over getting a dog, “Dog Songs” by Mary Oliver will do the same thing to your heart. I have two dogs and it makes me want to find even more time with them than the pandemic has already given us. We don’t deserve dogs.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh, yes! I gave that book to my MIL a few years ago but now I want to read it myself!

  94. Just the other day I downloaded this book for my Kindle for only $2.99 from Amazon. I am definitely a dog lover.

  95. Kate says...

    I saw this book recommended elsewhere recently as well, though the cover looks a bit self-publish-y, it sounds hilarious and adorable!!

    I just finished Wintering by Katherine May and my book club has chosen Untamed next, which I have already read. I was excited to read it again but now can’t bring myself to pick it up. I miss the light and easy to pick up and put down reading of Wintering so I just ordered The Little Book of Lykke, which I think seems like a cozy, informative and not at all taxing read.

  96. Sage says...

    George Saunders’ “A Swim in the Pond in the Rain.” I’m savouring it, not devouring it. Was never a fan of Russian literature, but the care with which he writes & the obvious passion he has for these stories is lovely. I’ve always wanted to take one of his classes and this genuinely feels like the next best thing.

    • riye says...

      George Saunders is so awesome! I found him via his kids’ book “The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip” and his short story collection “Civilwarland in Bad Decline”. Highly recommended. :-)

      I’m reading A.J. Hackwith’s “The Archive of the Forgotten”, which is the second book in her Hell’s Library series. Really good and full of unexpected things.

    • Sage says...

      Totally agreed, Riye, he’s an incredible author AND human! I wrote a paper about his work & how it tackles the responsibilities (real + imagined) of fatherhood as part of my grad school application, haha.

      I’ll check out the series! Going off the plot summary of the first book, seems almost Terry Pratchett-esque. Thanks!