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198 of 201 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A Boston Terrier was my father's engagement gift to my mother. Another was my seventh-birthday gift. As I approach Medicare, for the first time in my life I don't have a Boston Terrier. My 10th one died recently at age 15. At some point during our dog's illness, my husband and I decided that this was our last dog. It was a rational, logical, and realistic decision based on our ages and circumstances. So why am I so uncommitted and unconvinced by it? This book reminded me.

Not everyone melts when they see a Boston Terrier. Buggy eyes and flat noses aren't most people's idea of doggy beauty. There are prettier dogs, bigger, fluffier, more colorful, more and less energetic, equally smart and funny. But there is more to these little creatures than their looks. Their personalities dovetail perfectly with mine and we understand each other. (Exactly what that says about me, I don't know). Every important moment in my life has been shared with, at least, one. I still come home and look down, I still check garden gates, I still look at dog toys at the grocery store.

The author is even more of a dog person than I am. She tells the story of, not only her own dogs, but of dogs she has provided foster homes for (something I admire tremendously in others and would never be able to do). Reading her book feels like having a conversation with a friend you have much in common with. She shares the good times along with the sadness and the every-day frustrations and inconveniences.

But most of all, she shares how these little loves who don't speak still manage to help you understand the complexities of life as well as the simple truths we might not have, otherwise, noticed. She shares how dog and human meet halfway to communicate with each other and fill each other's empty spaces; how they silently seem to bring out the best in us, and how they help us become more human as well as humane; how a dog relationship helps you develop virtues such as patience, loyalty, commitment, and unselfishness, as well as self-esteem and competence.

Her dogs and mine have had much in common and I confess to tearing up, now and then. But, just as in the real-life dog/human relationship, the joy far outweighs the pain.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2010
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Julie Klam's "You Had Me At Woof" is just a perfect read - funny, smart, and at times serious. I will be the first to admit that I was never a dog person until I got my dog, and even still, HE is the only dog I like. But I think Julie has turned me around and sold me on the idea that other people's dogs are pretty great too.

While not specifically a "how to" book on happiness, it's clear that Julie discovered to be fulfilled beyond the role of wife and mother, she needed to help these abandoned dogs find forever homes, and it's a noble calling. The book provided great insight into the whole world of rescue dogs, and the people who rescue them. I found myself rooting for the dogs, and for Ms. Klam.

A thoroughly entertaining read.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 7, 2010
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Right now the demand for dog books can scarcely be sated. Being one of the insatiable readers of these dog books, I got my hands on Julie Klam's You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness and thoroughly enjoyed it. Klam is an accomplished writer with a great sense of humor, and she would need one, living as she does in a Manhattan apartment with her husband, daughter, and a variable number of small dogs who can't be counted on to mind their manners.

Julie has a passion for Boston terriers. She got her first Boston when she was thirty, depressed, underemployed and alone. She really wanted to meet a man and eventually get married but...well, she got a dog to bridge the gap and bonded with little Otto right away, making him the complete focus of her attention. Not all readers will relate to her indulgence of Otto, but many people feel the same way about their canine companions--and many others feel a strong enough bond to understand why others might go that far. For Julie, her relationship with Otto was unselfish and nurturing, helping her to transition to other relationships.

Fast forward to Julie married and raising a daughter. For me, the most interesting aspect of her story was her work with a Boston terrier rescue organization. She got involved in picking up Bostons from shelters and organizations and placing them in foster homes, while working to find "forever homes" for these appealing pooches. It was not her intention to foster dogs, never mind adopt, but somehow...somehow...we keep finding Julie with a macrame of leashes walking a tangle of little dogs through the streets of Manhattan. Some dogs just wriggled their way into her heart. In one memorable passage, Julie describes her dogs' incorrigible behavior while being walked, and offers this explanation: "It's that saying 'All dogs go to heaven.' They hear it all the time. Why bother curbing yourself if you have this Get Out of Hell Free card?"

From the sometimes eccentric dog owners, to the big-hearted people who always make room for a dog in need, to the personality-packed little dogs themselves, you'll find this book rewarding and full of pure entertainment. A must-read for anyone crazy about dogs.

Linda Bulger, 2010
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 6, 2010
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
IF the title isn't cute enough, the reader will soon meet even cuter Boston Terriers that Julie has devoted her life to rescue. She starts off the book with her own story, this book is somewhat of a memior, but is so much more. I did hold my breathe in the beginning because I really didn't want to read another woman's tale of her narsasitic life while after being lead to believe this was truly to be a dog's tale. It is just that....a story about her dogs, with also details of her personal life woven in the story. She does such a great job telling all the stories of her own pets (Otto and Bev) and her rescue pets (there are many). I enjoyed so much reading about her last rescue of the book Dahlia. What a sweet dog. Just a story about Dahlia would have been enough to fill the pages of a book. What I love about this book is that through Julie telling her story of serving these lovable (sometimes unlovable Boston Terriers), is that you learn more about Julie then if she would have just written about the birth of her daughter Violet, her marriage, her career, and her friends, while briefly mentioning these heartwarming dogs on the side. I think since Marley and Me came out that there is a new generation of authors that want to write that sort of book, but really just ends up writing more about themselves than their relationship with the pets they are suppose to write about.

Julie really has a heart for these dogs. You don't see her complaining about the constant pee and poop (I am sure vomit is there somewhere even though she doesn't mention it) in her apartment. SHe loves these dogs and the details she writes about each of them does each dog justice. I applaud all her fellow rescue workers in this book.

I am not sure if the reader will learn the secret behind being happy after reading this book, but it is obvious that Julie has found what she loves in her dogs, and she does a really great job communicating that through her unquie writing style in her book.

I would highly recommend this book!!! I loved it!!!!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Julie Klam has a good title for this book: "You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness." The secrets of happiness are complicated. And the dogs she had were pretty complicated, too. But yes, one at a time--or two at a time!--they came into her life and transformed it.

I wrote about a book about therapy dogs, who along with their owner-handlers provide other people with great emotional and even physical benefits, through visiting them. I have an assistance/service dog, which are dogs who provide disabled people with physical aid. Both of these jobs for dogs are effective far beyond the exact tasks the dogs perform. Dogs are mysteriously very, very special.

As the author's experiences make clear, there is a whole lot of work in taking proper care of a dog, and a whole lot of differences among dogs. Picking the right one for yourself is not easy and not a sure thing. It is so very, very important to get this right, because dumping off a dog that isn't working out like you expected is, well, it's wrong.

What you need to do if you can't keep a particular dog is to return the dog to the breeder if possible, or if not, find the dog a new home. Rescue groups like the one our author worked with for years make a huge difference in finding dogs new homes and standing by them to find them ANOTHER home if that one doesn't work.

Klam grew up on a large property in the country with Mastiffs--enormous dogs--and as a New York City apartment dweller, came to Boston Terriers and mixes. She made good choices about her dogs, with the help of knowledgeable rescue people.

So many books about dogs are just too upsetting for me to read. This one is a real page turner, and has a great message, too. Her dogs, and the help she had from knowledgeable dog people, made her life much better. Wow.

Highly recommended book!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Julie Klam's memoir of how dogs changed her life was sweet and entertaining. Klam relates her foibles as a first-time dog owner, trying to raise a puppy and an infant, and the heartbreak of losing a dog that you love with all your heart. Klam also details her extensive work with rescue organizations and the joys and pains that come along with the work.

I love to read memoirs but they are so hard to review! This book was funny and heartwarming. It was also sad and heartbreaking. I enjoyed Klam's writing style and the way her story unfolded.

I would definitely recommend this book. It was a quick and enjoyable read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I am not a dog person. Or a cat person. Or, for that matter, a fish, hamster or snake person. It's not that I don't like pets --- though I don't. It's that I don't like creatures with short life spans cohabiting with us. Maybe you've noticed: They have a bad history of not living long. And dealing with grief generated by dead animals --- that's optional, isn't it?

I taught Julie Klam at NYU's Tisch School. She was smart, ironic, destined for some kind of media career. I would not have said that, eight years after graduation, she'd be working at a dead-end job in the insurance business, living alone and taking anti-depressants. Nor would I have said that the way out of loneliness and tedium would, for her, start with a dog.

But as "You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness" attests, you let in a dog into your life, he makes his way into your heart. (If you give a mouse a cookie....) And then you become a dog person. A serious dog person. Though, if you're Julie Klam, "serious" gets bent into irony, self-deprecation and outright humor along the way.

Blame it on Otto, her first Boston Terrier. Julie had to go all the way to Pennsylvania to adopt him. When she got him home, he went straight for her bed: "He sat in it like he'd been there all his life. And as with everything else he did, I took it as a sign of genius."

Love? Literally: "I thought about him every minute we were apart, brought him everywhere the law allowed, fed him everything I ate, carried him up to my sleeping loft every night and tucked him under the covers, his head on the pillows next to mine. All my energy was put toward making him happy. It was the best relationship I've ever been in."

And an instructive one: "I took care of him and he took care of me. Within six months of adopting him, I grew up." Through Otto, she learned "the give-and-take that is needed to succeed in a relationship." Soon she was married. And writing. (As readers of her first book --- Please Excuse My Daughter --- know well, Julie Klam is very funny, in a young voice/old soul way.)

Otto led her to animal rescue --- taking in dogs destined to be put down and helping them find new homes. This is not without its nightmares. Some dogs have rotten personalities. One gets killed in traffic. Some are abused or untrained. And it's not as if Julie Klam is magic with animals --- she thinks of herself as "the dog mutterer."

I know that every dog is special and that yours, dog lover, is the most special of them all. But there's something about Julie Klam's dogs and dogs-in-transit that's very fun to meet on the page.

Or is it really Julie Klam?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
You Had me at Woof is a humor book about one woman's life with dogs and how it influenced her perception of both dogs and people. Many people have dog stories they like to share and author Julie Klam proudly counts herself among them. She has multiple dog stories, in fact, and several different ones are shared in the pages of You Had me at Woof. A parade of dogs passes through her family home and no matter how short the stay, each dog leaves an important imprint on Klam's heart and soul.

This book might, at first glance, seem like it is going to be just another sappy love story about a woman and her beloved pooch. However, the book doesn't spend its time focused on one dog. It is true that the author's dog Otto was her first love and the dog that won her heart instantly, but the book doesn't spend much time talking about the Otto era. Instead, it quickly moves to other dogs and other experiences. The author and her family took part in a Boston Terrier rescue organization and this led to all sorts of adventures and misadventures, several of which are shared in the pages of this book.

Humor is found throughout this book, but this text is also meant to be taken seriously and there is an obvious element of somberness in its contents. There are the heartbreaking moments when a beloved dog passes, along with funny, tender, and even outrageous moments. Aggressive dogs, passive dogs, mistreated dogs, affectionate dogs, and even pregnant dogs make their way into the family homestead. The book is able to find some humor in each experience, but there are certainly many serious moments. Each doggie encounter is unique and special in the eyes of the author and she seems to cherish each moment spent between herself and her dogs.

Many important lessons can be learned from our canine friends and this book has many to share. The book does jump around quite a bit as the author goes from one Boston Terrier rescue mission to another and this scattered nature could bother some readers. However, I found the book a page turner, full of humor, devotion, emotion, and plenty of adventure as the author takes on new dogs and ends up finding herself in the process.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
As a Boston Terrier owner I thought I would love this book. Yet I found it to be annoying. Klam focused so many negatives of dog ownership and fostering that it made you just not want to own and let alone foster one in need! Yes, owning a dog takes a lot of work, responsibility & heartbreak but it can also be a lot of fun & fulfilling. The only thing I can relate to in this book is when she mentions how she has many different names for the dogs & songs that she sings to them. We are on our 4th album of songs ourselves & our two BTs have about ga-billions names to them. What's more annoying in the end is how she thinks that a home that is clean & pristine means it would not be a good home for a dog! Just because you let your dogs run amok in your home with no boundaries doesn't make you a better dog owner either! So I would definitely NOT recommend this book at all especially to anyone thinking of getting a dog.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 25, 2011
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Like many of us, Julie Klam's life was changed when she experienced unconditional love from her first dog. Her quirky Boston terrier shifted her focus outside herself, introduced her to a whole new set of people, and opened her heart to new relationships. Eventually she became involved with a local rescue group, where she was introduced to a new set of challenges and opportunities. Many of the scenarios she writes about are hysterically funny, some are heart-rendingly poignant, and all have the unmistakable ring of truth.

While reading this book, I realized I missed having a dog in my life. Althouth the time isn't right for me to have one, I was recently invited to visit a shelter's training class, designed to help their dogs become more adoptable. So this book has had a significant influence on my life---I signed up for orientation to become a shelter volunteer. I hope Julie Klam would be pleased!
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