7 Short Fiction Stories About Dogs

Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

This week I read short stories about dogs.

Dogs find their way into a lot of fiction and can be good or bad, companions or enemies, protectors or threats, smart or dumb, main characters or side characters or even incidental characters. One of the big rules of writing fiction, particularly series fiction, is ‘don’t kill the dog’ (unless it’s an evil one, and even then you need to think twice).

This week’s stories included a guardian dog, a homeless dog, an escaped dog, a listening dog, a cynical dog, horror dogs, and a glass dog.

These are the stories I read this week and what I thought.

** I’m not here to criticise any writer. The fact that these writers have put themselves out there and made these stories available for me to read for free is amazing and I thank you.**

Sunday: Roog

Roog by Philip K. Dick. Read on the BAEN website.

“Roog!” the dog said. He rested his paws on the top of the fence and looked around him.

The Roog came running into the yard.

What it’s about: A dog guards its owners against things only it can see.

I can hear a dog now, a few houses down, barking for no apparent reason. Do dogs see things that we don’t? The one in this story does but his humans don’t know it.

Or is it really just the garbage men?

Monday: Street Dog

Street Dog by Shawn Kobb. Published on The Bark website.

After a few minutes of walking, I could feel a shadow trailing behind me. I didn’t even need to turn and look. I just knew he was there. He was scruffy and light brown with a ragged, unkempt beard almost like we shared fashion tips.

What it’s about: A homeless man and a homeless dog share the hardships of the streets.

A tale of companionship between two of society’s outcasts.

An ultimately sad but also happy ending.

Tuesday: Walter the Wonder Dog

Walter the Wonder Dog by Angela Largent. Published on the Short Fiction Break website.

As I drove the streets of my neighborhood, scanning yards, I wondered how far Walter could have gotten by now.

What it’s about: Walter runs off from his inexperienced owner.

Walter’s owner questions their sanity in getting a dog when they know nothing about dogs. They also worry about him as they drive around looking for him.

Walter, meanwhile, is having a great time.

Wednesday: Advice from a Dog

Advice From a Dog by Ella Devaux. Submitted to a Reedsy prompt challenge.

The blissful silence was interrupted by a loud bark, shocking Piper out of her daze.

What it’s about: A lonely girl at a New Year’s Eve party finds a dog to talk to.

Dogs can be great sounding boards for when you need to work things out in your own head. They don’t judge and they’re happy to listen and just be there with you.

This dog is no different.

Thursday: Memoirs of a Yellow Dog

Memoirs of a Yellow Dog by O. Henry. Read on the American Literature website.

The first thing I can recollect, an old woman had me in a basket at Broadway and Twenty-third trying to sell me to a fat lady. Old Mother Hubbard was boosting me to beat the band as a genuine Pomeranian-Hambletonian-Red-Irish-Cochin-China-Stoke-Pogis fox terrier.

What it’s about: A dog tells us about his life and empathises with his owner’s husband.

A very cynical dog in a very amusing story.

Well worth the read if only just for O. Henry’s descriptions.

Friday: Dog

Dog by Bruce McAllister. Published on TOR.com.

He said: “Watch the dogs when you’re down there, David.”

What it’s about: An American couple spend some time in Mexico and encounter dogs unlike any they’ve seen before.

This is a horror story with Aztec mythology at its heart. It’s a relatively long short story but is a fascinating read.

This is my pick of the week.

Saturday: The Glass Dog

The Glass Dog by Frank L Baum. Read on Project Gutenberg.

“Where can I find a dog?”

“What sort of a dog?” inquired the glass-blower.

“A good dog. One that will bark at people and drive them away. One that will be no trouble to keep and won’t expect to be fed. One that has no fleas and is neat in his habits. One that will obey me when I speak to him. In short, a good dog,” said the wizard.

What it’s about: A glass-blower agrees to make a glass dog for a wizard who’s sick of people interrupting him.

The wizard is fed up with people bothering him so he trades some magic for a glass dog. He puts a spell on the glass dog so that it barks and keeps people away from his door.

A tongue-firmly-in-cheek story about personalities, shallowness, naiveté, and opportunism.

TL;DR

This week’s short dog stories, in the order that I enjoyed them.

  1. Dog by Bruce McAllister (Horror)
  2. Street Dog by Shawn Kobb (Contemporary)
  3. Memoirs of a Yellow Dog by O. Henry (Classic)
  4. The Glass Dog by Frank L Baum (Fantasy)
  5. Roog by Philip K. Dick (Fantasy, or is it?)
  6. Walter the Wonder Dog by Angela Largent (Contemporary)
  7. Advice From a Dog by Ella Devaux (Contemporary)

I’m fascinated by short fiction. I write it and I read it.

As well as reading longer-form fiction, I try to read at least one short story every day. I select out-of-the-way stories and authors I’ve never read and sometimes never heard of.

Sometimes I pick competition entries, often ones that didn’t win. Sometimes I find random personal websites where someone has published their own stories. Sometimes I seek out professionally published stories from hardcopy books or online magazines. Sometimes I look for really old stories that are out of copyright and available online.

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Australian writer and reader. I particularly love short fiction. Always on the lookout for good writing.

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Gail Bird

Gail Bird

Australian writer and reader. I particularly love short fiction. Always on the lookout for good writing.

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