I have three cats and would have five more if my husband Jack could stand the drifting clouds of hair, the scratched furniture, the meowing, and the brawling. A dog he would not even consider, with its extra requirements of walking, drool wiping, and accident clean-ups (what he doesn't know about the cats won't hurt him). But if anyone could talk my husband into a fostering a dog or two, it would be Julie Klam, master of rescue story telling and a woman who can break your heart with one hand but then lift your spirits higher than a kite with her conclusions of dog rescue, human kindness, and dog-human bonding -- and have you laughing all the way.
In her latest book, Love At First Bark, Klam offers more doggie tales with profound insights into why we humans need the companionship of our four-legged friends. Human-animal relationships help us with our human-human relationships, by allowing us to see what we humans are capable of (generosity, caring, risk-taking) and by the examples set by animals of how much more we could be capable of (unconditional love, boundless energy, housetraining).
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.
One of my shelter-rescued cats lies beside my keyboard, another stretches out in a spot of sun on the floor, and the other snores peacefully on a chair behind me. What joy, and how lovely that Julie Klam can capture that joy, in yet another charming, moving, and very funny book.