When Julie Klam adopted Otto, she didn’t realize that the lovably bug-eyed Boston Terrier was on a rescue mission of his own.
“You don’t always get the dog you want — you get the dog you need. He was the impetus for every good thing that happened in my life,” says Klam of the inspiration behind her first book, “You Had Me at Woof.” “I was single at the moment. And I thought: If it’s possible to compromise myself this much for something, maybe I could do the same for a slightly less hairy human.”
Now a wife and mother, Klam has opened her home to many other needy dogs — and the occasional needy dog’s surprise puppies — over the years as a volunteer and foster parent. Her latest book,
“Love at First Bark: How Saving a Dog Can Sometimes Help You Save Yourself,” includes stories about her rescue work in both her New York City neighborhood and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. While poignant and occasionally heart-wrenching in a way that only abandoned dogs can be, it avoids Sarah McLachlan-commercial territory thanks to Klam’s dry, generous sense of humor.
“Doing rescue has been so incredibly rewarding to me,” she says. “I find that when something is happening in my life, my dogs are going through some of the same things, too — but then, maybe that’s just because I’m crazy and I project things on to my dogs.”