Running the Dogs

Thomas Cochran

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Talmidge Cotton's daddy is the kind of person who believes Christmas presents are for Christmas, not two days before. So on the day before Christmas Eve, Tal still isn't sure he'll get what he wants most: the chance to run his three beagles in the woods at night all by himself. That afternoon it begins to snow, an almost unheard-of occurrence in Louisiana. Tal is excited by the strange and wonderful weather and the prospect of his first white Christmas, but then his dogs disappear into the gathering storm. The next morning, they still aren't home. Even worse, the snow and ice have trapped his father in the southern part of the state, and it doesn't look like he'll make it home anytime soon. With Daddy and the dogs gone, everything seems wrong, and it sure doesn't feel like Christmas Eve . . .
In this heartwarming novel, a boy learns that even though life doesn't always follow your plans, things still sometimes turn out in a way that makes you glad to be in this world.


Read an Excerpt

1When Talmidge Cotton heard the forecast on the radio that morning he thought that somebody at the Weather Service must have mixed up the prediction for Louisiana with the one for some northern place like Minnesota, where it would make more sense. Christmas was two days away, and the report said that chances were good for it to be a white one in the northwest corner of the state, which included Tal’s town, Oil Camp. Up to six inches of snow were expected to cover the area before the storm ended.Tal checked the sky (clear) and the temperature (forty-five). The possibility of snow falling on


Praise for Running the Dogs

"Cochran's greatest strength lies in evoking hushed yet intense moods, but his light-handed conjuration of rural Louisiana is admirable as well."—The Horn Book
"With heartwarming diction and poignant symbolism, Cochran creates a loving and believable tale of middle childhood." IRA

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Thomas Cochran

  • THOMAS COCHRAN is the author of Roughnecks. He lives in West Fork, Arkansas.


Available Formats and Book Details

Running the Dogs

Thomas Cochran

  • e-Book