4 star rating
It’s a Wild Life: How My Life Became a Zoo
By Bud DeYoung, with Cindy Martinusen Coloma 
ISBN# 9781605426372
 Author’s Zoo Website

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt


Pursuing your passion includes a whole lot of crap. For Bud DeYoung, that’s about two hundred pounds a day!

Since childhood, Bud had a passion for animals. As an adult, that passion led to the rescue of a bear who lived in his family’s house, then more animals crowding for space, until Bud eventually built an entire private zoo around his home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Along the way, a regular visitor named Carrie joined her passion for animals with Bud’s. Together they now educate the public about animal conservation, battle the harsh winters and blazing summers, and daily dole out love to the hundreds of rescued animals in their care. Meanwhile, they teach by example how to make the world a better place while pursuing their passion.

Welcome to the fascinating, heartwarming journey of one man, one woman, and an amazing cast of critters, whose stories will warm your soul. Welcome to the wild life of the DeYoung Family Zoo.


Bud DeYoung always wanted a life with animals. Starting from a young age he brought home critters and cared for them. Even though he was sidetracked by circumstances into working the family store, he still kept up with his critters. Starting with poultry, fowl and small animals. His mother encouraged him to follow his dreams. And he has been doing so ever since he was young. Through a failed marriage, financial issues and fierce Michigan winters, he preserved and kept his dream alive. His private zoo thrives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula regardless of the hardships.

Bud’s first big animal was a bear he rescued that ended up living in his home. In this book, Bud takes us from his childhood, through his first encounters with wildlife, a failed marriage to his first love and on to his finding a perfect partner in a visitor to the zoo. The DeYoung Family Zoo was even featured on Nat Geo Wild for a season. Bud tells us how he ended up in this strange profession, following his dream every day, and dreaming bigger and better always.

Through Bud’s own words we meet his partner in the zoo and in life Carrie. She was a regular visitor that came and ended up staying. Even after meeting his wolves(a way he weeded out the dates previously). Carrie not only thrived as his partner, bringing passion and new ideas to the zoo, but also started her own rescue. The stories dealing with her rescue are so heartwarming and full of hope and love.

For me I have to say that the parts of this book I enjoyed most were THE LETTERS FROM OUR VISITORS, HOW IT ALL COMES BACK AND BEYOND OUR DREAMS.  Those were so inspiring and heartfelt. This is a very enjoyable book. The format is nice and keeps you entertained with humor, kindness and depth of knowledge. It is not a preaching in your face book. More like sitting on a rambling porch listening to wonderful stories told by a kind hearted man. Any animal lover, like myself, will find this a beautiful story full of inspiration and love.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*