The dog dies...a cautionary list.

I remember as a child I would happily pick books off the library shelves based on the happy dog (horse, etc.) on the cover, only to find that the animal kicks it miserably partway through.
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276 books · 220 voters · list created August 19th, 2008 by Sarah (votes) .
50 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Sarah 2607 books
261 friends
Luann 4206 books
175 friends
Tara 861 books
272 friends
Antoine 949 books
178 friends
Cindy 8543 books
143 friends
Josie 1816 books
38 friends
Edith 2221 books
51 friends
Heather 1814 books
747 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-43 of 43 (43 new)

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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah The Hotel New Hampshire is a great addition to this list. My mother read it the year it came out, when I was five. She told me the whole saga of the dog (before and after death);she thought it was hilarious, but it haunted me for years. Years later, I read the book, and that whole incident was exactly how I had remembered it. It was still disturbing, but as it turns out, my mother was right, and it was sort of hilarious as well.


message 2: by Katherine (new)

Katherine These books are ones that I've sworn to never read. People tell me that they're worth it, but I refuse!!!!! The dog dies!! why would I read it?


message 3: by Camila (last edited Jan 03, 2009 07:02PM) (new)

Camila Love That Dog and Marley and Me are two of my most favorite books even though the yellow labs in them remind me so much of my old lab, Sadie. I love the books so much because they have that ability to make you laugh and to make you cry. And laugh until you cry! ; ) They're both really great books that will touch your heart and will be worth the tears.


message 4: by elissa (new)

elissa Uh, the dog was still alive at the end of THE UNDERNEATH.


message 5: by Leela4 (new)

Leela4 What a great idea for a list! Very useful!


message 6: by Amy (new)

Amy Neither of the two dogs died in "The Red Pony."


message 7: by Lauren B (new)

Lauren B I have read and enjoyed many books in which the dogs/animals die very sadly, but it is nice to have some forewarning. Thanks for this list!


message 8: by manatee (new)

manatee I used this list to provide some reading suggestions for a homebound patron at my library who wanted novels about dogs.
Thanks for the help. Very useful.


message 9: by Mir (new)

Mir I appreciate this warning very much, I hate thinking about animals suffering.

I added Hawkmistress -- I can't remember for sure if the hawk dies, but I know a lot of awful things happen that I was not at all old enough to read about when I got this from the library.


message 10: by [deleted user] (last edited May 31, 2010 03:45PM) (new)

Katherine wrote: "These books are ones that I've sworn to never read. People tell me that they're worth it, but I refuse!!!!! The dog dies!! why would I read it?"

So you can cry your eyes out. Still crying.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Dogs are better than people! Except for pit bulls but that is the fault of people.


message 12: by Mir (new)

Mir The more I know of men the better I like dogs

Years ago I read a novel where at the end the boy's dog gets put down because it bit a man who attacked the boy. Does that sound familiar to anyone? I don't remember the author or title but it should go on this list.


message 13: by Phoenixfalls (new)

Phoenixfalls Miriam wrote: "I added Hawkmistress -- I can't remember for sure if the hawk dies, but I know a lot of awful things happen that I was not at all old enough to read about when I got this from the library. "

The hawk doesn't die, but the horse does, and it's terribly traumatic.

It's traumatic for a purpose, but that didn't stop me from crying hysterically everytime I reread the book. :)


message 14: by Mir (new)

Mir Same here.

And if we're including ones where the horse dies, I guess I should add Magic's Pawn.


message 15: by Erica (new)

Erica I thought about putting Life of Pi on here. Do you think it makes sense? It is very animal violent and I found it traumatic. I realize the animals aren't pets, though.

Also, I had always wondered about I Am Legend. I had wanted to see the movie, but as soon as I saw he had a dog as a companion I didn't think I should risk it!


message 16: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.


message 17: by Kelly (new)

Kelly I added Judas Child. It was an amazing book, but incredibly sad! I avoid sad animal stories like the plague - fact or fiction, I just cannot bear for animals to suffer. I've often wished for a list like this, so that I know beforehand when NOT to read something! Thanks so much!


message 18: by Kelly (new)

Kelly BTW, if The Red Pony is like the movie... omg, way too sad.


message 19: by Tamsen (new)

Tamsen Thank you, I went ahead and removed any book that was still to-read!!!


message 20: by Silver (new)

Silver I have always wanted to read stories about dogs. But I don't like sad endings. This list would help me choose a book that won't make me depressed about it. I just want a happy dog read. So, thanks for the list!


message 21: by Juuli (new)

Juuli I added The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks.


message 22: by Claire (new)

Claire In Lassie Come-Home, Lassie doesn't die. It's another dog who dies when her master is attacked and Lassie fight the attackers.


message 23: by Carpe (new)

Carpe Diem I'm going to stay far away from the books on this list lol. Even though Marley and Me is a favorite of mine :)


message 24: by Steelwhisper (new)

Steelwhisper I hate being made to cry, it drives me into a spiral of depression and bad moods. So, a very good list!

I added Kholstomer, the horse's death haunted me throughout my youth, and added To Wed The Widow which is all playful about puppies and dogs, to then have her most beloved dog shot for a cheap thrill. Endlessly drawn out and in full detail as well. Yuck. Not what you'd expect in a romance.


message 25: by Ilirwen (new)

Ilirwen Thanks. Very useful list. I hate reading books that are upsetting, especially when it's about animals. Life is sad enough as it is.


~☆~Autumn♥♥☔ Wells Miriam wrote: "The more I know of men the better I like dogs

So true!



message 27: by Anna Serene (new)

Anna Serene For real I cried for HOURS after reading Where the Red Fern Grows. I couldn't stop. I both hate and love that book.


message 28: by Beth (new)

Beth Roberts I second Where the Red Fern Grows. I couldn't believe it. I still remember the chair and position where I was sitting when I read that part. It's been 40 years and it still haunts me.

I added NOS4A2 and Funerals for Horses. It's a horse in the second one and you know it's coming, but it made me sob into my dog's neck. So, same thing, right? Dog thought I was nuts. If you can hack it, I enjoyed "Funerals for Horses" very much.


message 30: by Joy (last edited Nov 08, 2017 07:15AM) (new)

Joy Not sure if this includes simple "violence to dogs", but I added White Jazz because two guard dogs are brutally killed in the book and it is part of the plotting. The book isn't about a dog or dogs.

I also added American Psycho and Lunar Park.

So is that okay? I'd love a list to which I can refer to know if there's a dog killing/death.


message 31: by Jim (new)

Jim Patterson With more books about dogs moving to movies, please find T-Shirts for sale with the following:
"I don't care who dies in a MOVIE as long as the DOG LIVES" at http://www.badideatshirts.com/
:-) Jim


message 32: by Mir (new)

Mir Has anyone here read Bunny? A friend is reading it and has gotten to a scene where she is afraid something is about to happen to an animal and she wants to know before continuing.


message 33: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Miriam wrote: "Has anyone here read Bunny? A friend is reading it and has gotten to a scene where she is afraid something is about to happen to an animal and she wants to know before continuing."

I really wish more people would put info about this sort of thing in their reviews - even if they need to hide it under spoiler tags.


message 34: by Mir (new)

Mir I usually do that -- although I also try to avoid books with violence to animals, so it doesn't come up that often.


message 35: by MorpheusZzz (new)

MorpheusZzz Alexandra wrote: "I really wish more people would put info about this sort of thing in their reviews - even if they need to hide it under spoiler tags..."

This whole list should be hidden under a spoiler tag.


message 36: by Steelwhisper (new)

Steelwhisper MorpheusZzz wrote: "This whole list should be hidden under a ..."

Welp, it's not as if people came here for no good reason...


message 37: by MorpheusZzz (new)

MorpheusZzz I was looking for dog books for a reading challenge when I came across this list. Just from the initial thumbnails, I was like, "F*ck, thanks for spoiling the endings of those..." I'll read them anyway, but come on, people, it's the circle of life. Yes, it's sad, but none of us are making it out of here alive.


message 38: by Steelwhisper (new)

Steelwhisper MorpheusZzz wrote: "I was looking for dog books for a reading challenge when I came across this list. Just from the initial thumbnails, I was like, "F*ck, thanks for spoiling the endings of those..." I'll read them an..."

This list is called:

The dog dies...a cautionary list.

Even before you open it, it tells you that it is a list of books about or including dogs who die. That is quite enough of a warning NOT TO OPEN THE LIST if you do not want to be spoiled.

As to why people want to avoid such books, could you effing please take your judgemental offensiveness elsewhere?


message 39: by Norabear (new)

Norabear Before you open the list, there are five book cover icons, spoiling the story for those who are sensitive to such things. (Not me, I've read them all.)


message 40: by Steelwhisper (new)

Steelwhisper Norabear wrote: "Before you open the list, there are five book cover icons, spoiling the story for those who are sensitive to such things. (Not me, I've read them all.)"

That is how Goodreads works. Take it to the makers of the software.


message 41: by MorpheusZzz (new)

MorpheusZzz Steelwhisper wrote: "As to why people want to avoid such books, could you effing please take your judgemental offensiveness elsewhere?."

There are occasions where people write reviews or ask questions about a book and without thinking give away important parts of the plot. They are often asked to hide their comments under spoiler tags. I felt this was along the same lines. I didn't search for a book where "the dog dies at the end". I just happened across this list after searching for dog stories in general. I'd like to read the book before knowing how it ends. I don't see why you are bringing such drama into a simple request. Go spread your joy elsewhere.


message 42: by Norabear (new)

Norabear Steelwhisper: "That is how Goodreads works. Take it to the makers of the software.

As I wrote: "... for those who are sensitive to such things. (Not me...)"

My post was a clarification or correction to your misstatement: "That is quite enough of a warning NOT TO OPEN THE LIST if you do not want to be spoiled."

Personally, I like spoilers.


message 43: by Nicole (last edited Apr 26, 2021 01:39PM) (new)

Nicole Loop I don't think I see plauge dogs on here. maybe it should be put on. theres 2 different endings tho. one they live one they don't. I watched the movie(don't watch it its soul crushingly sad) haven't read the book but did read up on it. so I guess it depends on which version you have. idk thats my 2 cents


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