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A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life Paperback – October 11, 2011
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Dog rescue is one of the largest underground movements in America. It is also one of the least understood. This insider look at the culture of dog rescue begins with Kotler's personal experience working with an ever-peculiar pack of dogs and becomes a much deeper investigation into exactly what it means to devote one's life to the furry and the four-legged, in the end showing why living in a world of dogs may be the best way to uncover the truth about what it really means to be human.
Praise for A Small Furry Prayer:
"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." -Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs
"This gritty journey into â'a world made of dog' is unlike any dog story you've ever read." -Christian Science Monitor
"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." -San Francisco Examiner
"Joyousâ¦Brimming with humor, gratitude, and grace, this is a remarkable story." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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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.
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