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Love at First Bark: How Saving a Dog Can Sometimes Help You Save Yourself

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The bestselling memoirist shows how saving a dog can sometimes help you save yourself. Julie Klam writes about dogs with a rollicking wit and a radiating warmth-as no other writer can. In her bestselling memoir You Had Me at Woof, she shared the secrets of happiness she learned as an occasionally frazzled but always devoted owner of Boston terriers. Now, with the same enchanting, pop culture-infused amalgam of humor and poignancy that reached the The New York Times and the Today show and won the hearts of readers across the country, she returns with more humorous insight into life with canine companions.

Klam focuses here on dog rescue, and its healing power not only for the dogs who are cared for and able to find good homes, but also for the people who bond with these animals. Klam became involved with rescue after years as an owner of purebred dogs. She was looking for a way to help and participate in a community, but she never imagined just how much she would receive in return. The dogs she has rescued through the years have filled her life with laughter and contentment, sorrow and frustration, and they have made certain that she never has a dull moment. Along the way, she has collected stories from friends who have also found that guiding dogs to nurturing homes made their own lives richer. These experiences, which show us that even in our smallest gestures we can make a big difference, inspired Love at First Bark.

170 pages, Hardcover

First published October 18, 2011

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About the author

Julie Klam

13 books299 followers
Julie Klam grew up in Bedford, NY. She has been a freelance writer since 1991, writing for such publications as “O, The Oprah Magazine,” “Rolling Stone,” “Harper’s Bazaar,” “Glamour,” "The Washington Post" and “The New York Times Magazine.
A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she was a writer for VH1’s Pop-Up Video, where she earned an Emmy nomination for Special Class Writing.
A New York Times Bestseller, she has written Please Excuse My Daughter, You Had Me At Woof, Love at First Bark, and Friendkeeping and The Stars In Our Eyes (all Riverhead Books)
She lives in Manhattan with her family and dogs.

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5 stars
342 (34%)
4 stars
274 (27%)
3 stars
270 (27%)
2 stars
82 (8%)
1 star
19 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 114 reviews
Profile Image for Deborah D..
533 reviews10 followers
March 16, 2013
Julie and her husband have been traveling a rocky road for a while now - financially, their relationship is quite strained and their 3 rescue dogs (at the start of the book) are highly stressed.

Julie is a dedicated and some may consider her a fanatical Dog Rescuer in NY City.

She stumbled upon a young pit which had been tethered to a pole on the street in the summer. The neighborhood folk tried to help while they waited for an owner, but no one showed up and this dog was a dog star while Julie & Paul tried to find a rescue\foster situation for him. This started a series of events that helped them reconnect as a married couple and reopen the communications.

A lot of experiences are shared within the pages of this relatively tiny book. A worthy successor to 'You Had Me at Woof'

Profile Image for Meg - A Bookish Affair.
2,444 reviews197 followers
January 4, 2012
I picked this book up at the library because of the cover. Seriously. I judge books by their covers sometimes. When I looked at the summary on the inside flap, I was intrigued. I'm an animal lover. If it's fluffy, feathery, scaly or furry I probably like it. Julie Klam is a DOG LOVER (with all capitals). She lives in a tiny NYC apartment with her husband and daughter and three naughty dogs and she still rescues dogs. It's nice and there should be people like that in the world but I had a really hard time letting go of the idea that Klam was fine with the dogs making messes in such a tiny space.

Some of the writing sort of fell flat for me. For such a short book, I didn't feel like it engaged me as much as I usually like books to engage me. Some of the lines that were supposed to be funny or witty just didn't do it for me. That being said, some of the stories in the book were definitely touching and animal lovers will still probably enjoy this book!
Profile Image for Lynn Pribus.
1,982 reviews52 followers
April 2, 2012
Since I am a dedicated dog lover and we always get a shelter dog, I'm sorry to give this only 2 stars. But it was, for me, an annoying book. The author/reader is so over-the-top about dog rescue, she came across as pretty kooky to me.

Her pride at having 2 dogs that were not housebroken and then adding a "fecally incontinent" dog (neurological problems) to the mix in a small apartment with her own child and not keeping them in some sort of enclosure was just too much for me. She evidently sent the two unbrokens to some sort of K-9 boot camp and they came back "cured" for about 2 days. She spent a lot of time sad that they chose the rugs for pooping. (I wouldn't have offered such a choice, I guess.)

If it hadn't been so short, I probably wouldn't have finished it. It's great that there ARE people in this world who are so dedicated.
Profile Image for Donna.
3,834 reviews2 followers
December 17, 2015
For some reason, dog stories are a guilty pleasure of mine. I enjoy reading the because they are always warm and fuzzy. I liked this one. This book was about animal rescue, which I think is a major need in our society. Our shelters are crowded. The author told many different stories of her attempts at animal rescue and the effects it had on her, her family and her marriage. Definitely worth the read. Some of this was funny and plus, she has done so much on behalf of homeless pets.
Profile Image for Ren.
1,232 reviews13 followers
September 27, 2020
If you're looking for a mostly feel good, quick read, this will suit you fine. This short book focuses mainly on thr story of a few rescue dogs. One is found by the author and her family tied to a sign and the reader comes along as they attempt to locate someone, anyone, to take this dog since it would surely be euthanized at the local shelter. Then we meet a sweet little dog with neurological issues causing incontinence among other issues. I was happy to see the author's own unruly dogs finally get some training! Last we meet a young dog in need of help in New Orleans.
Profile Image for Valleri.
688 reviews15 followers
September 21, 2017
I'm surprised by the number of people who didn't like this book. I definitely did! I was relieved that Love at First Bark didn't rip my heart out, like You Had Me at Woof had. Yes, Love at First Bark was rather disjointed, but the only reason I, personally, didn't rate it higher was because I reeeally wanted to know what happened with Moses's brother.
Profile Image for Jina.
137 reviews1 follower
July 10, 2017
I’m not going to lie, Julie really annoyed me. She comes across as one of those irresponsible pet owners who loves dogs, but should not own more than one. She lets two of her dogs have run of the house, relieving themselves wherever they please. She also knows the same two dogs are bullies, but she takes in fosters anyways, chancing them still being bullies. Not to mention her personal life is a hot mess: she moved to a really bad neighbourhood, is very impulsive, has a young daughter, her marriage is falling apart and she constantly complains about how poor they are. I don’t know, maybe if you didn’t have 3 dogs to feed you’d have more money. Also, maybe take a night shift somewhere, working part time, instead of making your husband work a full-time “okay salary” job in New York city while you go through a dry spell of being a freelance writer. Better yet, move out of New York! Why would you put up with such outrageous rent for one “okay” job! But she’s awesome. Simply cause she cares enough to help dogs… By over feeding them (she “accidentally” made Clementine obese) and letting them walk all over her. Ugh.
Profile Image for Mandy.
55 reviews
June 11, 2012
This was a really charming book about dog rescue. I loved Klam's other book about dogs, so when I saw this one I had to get it immediately. I really admire people that will do anything to save a dog's life and the story about the New Orleans rescue organization was particularly inspiring. It's crazy that they are still rescuing Katrina dogs! This is a nice quick read. I read it in one afternoon by the pool. Klam is hilarious and well-written. I highly recommend this book!
Profile Image for Rebecca.
856 reviews60 followers
April 15, 2013
This was a short little book on for the love of dogs one owner shows and shares. It is like those "gift" books that don't have a story, they are more on message then actual content. So it was the perfect library book! And as a newer-ish dog owner, I still really liked it a lot. Plus throw in short stories about dogs in need and I am so there! A quick and easy read for animal lovers.
Profile Image for Anna.
292 reviews2 followers
July 4, 2014
I had high hopes for this book! I loved her other book which is why I picked this one up..
Yup - don't waste your money! if you get it for free - read it .. but ya..
I really don't have any comments - just didn't seem to go anywhere.. was all over the place.. no real stories at all..
I actually can't believe that the book was published!
Profile Image for Jill Hallenbeck.
1,302 reviews
September 3, 2013
Cute stories, advancing the cause of dog rescues, but this would have been better as a half dozen blog entries... Not worth the paper on which it was printed I'm afraid. And I was hoping for so much more..
Profile Image for Lauren Harvey.
11 reviews
November 11, 2020
Wanted to read heartwarming stories about dogs... got a woman distraught about moving to a neighborhood with “criminals” and “thugs” and how the upper west side was “saving” the dirty, low income area. Gross. Needless to say I didn’t finish it.
30 reviews1 follower
November 23, 2014
Great book about rescued dogs and how one family has taken into their homes these dogs and fostered them until a new family is found and takes them into their families as adoptions.
Profile Image for Tonya Plank.
Author 11 books85 followers
November 14, 2017
From Witty Kitty's Book Blog:

Witty Kitty loved this short, sweet memoir she happened to find at a special sale at her favorite bookstore, Changing Hands. It’s by the very funny Julie Klam, about what her experiences rescuing dogs has taught her about herself.

There are several wonderful stories here about the endearingly-portrayed dogs Klam has found homes for throughout the years. She opens with one about Morris, a sweet pit bull she and her husband, Paul, find tied to a tree outside a museum, all day. When it was clear no one was coming to get him, they embark on a sadly funny race against time to get the dog checked in to a rescue Klam has found, which it ends up, can’t take him right away anyway. She and Paul know they can’t keep him because of the three little dogs they already have, but, happily, a friend who’s seen her constant flow of social media posts about the Morris, comes through. Their frantic struggle to find Morris a home brings her and Paul closer together and reminds each what is so amazingly special about the other.

The book ends with my favorite story: about Klam’s experience with a group of people in New Orleans right after Katrina, rescuing dogs left homeless by the flood. There’s one dog in particular, a yellow puppy, who has his head stuck in a jar. Very sad how it got to be that way, by the way. Another frightening but funny race ensues to try to capture and free the little dog, which it turns out takes a village to do. She learns a great deal about the lengths she will go to - literally risking her life - to help these severely distressed animals.

I was also very intrigued by Klam’s story of checking her two terriers, Fiorello and Wisteria - were there ever such cutely hilarious dog names? - to a boot camp known as Kamp Kanine, so the two will learn, among other things, how not to rip their human’s arm out of her shoulder socket during walks. My little terrier (pictured above with the book) so desperately needs this camp. We really hope there is one in the Phoenix area.
8 reviews
March 17, 2017
Julie Klam writes about dogs with much compassion -as no other writer can. In her bestselling memoir You Had Me at Woof she shared the secrets of happiness she learned with other foster dogs but always devoted owner of Boston terriers. Now, with the same exciting feeling of humor that reached the The New York Times and the Today show and won the hearts of readers across the country, she returns with more humorous insight into life with canine companions.

Klam focuses here on dog rescue, and its healing power not only for the dogs who are cared for and able to find good homes, but also for the people who bond with these animals. Klam became involved with rescue after years as an owner of purebred dogs. She was looking for a way to help and participate in a community, but she never imagined just how much she would receive in return. The dogs she has rescued through the years have filled her life with laughter and contentment, sadness and frustration, and they have made certain that she never has a boring moment. Along the way, she has collected stories from friends who have also found that guiding dogs to nurturing homes made their own lives richer. These experiences, which show us that even in our smallest gestures we can make a big difference.
Profile Image for Felecia.
79 reviews
March 24, 2019
It was definitely a quick read! While I enjoyed reading about the different dogs being recused and given another chance, I felt that the author jumped around quite a bit with each story, inserting useless descriptions of things completely unrelated. I do appreciate the sentiment of the book though. I just wasn’t as thoroughly impressed as I thought I would be.
Profile Image for Jami.
1,611 reviews7 followers
August 8, 2019
This is a book I wanted to love, but I didn’t. This is comprised of three short stories that are unrelated, which I didn’t realize at first. This made the book seem to skip around a bit. I loved the second story about Clementine but didn’t engage with the other two. I also wish their were pictures of the dogs.
Profile Image for Kelsey Bertels.
14 reviews1 follower
May 10, 2019
Quick, easy read that did keep my attention. However, the title is misleading as there are no life lessons in this book...at all? They aren’t implied, nor discussed.

I enjoy Klam’s humor as I did in “You Had Me At Woof”, and I do enjoy how she story-tells, however, this book felt like a reach.
Profile Image for Lawrence.
103 reviews2 followers
October 16, 2017
I enjoyed the Jarhead chase story and loved how all the stories that gave us humor and pathos. This book compliments Ms Klam’s ‘You Had Me At Woof!’ quite well. 3 1/2 waggly tails.
Profile Image for Donna Lewis.
1,197 reviews13 followers
November 2, 2017
A short book with three interesting dog rescue stories. Not too in-depth, but a humorous take on living in Manhattan and raising a child and 3, 4 and sometimes 5 dogs, while longing to rescue more.
Profile Image for Dana Buglak.
5 reviews
April 12, 2018
It's no surprise that I am giving another 5-star rating to Julie Klam! A short and easy to read novel that reminds us why we adore our pets.
Profile Image for Sherri Denora.
40 reviews
May 5, 2019
Fun, but rambling stories. A quick two-day, feel good read. I prefer cats.
79 reviews
June 14, 2019
If you love dogs and have ever volunteered in rescue and fostering, this is a book for you!
Profile Image for Kristin.
19 reviews2 followers
June 11, 2020
Great quick read

Loved it! Nothing better than knowing you not only changed their life, but yours as well. Everyone deserves to be loved!


Profile Image for Deena.
83 reviews
January 31, 2021
Short sweet book. Rescuing dogs should be on everyone's resume. Let's all do something.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 114 reviews

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