I read this book a long time ago, and while its name is lost to me, several details ring remarkably clear.
The premise of the book is that this boy adopts a dog who has the ability to communicate with him and other children via mind reading. He offers advice to the children and helps them deal with their problems. This one girl is sexually assaulted by the brother, and the dog gives her advice and how to talk about it. The boy develops a crush on a girl that he meets at a hotel swimming pool, and the dog explains it as ‘puppy love’ (harhar). The climax goes something like the boy is on a truck with his parents and it starts leaking gas. The dog smells it and saves them before the truck explodes. In the end, I believe the dog goes back to his home planet, because he realizes that the children are competent enough now.
The cover was somewhat of a 80-90s painting like style, with kids running and a space ship flying beneath them.
I’ve been searching for this book for ages, and am almost convinced it was some strange fever dream (ALMOST). If someone could help me, I would greatly appreciate it!