5 new books for the pet lover in you

We do love our pets. Some 70 million to 80 million dogs and 74 million to 96 million cats own people … uh, are owned by people in the United States, says the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Presumably, many of those pet-owners like to read pet-centric books, such as these new titles:

“The Secret Life of Souls” by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee (Pegasus, $25, 240 pages): Child actress Delia Cross can’t depend on her exploitative parents or brother for emotional support, but she does lean on her gifted dog, Caity, a ginger Queensland Heeler. When a “freak accident” puts the girl in mortal jeopardy, it’s up to Caity to rescue her.

“Unlikely Companions” by Laurie Hess (Da Capto, $25, 256 pages; with Samantha Rose): The exotic-pet vet takes animal lovers on a dramatic and emotional journey into her practice as she treats pythons, birds, hedgehogs, wallabies and pot-bellied pigs, and compassionately counsels their eccentric owners.

“Dogs and Their People” by the editors of BarkPost ( The BarkPost website is an online gathering place for canine owners to share photos and stories about themselves and their dogs. The attraction here is a fun, photo-centric look into dog owners’ lives, their anecdotes and their relationships with their best friends.

“Flying Dogs” by Julia Christie (Touchstone, $15, 128 pages): Photographer Christie got the idea for this very funny photo book from the aerial antics of her puppy, who loved to leap for Frisbees. The result is a photo album of 120 dogs in mid-air, many of them looking quite surprised. A cover note assures, “No dogs were harmed in the making of this book.”

“The Dog Ray” by Linda Coggin (Candlewick, $16, 208 pages): ’Tweens who love dogs will love this unusual tale of grief and healing (with a happy ending). When 12-year-old Daisy dies tragically, she finds herself in a “soul-reassignment center” and returns to Earth as a dog. She remembers her life as a girl, though, and embarks on a journey to find her human parents. “Heartfelt” is the right word.

Allen Pierleoni: 916-321-1128, @apierleonisacbe