The Shop Dogs of Parnassus: A Book for the Ages

Shop dog Opie lounges in bed with his copy of The Shop Dogs of Parnassus

We were never in it for the fame.

We just show up to work every day like regular dogs. We do our jobs well because our jobs matter. We bring integrity to the business. Sure, there are rewards—the biscuits, the tummy rubs, the shy little kid who wants to sit in the corner and read one of us a book. We care about that kid and so we listen. We’re here to make sure people have the books they need so they can learn and grow and be entertained. Books and dogs, we’ll be the first to say it, get people through the hard times, and books and dogs are there when people feel like celebrating.

Shop dog Barnabus models with his new favorite book

The whole reason we’re at Parnassus is that we are dogs who believe in the importance of reading.

We never thought there would be a book that someone could read about us. We promise you, it never crossed our minds.

But in celebration of ten good years of shop dogs, Sparky’s shop person Ann decided to tell our story. She wrote about our elders and our puppies. She honored those noble dogs who came before us. She wrote about our friends who had visited the store, about the grand events and the day in, day out grind. Then she took our stories and turned them into a book, you know, the way she does.

Then that funny kid, Alethea Hall, the one who wears hats and perches on her desk chair like a nesting chicken, drew our portraits. We never knew she’d been paying so much attention. She got us, all of us, just like she was looking into our souls. Oh, we wish our mothers were here to see how well we turned out. That Alethea is loaded with talent.

Shop dog Lavinia shyly shows off the book

And if that wasn’t honor enough, Kate DiCamillo wrote the introduction. KATE DiCAMILLO for barking out loud. She wrote Because of Winn Dixie. There’s nothing that woman doesn’t understand about dogs.

Shop dog Marlee nuzzles up next to her copy of the book

Then Mary Laura Philpott, who used to write about shop dogs before she became so famous and started writing about a turtle, came back to write the end, what they call “the afterword.” Mary Laura brought the whole thing home, which is only fitting, seeing as how we never would have had a voice if it hadn’t been for her.

When they put it all together it was still a small book, but we don’t ask for much. What we could see so clearly once somebody read it to us is that the shop dogs…

….wait, we need to compose ourselves for a minute…

Shop dog Sparky proudly poses with his copy

The shop dogs are the story of Parnassus Books, and because of our service we have been immortalized forever. Even though we never asked for it, we find this book matters to us. It matters to us a lot.

Since dogs don’t need money, we’ve decided to donate all our proceeds to the Parnassus Foundation, which buys books for kids in our community who need books. Maybe, if we raise enough money, we’ll be able to buy every kid a book AND a dog. We know that sounds like some crazy shop dog dream, but hey, look how far we’ve come.

The Shop Dogs of Parnassus is a limited edition and only available through Parnassus Books. You could come in and pick one up, say hello, or we’d be happy to mail you a copy if you don’t live around here. That’s the kind of dogs we are.

The Shop Dogs of Parnassus by Ann Patchett

Sales of The Shop Dogs of Parnassus will benefit the Parnassus Foundation, which provides books to schools and underserved communities.

A note from the shop humans: Can’t get enough of the shop dogs? Check out our new video by Doug Lehmann! We’ll be watching it on repeat.