If you are a dog lover, you will love this book. Only dog lovers would understand giving up their free time and a good portion of their shoes, which somehow turn into chew toys, in return for the unconditional love of a pup. But really, all animal lovers can relate to this story. You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secret of Happiness by Julie Klam is a hilarious memoir about how one woman went from being single at thirty and by herself in her Manhattan apartment to working in a dog rescue, married, and parenting all with the help of Otto, a Boston Terrier rescue. From Otto, Klam learned to share her life with another living being, which led her to a completely different lifestyle.
Klam's parents had always kept dogs when she was a child but due to allergies she didn't really have a close relationship with her parents' furry friends. Then one night she had a dream that she was the owner of a dog with really bulgy eyes. She had no clue what to make of her dream. When Klam described the dog of her dreams to a friend, she referred Klam to a dog rescue. Luckily, the dog of Klam's dreams, a Boston Terrier, was a breed that wouldn't affect her allergies like the double-coated dogs of her childhood. The next thing Klam knew she was on her way to pick up her new love, Otto. She never imagined that a couple years down the road she would be a very active member of a Boston Terrier rescue helping to ensure that other dogs like Otto have a comfortable, loving home. Working in a rescue has its frustrations for Klam and she comically explains her ups and downs as a doggy-foster parent.
Klam now lives with her husband, daughter, and three dogs in an apartment in New York. This story follows Klam through her change of careers, marriage, and parenting. One warning: this is not a book about one dog, rather, this is a chronicle of many dogs that each have their own personality traits. Reading this book will encourage you to look for the beauty in all dogs (actually all animals), even the less lovable ones who may bark a lot, mess on your floor and tear up anything lying on the floor for more than a minute. It also shows how different people, such as Julie's husband, daughter, and friends, have different relationships with their canines. Klam muses on the relationship between dogs and their humans: "A very wise dog woman once told me that dogs find owners, not the other way around. They pick you and they choose to stay with you. In that way, they are also giving you the end of their life. The deeper the bond, the harder it is to say good bye. I know I'd rather have any amount of time with a dog I love and suffer the mourning than not have the time at all."