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Dogs feature in novels as both protagonists and antagonists, as partners in crime and as dearly loved friends: The famous five had Timmy, Dorothy had Toto, and the Darling children had a huge Newfoundland called Nana. Often anthropomorphised, they represent comfort and companionship, loyalty and unconditional devotion, and are thus often set in contrast to a cruel and malicious human world.
· The Sawtelles have bred and trained dogs for generations in rural Wisconsin, where Almondine is Edgar’s faithful companion, but the arrival of Uncle Claude brings turmoil to their peaceful home in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, a tale of dogs and heartland America which is also a retelling of Hamlet.
· A rabid St Bernard called Cujo terrorises a small town in the novel by Stephen King.
· A lonely ten-year-old girl moves to a Florida trailer park and adopts a scruffy stray dog in the children’s book Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo: together, they make new friends.
· The domestication of a wild wolf-dog called White Fang is the subject of the novel by Jack London, set in the Yukon Territory during the 1890s Klondike goldrush, and much of it written from the animal’s point of view.
· A road trip by John Steinbeck in the company of his poodle is chronicled in Travels with Charley: In Search of America.
· Inspired by the life of a legendary canine from Western Australia, Red Dog by Louis de Bernieres charts the life, travels and friendships struck up by a remarkable Red Cloud Kelpie.
· Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan shares custody of her ex-husband’s chow-cross dog, Boyd, in the series of crime thrillers by Kathy Reichs which begins with Deja Dead.
· Cyril is the dog referred to in the title of Connie Willis’s comic science fiction novel To Say Nothing of the Dog (after Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat), set in the future after the invention of time travel.
·A biting satire and an allegory of the communist revolution in Russia, Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov tells how a stray dog, Sharik, is rescued by a scientist to be made first into a gentleman’s dog, and then into a strange man-dog with the implantation of human organs.
· The discovery of the corpse of the neighbour’s dog, Wellington, begins The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, and sparks an investigation by an unusual 15-year-old boy.