Friday, January 5, 2024

But I DO Have Kids!


TITLE: Birdie & Harlow: Life, Loss and Loving My Dog So Much I Didn't Want Kids
AUTHOR: Taylor Wolfe
PUBLISHING DATE: September 19, 2023
PAGES: 272   
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS: The funny and poignant story of one woman’s wonderfully codependent relationship with her dog – and what he taught her about chosen family and the reward of motherhood. 
Birdie & Harlow is the story of a baby and a dog. But motherhood is never quite that simple. In Taylor Wolfe’s case, it’s a long, zigzagging and winding road. Meant to be a last-minute anniversary gift for her then boyfriend (and now husband), the highly-energetic and loud-mouthed Vizla puppy named Harlow turns out to be the best snap decision twenty-year-old Taylor ever makes—and the beginning of the most epic friendship she ever has. 
As Wolfe’s resistance to 9-5’s and traditional adulthood grows, Harlow becomes the perfect companion for her eccentricities in a world that thrives on conformity. Wolfe’s twenties—full of pitfalls and surprises, sad days and silver linings—led her to the realization that life is too short to spend your days in a crate (or a cubicle), that parks are meant to be enjoyed, and most importantly, she wants to be a mom. But really, isn't she one already? 
A charming and touching memoir, Birdie & Harlow is a tribute to the many expressions of modern motherhood, to both human and fur babies alike. Taylor’s story reminds all of us that life will surprise you and that families should come in every shape and size.

MY THOUGHTS: It's really a good thing I didn't look too closely at the cover (or I'd have seen the "until I did" in parenthesis after the title) or read the synopsis too well or the chances are good I'd have missed out on this book which brought me so much joy and so many tears.  I never had the desire to have a kid, and many people believe that to feel that way is abnormal.   Luckily, because of some other issues which are highly personal and that I won't go into, I also felt no pressure from my family to procreate (the issues not so great but the subsequent outcome definitely helpful).  I hate the pressure women feel that to be "normal" they need to have children.  I don't hate children, in fact, I've spent the last 30 years working with and advocating for them.  But my children are my dogs and that is completely by choice and luckily, I met someone who feels the same way.

Given all of that though, I settled down to read a book I thought was about a wonderful relationship with a family pet and for the most part, I still got that, with just a side of baby thrown in.  In this memoir, Wolfe journals her 10 years with her child and best friend, Harlow the Vizla.  She purchased Harlow on a whim never knowing her life would never be the same.  For 10 years, she and her boyfriend, and now husband, navigated life, including job changes, several moves, covid, and eventually a baby with Harlow by their sides.  Wolfe includes conversations with Harlow as she knows in her heart Harlow speaks to her and only she can hear and understand him.  These were some of my favorite parts.

Like all great dog stories, I knew this one had an ending in sight.  And let me tell you I sobbed. I was sitting on the couch hoping my husband didn't see the tears streaming down my face because I knew it would cause me to further break down.  Never had I had someone put into words so exactly my relationship with my darling Cassius.  And while this book hit too close to home at times, I don't regret reading it and overall, reading it was a beautiful experience.  I hope Cassius has run into Harlow since he has passed because I'm sure they would have lots in common and could spend days telling each other about their crazy human soulmates.  If you love dogs (and don't mind kids) read this book!



  1. Thanks for sharing - great review!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  2. This sounds heartbreaking but in a good way. I'm sure I'd have a similar reaction and think about my beloved Otis😭 I never wanted kids either, so I totally understand you. But then I got pregnant and oops now I have two, lol.

  3. This sounds fabulous! I did have kids and don't regret it but I think that I could have been happy with my furry children. I always tell my family that they are my favorite kids. This sounds like something that I would love!

  4. I guess maybe it was my free-for-all lifestyle that kept me from people asking when I was going to have children. If they ever did I had an excuse because I wasn't supposed to be able to get pregnant. Baz was a super big surprise at 35, and a godsend because he saved me from myself. I for one support when other women know they don't want children. It's definitely not for everyone. ❤

    I will put this on my Puppy Love/Dog Days of Summer TBR! 🐾