The kids and I just finished Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. It was a little difficult to read out loud because of all the back-woods country folk wording and phrases, but other than that, it was a great book. Shiloh is about a boy named Marty who finds a beagle that ran away from his drunk and abusive owner. Marty falls in love with the dog and will do anything he can think of to keep and protect Shiloh.
This is a great book to teach kids about being honest and making right choices - even when the right thing seems so wrong, and the value of hard work.