Friday, April 4, 2014

A Book Review and a Sad Goodbye...

Julie Klam is one of the reasons I became so passionate about animal rescue.  Before I became involved with a humane society, I had never been particularly interested in animal rescue, and I also thought most books about dogs were cheesy and poorly written.  But once I realized that helping animals was something I cared a lot about, it was like tons of doors opened - one of those being the huge amount of great dog books out there.  Two of them were written by Julie Klam, who is an author, magazine writer, animal advocate, and an all-around amazing person.

You Had Me at Woof and Love at First Bark are the two dog-centric books that Klam has written so far (though her other two books are fantastic as well).  I had already read the former when I stumbled across the latter on a Barnes and Noble clearance shelf - what it was doing there, I'm not sure, but it was the best five bucks I've ever spent!  Love at First Bark is a humor-infused, inspirational look at dog rescue and how it can change us for the better.

(Photo from Goodreads)

The book starts off with a quote from Henry Bergh, the founder of the ASPCA:  "Mercy to animals means mercy to mankind."  Throughout the memoir-like book, Julie Klam has many opportunities to show mercy to animals in need:  a pitbull tied up and abandoned in the street that Klam fought tooth and nail to find a good home for, a special-needs pup in need of a foster home, and so many homeless dogs that were victims of Hurricane Katrina.  Charming and inspiring, this book is one of those rare reads that makes you laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously!  

Even if you think you aren't interested in taking an active role in animal rescue, I can almost guarantee that this book will change your mind.  It is incredibly inspiring, and Klam writes in a way that is very relatable.  The first thing I did when I finished reading was Internet research on the ways in which I could become more involved with Iowa animal rescue, and I'm slowly but surely getting there (I attend my 'orientation' meeting next month to become a volunteer for transporting animals across state!  :)  )  

Here is a short piece from Love at First Bark:  "So we all gave what we could where we were most needed.  We were all pursuing the same goals in our own territory, to make the lives of some unfortunate dogs a little better.  And the experience with the dogs changed us, too.  If there was something I couldn't do myself, I knew I was a part of this global community, with friends who would be able to help me.  We found ourselves more committed and tenacious and resolved and confident.  And empathetic.  I've discovered that I can pretty much do anything, or at the very least try, without giving up."  Inspiring stuff, right?!  I think that I have found such a community, and I'm looking forward to making more friends in the rescue community! :)  In sum...if you haven't yet read this book, do so immediately.  I don't like to choose favorites when it comes to books, but this just might be the best dog book I've read so far.  (Purchase Love at First Bark here for only around $10!)

I'd also like to take a moment to share some sad news.  A couple of months ago, my husband and I assisted in transporting a 13-year-old black Lab to a local shelter.  Her owner had abandoned her in an old house by herself after finding out she did not get along with his new dog; he went to check on her and feed her every two days.  This is no life for a dog, especially one in her golden years.  After being notified by the local shelter, Jared and I drove a few hours to pick her up.  A happy, smiling girl who seemed much younger than her 13 years, she jumped right up into our backseat without hesitation.  While I drove, Jared sat with her in the back, her greying muzzle resting contentedly on his knee.  She was a sweet girl with lots of love and kisses to give, and during the short time we spent with her, we sorta fell for her.  After arriving at the shelter, she was adopted fairly quickly by a nice family with children who gave her lots of loving care.  But six weeks later, she began to have some balance and coordination issues, and yesterday, she fell over and did not get up.  

It might be silly to be sad over a dog I only spent a few hours with, but I am.  I am just glad that for that six weeks, she had someone there to care for her.  If she had to go, I am glad she didn't go alone.

Rest in peace, sweet girl.


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