"I am richer in every way
because of the dogs I've known."
As any Positively Present reader knows, I'm a big fan of reading and, in order to share my love of books with you, readers, I love reading and reviewing books on the site. Typically the authors or publishers of these books will come to me, offering to send me free books in exchange for a review on the website. If it sounds like a good fit for PP, I'll read it. And, on very rare occasions, I'll actually reach out to publishers or authors myself and ask if I can have a copy of the book. That's what I did in this situation. I heard about the book You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness by Julie Klam and I just knew I had to read it. What could be a better combination than dogs and happiness?
I located the publishers information and got in touch, asking for a copy of the book. I wasn't sure they'd say yes, but I was hopeful. When they agreed and hurriedly sent me a copy of the book, I was elated. I couldn't wait to read it! The book, I soon found out, details the happiness Klam learned from the various dogs in her life. Klam, like so many of us who have pets in our lives, developed what she calls "dog vision." When she got her first dog, she was suddenly seeing the world through a different lens. She began to notice things she had never noticed before.
For example, Klam writes: "My relationship with Otto [the dog] made me realize that if you love someone, you're more than willing to compromise to me their needs..." This is just one thing she learned from her first dog Otto. He also taught her, as so many animals do, "the give-and-take that is needed to succeed in a relationship. [Otto gave her] the courage to try new things and the feeling that there was someone waiting for [her]." Not only did Klam learn so much from her dogs (and share all of those great lessons with us in the book), but she also shares her experiences with helping dogs in need.
When Klam began helping dogs in need of homes, dogs that had been abused or left behind by owners who could no longer care for them, she wrote, "It was only when I began to help give voice to these creatures who cannot speak or ask for help for themselves that I felt that balance come into my own life." Reading Klam's book has reminded me just how important it is to give to others, and it's also served as a great reminder that giving of yourself is sometimes just what you need to do in order to find out who you truly are.
Klam's words and experiences moved me as I read her book. She encountered some of the best and the worst dog-related situations, from new puppies to unexpected losses, and yet she still remained incredibly loyal to the love of her canine companions. Two lines she wrote in the book really grabbed at my heart and showed me the depth of Klam's love for dogs. She wrote, "Sometimes you just need to hold and kiss a member of the dog species. Even when humans are available." Maybe these words hit home for me because I could really relate to the way Klam sees dogs. She wrote, "I've always thought that dogs were spiritually superior to humans, which is why I think they live such abbreviated lives. They do their business here on earth and then they move on."
Though I've personally never thought about dogs in that way, when I read those words, I thought to myself, "Hey, she might be on to something. Dogs don't live as long as us because they're just that awesome." And speaking of awesome... If you love dogs (or know someone who does), you should definitely pick up a copy of Klam's awesome book. Her story is inspiring. She's done so many things to improve the lives of dogs and, in the process, has found her own life improved. Even if you aren't a dog person, the book may appeal to you if you have the hunger for some inspiration.
Toward the end of the book, Klam wrote, "Each dog in my life has brought me something or taught me a lesson that improved the quality of my life. I am richer in every way because of the dogs I've known." I echo Klam's statement and I also must add that reading her book has taught me some valuable lessons about both dogs and about how to do inspiring things simply by focusing on what you love.