Perfect Pairing – of Dog Rescue Books

As the mother of a rescue pup, Sadie, and the grandmother to rescue pup, Gracie (who I haven’t even met in person yet), I know how much these pups are loved and needed, especially during this prolonged period of stay-at-home mandates. I also know how much we all enjoy reading heartwarming fur-ever home tales, like the ones I’m pairing here!


Mr. Scruff 

Author & Illustrator: Simon James

Publisher/Date: Candlewick Press/2019

Ages: 5-8

Themes: dogs; rescue; names; pets; companionship

Short Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A sweetly silly story of a little boy and a dog who make an unlikely (but perhaps perfect) pair.

Everyone knows that owners and their dogs belong together in a unique way. Polly belongs to Molly, Eric belongs to Derek, Berry belongs to Terry. But poor Mr. Scruff, alone in the rescue shelter, doesn’t belong to anyone. Then a boy named Jim walks in, and they seem to get along. Jim and Mr. Scruff don’t look anything alike, and their names certainly don’t rhyme, but they may end up belonging to each other just the same. From author-illustrator Simon James comes a warm, winning story about friendship and finding a home.

Read a review at Julie Rowan-Zoch’s blog.


Author & Illustrator: Hazel Mitchell

Publisher/Date: Candlewick Press/2016

Ages: 4-6

Themes: dogs; rescue; moving house; pets

Short Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A heartwarming story about the growing bond between a child and a new pet—inspired by the author’s experience with a rescue dog of the same name.

When a young boy and his father move from one house to another, they decide to adopt a dog from the local rescue shelter. But their chosen dog, Toby, is having a tough time adjusting to his new life outside the shelter—howling all night, hiding fearfully from his new humans, forgetting where to go to the bathroom, and chasing a ball through the flower bed. The boy has promised to train his new companion, and he’s trying his best, but Dad is starting to get exasperated. Will Toby ever feel comfortable with his new family and settle into his forever home, or will Dad decide he’s not the right dog for them after all?

Read a review at Children’s Books Heal.

I paired these books because both involve bringing a new dog into the family and figuring out how that dog and its boy belong together. In sweet rhyming text, Mr. Scruff shows how one young boy and one older dog may be the perfect match. In Toby, it’s clear that a new puppy is just what one lonely little boy needs to help settle into his new home.

Looking for similar reads?

See my Rescue Dog Perfect Pairing from 2019; Found. (Jeff Newman & Larry Day, 2018); and The Story of Moose: How a Big Dog on a Little Island Found Love…After Nearly 5 Years in a Shelter (Laurie Damron, 2016).


2 responses to “Perfect Pairing – of Dog Rescue Books

  1. What a sweet pairing. And thank you for including my review of Toby! A dog is always a boys best friend and the perfect setting for any story – NO MATTER WHAT. I like the pairing. Cheers! I’m a dog lover — have always had minature poodles — smart dogs!

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