Dog Diaries

A Middle School Story


By James Patterson

With Steven Butler

Illustrated by Richard Watson

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When rule-breaking Rafe has to train his mischievous mutt at obedience school, things get really ruff in this Middle School book for kids and animal lovers everywhere!
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I've been waiting for ages to tell my story, and now it's finally happening! Being Rafe's dog isn't always easy, but it is always EXCITING! I've got so much to tell you about:
  • How I protect the yard from birds, raccoons, squirrels, raccoons, mail carriers … and did I mention RACCOONS?
  • Sniffing pooch posteriors for the latest canine news.
  • And the terrifying monster hiding in the hall closet: the vacuum cleaner!
These were all the most paw-some parts of my doggie life — until the evil Mrs. Stricker threatened to send me back to the pound if I didn't learn to behave. Now Rafe and I have to go to obedience school and win the trophy for Best Trained Dog . . . or else!


OOOOOOH! You opened it! You actually opened my book!

I’ve been waiting for ages, and now a human-youngling is finally reading the beginning of my story.

This sure is a waggy-tail-icious moment! I don’t think I’ve been this excited since… since… since I spotted a raccoon out by the trash cans and chased it up a fence!

That was a good day… IT WAS TERRIFIC… one of the greatest, but this is even greater!

I love humans, and I bet you’re a really tremendous one.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!

Okay, I need to calm down a little if we’re going to get this story told.

Hmmm… what to do first?

Oh yeah! Here’s a gift just for you. It’d be rude of me not to share my best-best-BEST treasure.


It’s yours, I insist. One end is a little chewed, but the rest of it is excellent. Don’t crunch it all at once.

There—now you’re my really real person-pal and we can start the story properly.




Ha ha… I’ve always wanted to say that to a human.

Okay. If you’re comfortable, I’ll begin…

I remember it like it was yesterday.

The happiest moment of a mutt’s life, when you see your pet human for the first time, and you know instantly that you’re going to be BEST FRIENDS forever.

That’s how it was when I met mine, and OH BOY do I have a great pet. But I’m getting ahead of myself. You don’t even know who I am.

I should probably start this story the way you humans like to, with an introduction. Us pooches don’t normally bother with things like that. We usually prefer to take a polite sniff of each other’s butts and—HEY PRESTO!—we’ve got all the information we need. But for you, my non-furry reader, I’ll make an exception.

My name is Junior—hello! Or should I say, HERROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW?

If you hadn’t guessed already, I’m a dog. Yep… shiny-nosed… licky-tongued… floppy- eared… bow-wow-woof-woof… and you’re holding my daily doggy diary in your five fingery digits.

Consider yourself extremely lucky, my person-pal. In this book, you’ll find the story of my life so far with my brand-new family, and it’s a HUMDINGER!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re sitting there, wrinkling up your forehead as we speak, saying “A dog’s diary?” to yourself and picturing my furry little paws typing away at a computer or scribbling in a notebook. Don’t be so people-brained… Ha!

You may also be wondering why on earth I would be keeping a journal. That’s what princesses locked in towers, or grandmoos and grand-paws get up to, right?


In case you didn’t know, all canines keep diaries. IT’S TRUE! We always have, ever since the DAWN OF DOG… all the way back to the time of the cavepeople and their saber-toothed terriers…

Just not in the same way that humans might.

Why do you think we all stop to sniff every corner and streetlight and fire hydrant on our morning walk?

Never thought about it, huh?

Well, I’ll tell you.

We’re snooping on the local gossip, checking who’s been around, and generally keeping up to date with what’s happening in the neighborhood. To us, having a good snuffle is like reading the news.

You see, dogs keep smell diaries. Every pee and poop tells a tale, dontchaknow? But let’s not panic just yet. I’m not about to ask you to stop and sniff my… ummm… you-know-what.

Nope, with the help of some booky brainiac humans, my story has been written down. Incredible, huh? They can do ANYTHING nowadays. And you can safely enjoy every word without having to worry about all the whiffs and stinks. IT’S EXCELLENT! EVERYBODY WINS!

So, where was I?

Oh, yeah, my pet human. I guess the day I came to live with him and his family is the best place to begin my diary. It’s my happiest day of them all, so far.

Only last year, my life was a seriously different bowl of kibble.

Like so many of my furry friends, I was serving life in the slammer… the clink… pooch prison!

You guessed it. My luck had run out and I found myself locked away in the scariest place in the whole world. Scratch that—THE WHOLE UNIVERSE!

There are no ear scratches or belly rubs or nose boops in that place, let me tell you. No siree! The humans who work there shuffle past, ignoring you, and don’t even want to play ball! I KNOW! IT’S HORRIFIC!

That place is one great big boredom-fest. It’s enough to turn even the bounciest pup into a small microbe of misery in no time.

BUT… I’m not there now, ha ha!

Yipp-yipp-yippee, I can’t wait to tell you this part.

All righty. Do you have spare snacks to keep us both happy as we scamper through the next few pages together?

You do?


The First Day:

A Lot of Tuesdays Ago…

I was sitting in the backyard of a house with the old lady called Grandmoo who smells like ointment and bug spray, the Mom-Lady, and the little one with a voice like a dog whistle staring down at me.

Mom-Lady had collected me from the shelter earlier that day, and it was all SO EXCITING! She bought me a new green collar with a jingly tag on it, and I got to ride up front in one of those moving people-boxes on wheels. I had to concentrate really hard so I didn’t pee on the seats with happiness.

Later, though, we were just waiting around for something, I guess… or someone. It seemed to go on forever and was very confusing.

I looked up at the three different-sized ladies and tried to figure out what they were thinking about. I’d been hoping for a treat or two and was even trying out my best puppy-dog eyes on the oldest one, but so far it hadn’t worked.

The littlest person (her name is Jawjaw) was complaining and grumbling because she said I was going to mess up her room. What room? We were in the yard! At this point, my understanding of the Peoplish language was pretty crummy, but I could tell she wasn’t happy with me. I wagged my tail and jumped up a few times, leaving muddy paw-prints on her knees (humans LOVE that), but she pushed me away, grunting.

This can’t be it, I thought to myself. It’s just like the shelter. No one wants to play.

But… one person did…

“Hey!” a boy’s voice shouted from inside the house.

Mom-Lady called to it, and a skinny kid with messy hair and long, gangly legs clomped out through the back door.

That was it! That was the moment I laid eyes on my pet human for the first time. It makes my tail go crazy just remembering it.

“Surprise!” shouted Mom-Lady.

“Is that…?” My pet human gasped. He looked completely shocked, like he’d just swallowed a hornet’s nest.

“It’s a dog!” Grandmoo said.

“Well, yeah,” mumbled my pet human, “but does he…?”

Jawjaw grumbled about something again. I was beginning to think I didn’t like her all that much. She certainly didn’t like me.

“I mean, is he… mine?” my pet human asked.

“Yes,” said Mom-Lady. “He’s yours, Ruff.”

RUFF! The best-best-BESTEST name in all the world.

Before I knew it, Ruff was down on the ground and I was planting as many slobbery licks on his cheek as I could. He smelled like junk food and broken rules, and his face tasted like mischief. I loved all of it. They say you never adore anything as much as your first pet, and I couldn’t agree more.

Don’t get me wrong—I’d known plenty of other humans back before I wound up in the dog shelter, but none of those were mine to keep.

Finally I had a buddy for life. Just look at him…

His full name is Ruff Catch-A-Doggy-Bone. I know! What are the odds a human would have such a poochish name!?!

He smiled down at me, and I jumped about his legs, nipping and bouncing and yipping. It’s what us dogs call “The Happy Dance.”

Hey… don’t judge. I was having the time of my little life, and once you’ve finished this book, you’ll be Happy-Dancing all over the place, I’ll bet.

Anyway, just when I thought things couldn’t get any better… any more


Ruff said the two most magical words I think ever existed.

They’re so powerful, these words can leave you wagging your tail for days.

Agh! I’m not sure I can even tell you what he said, it makes me so overexcited.

Okay… breathe, Junior.

Breathe in…

Breathe out…

Breathe in…

Breathe out…


  • Praise for Dog Diaries:
    An Amazon Best Book of the Month!
    A Barnes & Noble Top Book of the Month!
  • "Junior is a dog of great enthusiasm [with an] endearingly canine first-dog voice. Watson's numerous cartoon illustrations... perfectly capture Junior's whimsical attitude...This series opener is a romp in the park."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "Bolstered by Watson's spry cartoons, Patterson and Butler's rollicking story will catch--and hold--the attention of young readers, especially those of the dog-loving variety."—Publisher's Weekly
  • "Patterson's tongue-in-cheek humor, accompanied by Butler's comic illustrations, makes this illustrated chapter book a lighthearted 'dog and his boy' story for dog-lovers and fans of Tom Watson's Stick Dog series."—Booklist

On Sale
Dec 3, 2018
Hachette Audio

James Patterson

About the Author

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author, best known for his many enduring fictional characters and series, including Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, Maximum Ride, Middle School, I Funny, and Jacky Ha-Ha. Patterson’s writing career is characterized by a single mission: to prove to everyone, from children to adults, that there is no such thing as a person who “doesn’t like to read,” only people who haven’t found the right book. He’s given over a million books to schoolkids and over forty million dollars to support education, and endowed over five thousand college scholarships for teachers. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

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