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Love at First Bark: How Saving a Dog Can Sometimes Help You Save Yourself Hardcover – October 18, 2011
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Sullivan: One of my favorite parts of Love at First Bark is when you’re searching for an injured stray puppy in New Orleans and ask yourself a series of questions about how far you’d go to save a dog, which culminates with your jumping under a train to get the puppy. To date, is this the farthest you’ve gone?
Klam: It’s the farthest I’ve gone physically. Mentally, I’ve gone much further . . .totally off the deep end . . .on more than one occasion.
Sullivan: How many dogs do you have now? And how do they help or hurt your writing life? I love having my dog curled up under my desk while I’m working, but he always seems to want to go outside and play just as I’m reaching a critical moment in a scene.
Klam: I had four until last week, when we adopted out a foster. I would say, since I’ve written two books on my dog relationships, they help me quite a bit. In fact, Fiorello actually does a fair bit of copyediting. And Beatrice has consulted on all the dog dialogue. She frequently tells me, “A dog would never say that!” Or “No way--too human!”
Sullivan: I’ve only been a dog owner for nine months. One of the things that has surprised me the most is the way that our neighborhood has suddenly opened up to us—we know so many more people, and they all know us. (They may not know our names, but they know Landon’s!) Have you experienced the same thing? What is it about dogs that brings this out in people?
Klam: I wrote in my first book that when I got my dog Otto, I suddenly developed dog vision—I think the same thing happened when I was pregnant When something is suddenly appearing in your life, you relate to it everywhere. The thing about dogs is that, in most cases, they don’t just walk by a dog on the street. They stop and sniff and maybe play. They are far less boundary- obsessed than we are. I think we can stand behind our dogs, saying hello to other dogs, and be just slightly a part of it. I bring the dogs into the dog run, and they run over and join in the games and bark at a Boxer and chase a Lab. I’ve tried to incorporate that into my own life. When I go to parties now, the first thing I do is sniff the host’s butt, and then I’ll just start chasing the guests.
Sullivan: This is your second book about your relationship with dogs. Do you get flooded all the time with dog-related questions from readers and people you know, the way doctors have people asking for medical advice at backyard barbecues? I confess that when it comes to dog stuff, I often ask myself, WWJD: What Would Julie Do? Any particularly interesting requests or questions that you’ve gotten?
Klam: I get loads of questions—mostly about training issues, and I do try to remind people that I have the worst dogs on the planet. I’ve gotten many heartbreaking questions, too, about the timing in ending a dog’s life. It’s a terrible place many pet owners have to go to, and in those cases, I just say you do the best you can and it’s okay.
Sullivan: Earlier this year, there was a big kerfuffle in the news about allowing dogs to sleep in bed with you--a study found that it could lead you to get the plague, among other things. I do it anyway. WWJD?
Klam: The real secret of why I became an author is that I get to occasionally travel to places alone and sleep by myself in a bed. It’s remarkable. There’s no hair or sticks or ticks. If I eat in the bed, I don’t have to share. The floor is dry because no one has decided that morning is too long to wait to go out. . . .What was the question?
Sullivan: In the book, you talk a bit about using Twitter to get the word out about dogs in need. How has online social networking helped change the landscape of rescue work?
Klam: Oh, it’s HUGE! I compared it to the Twilight Bark in 101 Dalmations. I am constantly hearing about dogs in danger all across the country, and I can post about them and have a very caring national audience respond. A woman posted on my Facebook page that her parents had found an abandoned Boston terrier in Texas and no rescues had room for it. Someone else on the page worked with rescue in Texas and was able to help her (in the end, her parents kept the dog . . .which is the best thing ever).
(Photo of Julie Klam © Sarah Shatz)
Top Customer Reviews
Klam falls in love with just about every dog she meets and I have no doubt they fall in love right back. I am lucky enough to have met Klam and in person she is every bit as warm, funny, and just a little bit nuts as she is on paper. I finished up reading Love At First Bark last night before going to bed and when I woke up this morning, I felt good; I was energized and positive and ready to go. That a book about dog rescuing, from the troubled streets of Upper Manhattan to the desolation of the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, can make a person feel hopeful about life says a lot about Julie Klam, and also about the bond between animals and humans, a source of sustenance that goes both ways and that cannot be denied.
Overall, I kept waiting for something to click with me and this book, but it just never did for me. I've been thinking about it since I finished it. Is it maybe that she is primarily a comedic writer, that she never touches on those deeper levels of feeling? Can't be sure. I feel she is quite sincere in her commitment to animal rescue I just don't think she writes about it very well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
That love you have for your dog, and I have for mine? I found it here in these pages, and then I found it for this book. JUlie Klam just gets it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jill Jones
For dog-lovers especially, this book is a delight. Ms. Klam knows how to get us interested and from the first sentence.Published 4 months ago by Sandra Horwitz
A heartwarming book about the bond we share with dogs and the life lessons they teach us! Julie shares her passion for rescuing dogs and the life lessons she has learned through... Read morePublished 5 months ago by CNXC3
OK got it for my sister who adopted a dog - only read parts of it. The idea and the cover are nice!Published 21 months ago by T H.
Anyone who loves dogs is sure to love this book, in my opinion. I enjoyed it very much and look forward to finding more books about dog rescue.Published on March 22, 2014 by Leah Von Volkenburg
I had high hopes and really wanted to like this book, but at every possible chance to be deep or impactful, Klam ruins it with her writing. Read morePublished on February 28, 2014 by Ryan
Great Book! Keep your tissues handy! I absolutely would recommend this book for the dog lover in your life. Love!!!!Published on February 18, 2014 by Matt Duncan
For some reason I picture Tracy Pollan narrating this book. Really enjoyed this story. Having a 9 lb rescue dog I can certainly relate to this book. Read morePublished on February 4, 2014 by Fly Fishing Lady