[Note from Frolic: Today, we welcome author Victoria Schade to the site. She’s pairing two of our favorite things: books and dogs. Take it away, Victoria!]
There’s no better rom com co-star than a dog. Check out most new romance novels and you’re just as likely to find four paws on the cover as a handsome leading man. Dogs are everything a good romance needs; Fido can be a wingman, a shoulder to cry on, a surrogate boyfriend or the ultimate ice breaker for a perfect meet cute.
But have you ever considered that dogs are the living embodiment of the very thing we love most about romance novels? With both dogs and rom coms, happiness is guaranteed! You know you’ll get an HEA by the time you read “the end” just like you can count on that hit of oxytocin (aka the “love drug”) when your furry best friend snuggles up beside you.
And I think we can even push the dog-rom com connection even further … I believe many romance novels have canine alter-egos, even if dogs don’t appear in the pages. The following list includes a few of my favorite reads and the dog breeds that I think best represent them.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
What do you get when you mix a British bloodline with boundless energy and an impressive work ethic tempered by a clownish streak? You get the spirit of Red, White & Royal Blue wrapped up in one adorably feisty package: the Parson Russell Terrier. Born in the UK and adopted by the US, this bold breed is known for their single-minded tenacity, much like First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz. Neither one is likely to back down from a challenge, whether it’s uncovering political corruption or chasing a squirrel from the yard. But the outgoing Parson Russell Terrier isn’t just about the hunt. This petite pup is next-level intelligent, which means that just like Alex, you might find Parson Russell Terriers anywhere from the top of the class to plotting a campaign for world domination.
The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson
There’s nothing like the transformative power of a good hairdo, just ask a Standard Poodle. The right kind of grooming, like an elaborate “continental clip,” can turn a shaggy pup into the star of the show ring, or in the case of the Gorman twins in The Accidental Beauty Queen, can turn a semi-unwilling pageant contestant into an extension-wearing convert. People often forget about the duality of the Poodle: they’re famous for fussy good looks (think Miss Texas Ginny Gorman) but inside the pretty package lurks the brain of a genius (a la the “smart twin” Charlotte). The multi-faceted Standard Poodle goes to show that you can’t judge a canine by its cover, just like you can’t judge a pageant by its sparkles!
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
If America’s favorite pastime is baseball, then America’s favorite dog has to be the mutt. Heinz 57 dogs are the perfect mixture of the traits we love from an endless combination of breeds, whether it’s the loyalty of a Labrador or the tenacity of a bulldog. And those qualities are two components at the heart of The Bromance Book Club: Major Leaguer Gavin Scott’s devotion to his wife Thea and her determination to stay true to who she is and what she needs in her life. But no matter how rough things get between Gavin and Thea as they try to rescue their relationship, they share an unbreakable bond that’s as strong as the love we have for these second chance mixed breed dogs.
How To Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole
Sleek and dignified, the Saluki is the canine embodiment of royal comportment. (There’s a reason why this breed has been favored by kings for centuries!) And much like Sanyu, the reluctant royal at the center of the How to Catch a Queen, Salukis can be reserved and aloof when you first meet them. You have to work your way past this breed’s defenses, but once you’ve breached it these sensitive dogs form tight bonds within their circle of trust. Sounds a lot like a certain Nijazan King who learned to put up walls to keep folks away from his heart! And let’s not forget about the Saluki’s legendary independent streak. Sanyu’s mail order bride, Queen Shanti, knows a thing or two about getting stuff done on her own, which is yet another renegade regal parallel to this striking breed.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
You know that guy, the one who’s so good looking that it’s intimidating? He makes you nervous, but in the end you realize you got it wrong, and his scowl-y growly act is just a front. In human form he’s none other than Joshua Templeman, the so-handsome-it-hurts lead in The Hating Game. His canine equivalent is the equally stunning and often-misunderstood Doberman Pincher. These pups are muscular supermodels on four legs that happen to have an unfortunate reputation for surliness … ask any insurance agent and you’ll discover that a Dobe in the house can make it tough to get coverage. But much like Josh, Dobes just need someone who understands that beneath the unnerving exterior beats the heart of a loving, loyal, often goofy companion in search of a soulmate.
The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert
We like to think that dogs are outgoing love machines that are born to be everybody’s best friend, but there are some breeds that are more selective with their affections, such as the cat-like Basenji. This breed tends to be wary about strangers and prefers to bond to only a few lucky people, and the same goes for Sabrina Monroe, the Post-it note loving heroine in The Kindred Spirits Supper Club. She’s got her reasons for being aloof (and let’s be honest, a little awkward), but her anxiety-ridden exterior hides a bottomless well of kindness. Sure, both Sabrina and Basenjis prefer to be independent, and that’s okay. When they find their meant-to-be match they’re spirited companions (wink!), ready to share the couch and maybe a few fried cheese curds too!
About the Author:
Victoria Schade is a professional trainer at Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl and has served as a dog resource for the media; her experience working with dogs shapes her skillful canine descriptions—she paints a picture of each dog so vividly, with clear personalities of their own.
Lost, Found and Forever by Victoria Schade, out now!
What do you do when you discover your four-legged best friend might belong to someone else? From the acclaimed author of Who Rescued Who comes the charming story of a custody battle between two pet parents who would do anything for the dog they both adore.
Justine Becker could not be more in love with her rescue dog, Spencer. He’s her best friend and “colleague” at her dog supply store, Tricks & Biscuits, in upstate New York. When she discovers a heartbreaking social media post trying to locate a dog that looks suspiciously like Spencer, Justine realizes that her beloved pup might actually belong to someone else.
Her worst fears are realized when she and Spencer meet up with Brooklyn-based Griffin McCabe, and he wants Spencer back. He claims he is the dog’s rightful owner, and has the paperwork to prove it. But Justine refuses to roll over and let him take Spencer without a fight.
It’s not easy juggling Spencer’s burgeoning new career as a dog actor, along with the demands of her life upstate, all while constantly trying to prove she’s a better pet parent than Griffin. Their not-so-friendly competition teeters on the edge of flat-out hate, so when romantic feelings for Griffin catch Justine off guard, she needs to determine if it’s all part of his plot to win the pup back, or if the guy who was good enough for Spencer might also be good enough for her.