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A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life Hardcover – October 5, 2010
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“Joyous… Brimming with humor, gratitude, and grace, this is a remarkable story.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Part Hunter Thompson, part Carlos Castaneda, but mostly so original that it's difficult to peg…This is a delightful, rich read sure to take you to unexpected places and beyond.” ―Bark magazine, Editor's Lit Pick
“With nods to psychological and ethological research, Kotler describes his surprising sojourn to a houseful of mangy pups and the power of animal bonds, positing that our canine connections tell us about human nature... Kotler's tale--part obsession, part inquiry, part adventure--serves up a well-rounded meal of soul-searching and psychology.” ―Psychology Today
“As he recounts their life in Chimayo (the pack at times approaches 50, all entertainingly delineated), Kotler seamlessly blends a history of Chimayo, a well-articulated understanding of how humans and dogs coevolved, and background on animal welfare efforts in this country with his witty, sharp-edged, and rewarding reflections on life. Kotler defiantly proclaims his love of Chihuahuas (he's hilarious), then shatters our hearts and ends by laying down a real ethical challenge. Highly recommended not only for dog lovers but for readers of memoir, biology, and anthropology and seekers generally.” ―Library Journal, starred review
“Part memoir and part philosophical study of the dog-human relationship... Reflecting on the writings of mystics, philosophers, and animal scientists as varied as St. Francis, René Descartes, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Elizabeth Hess, Kotler elevates this tale about saving dogs to a story about human stewardship of life.” ―Booklist
“Kotler offers a touching account of Chihuahua adventures alongside interesting blurbs on the history of pet ownership, canine ethology, the semantics of the dog-adoption process, homosexuality in nature and the intricate science behind canine domestication. A heartfelt example of humanitarianism at work.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“I read this compelling book for hours and found myself completely hooked as I am sure any reader who loves dogs will be. Steven Kotler captures something essential about dogs and humans in a way I have not seen anyone else do. With a hip, growling intensity, Small Furry Prayer is bound to inspire.” ―Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of Dogs Never Lie About Love and When Elephants Weep
“Thousands of books have been written about dogs, thus it's amazing and also very encouraging to find a book like this one, filled with original thought and plenty of new information. And if that's not enough, it's a great read, a real page turner. I strongly recommend it to anyone who has a dog, or has more than one dog, or who just likes to read a great book.” ―Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs
“A Small Furry Prayer is a wonderful read that'll take you all over the place, pondering life in general, dogs and other awesome animals, spirituality, religion, flow experiences, and who you are in the grand scheme of things.” ―Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals, Wild Justice, and The Animal Manifesto
“Reading Kotler is like having a drink (or three, or five) with an old friend -- only this friend is particularly interesting, more than willing to admit his faults and failures, has a sharp eye and an even sharper tongue, and has done loads of research... [Empathy] drives his earnest inquiries into a host of subjects ranging from spirituality and philosophy to neuroscience and deep ecology, all with the goal of understanding the ancient, complex and essential relationship between humans and other animals ― especially dogs... There’s no sap here, but Kotler’s honest, heartfelt stories will have you laughing through your tears. This book is a must-read.” ―Mother Nature Network
“A thought-provoking inquiry... Are dogs special? Are humans? Or are we just special to each other because we care for them and they for us? Read this book, slowly, and decide for yourself.” ―New Mexico Magazine
“Science, history, and a smattering of politics is interspersed with the continuing story of the shelter, its humans, the dogs and the occasional wildcat and coyote... It's obvious that Steven Kotler is not only a very competent writer, he is quite an educated person. Dare I say brilliant? Anyone who is interested in the human-animal connection, the bond that we feel with our dogs, will find this book fascinating. It's almost a guarantee that you will look at your dog in a totally different way.” ―Examiner.com
“A beautiful, deep encounter with the world of animal rescue on both a grand and personal scale... A Small Furry Prayer is not only for dog lovers, but for everyone who cherishes life and enjoys a good adventure. It's delightful, funny, profound, sad, eye-opening and powerful. It's about discovering what it means to be human.” ―Guideposts.org
- Item Weight : 14.7 ounces
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1608190021
- ISBN-13 : 978-1608190027
- Product Dimensions : 5.8 x 1.16 x 8.55 inches
- Publisher : Bloomsbury USA; 1st Edition (October 5, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #975,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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I learned that dogs laugh! That when that laughter is played for shelter dogs, their frantic barking ceases as they listen. I learned that my pit bulls are not the only dogs that must sleep touching their humans. I learned that dogs are capable of kindness, compassion, love and sorrow just like humans--traits I have witnessed but been ridiculed for claiming possible. I learned so much about the special connection with dogs we are privileged to have if only we open ourselves to it. This should be required reading for young students, so perhaps they will not grow up to be animal abusers, but understand that we are all here to make a difference on this planet, and if we treat other living creatures and our environment with respect we will all benefit more than we could ever imagine.
Thank you, Mr Kotler, for a thought-provoking, wonderful visit into your world. Long may you, Joy, and all your fortunate dogs live in peace and harmony.
On the downside, he inter-splices his work with research and philosophy in which he is not expert, and simply presenting it as truth, and he does it a lot. I've read those same works, and watched those same Discovery specials, and I don't write about them as if I'm an evolutionary biologist. I would have rated 4 stars but it went down to 3 because of the faux expertise.
Later, that same friend introduced Kotler to Joy, a woman with a passion for chihuahua rescue. As he fell deeper in love and felt the need for a change, he and Joy set out to find a place, secluded from neighbors with lots of cheap land. They ended up in Chimayo, New Mexico, and started Ranco de Chihuahua, where their simple mission was to save lives, or make the last memories of the sick memories of love.
While there is a bit of narration about a few individual dogs, Kotler's main focus is on the historical and biological reasons that canines became our best friends. He describes in detail how saving lives and bonding with his dogs has helped him find meaning in his own life.
This was an easy read, with a lot of food for thought.
The individual stories of the dogs and the countryside of northern New Mexico were inspiring and knowing the area only made it more interesting. The real bonuses came though as Mr. Kotler explored the details, the setbacks and joys of the work that he and his wife got themselves into. When he then tied in so much of the new research about animal behavior and how we are intricately linked with both it and the overall environment of the earth itself it tended to both confirm some of my own ideas as well as give me pause about where we ourselves are headed as a species. We tend to forget that we are just one of many species of animals on earth and although incredibly successful in many regards our successes are not without risk, both to ourselves as well as the entire environment of the planet that sustains both us and all life on it!
I definitely recommend this book for any people who are interested in both our long history with dogs as well as our place in nature.