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The Good Dog
The Good Dog by Avi.jpg
First edition
Author Avi (pseudonym)
Country USA
Language English
Genre Children's novel
Publisher Atheneum Books
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 243
ISBN 978-0-689-83824-8
OCLC 45505842
LC Class PZ10.3.A965 Go 2001

The Good Dog is a children's novel by Newbery Medalist Edward Irving Wortis published under his pseudonym, Avi, in 2001. Written for ages 8–12, the book has been described as having "a very cinematic feel" comparable to the movies The Incredible Journey and Beethoven.

Plot summary

The story is set in the town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It is recounted from the dog's point of view, with animals communicating with each other in English. The protagonist is a Malamute named McKinley, who protects his "human pup," Jack.

While helping a runaway greyhound named Duchess, McKinley meets the wolf, Lupin, who is trying to recruit dogs into her shrinking pack. McKinley must deal with Jack's desire to join the wolf pack, protect Lupin from hunters (including Duchess' ruthless owner, Pycraft), and figure out how to handle the local rival Redburn, an ambitious Irish Setter who wants to claim the role of head dog from McKinley.

By the end of the book, after overcoming many obstacles, some with the help of his best friend Aspen, a female Retriever (breed not specifically named in book) that lives next door, McKinley is transformed from a happy-go-lucky pet into a true leader.


  • The California Young Reader Medal, 2006
  • Children's Crown Award, 2004
  • Rocky Mountain News, one of the best books of the year, 2001
  • Children's Choice nominee, Pennsylvania, 2003
  • Children's Choice nominee, Minnesota, 2006
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