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A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life

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A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life Cover

ISBN13: 9781608193035
ISBN10: 1608193039
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 ‚'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

"Joyous…Brimming with humor, gratitude, and grace, this is a remarkable story." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Synopsis:

Steven Kotler was forty years old and facing an existential crisis when he met Joy, a woman devoted to canine rescue. "Love me, love my dogs," was her rule, and Steven took it to heart. Together with their pack of eight dogs-then fifteen dogs, then twenty-five dogs, then, well, they lost count-Steven and Joy bought a tiny farm in rural New Mexico and started the Rancho de Chihuahua, a sanctuary for dogs with special needs. This insider look at the cult and 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. Kotler combs through every aspect of canine-human relations and includes brand new research into the neuroscience of canine companionship. In the end, he discovers why living in a world of dogs may be the best way to uncover the truth about what it really means to be human.

About the Author

Steven Kotler is the author of the novel The Angle Quickest for Flight, a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, and the non-fiction West of Jesus, a 2006 PEN West finalist. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Wired, Discover, Popular Science, Details, Outside, National Geographic, and elsewhere, and he writes "The Playing Field," a blog about the science of sport for PsychologyToday.com. Kotler runs the Rancho de Chihuahua dog sanctuary with his wife in New Mexico.

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techeditor, December 23, 2011 (view all comments by techeditor)
A SMALL FURRY PRAYER: DOG RESCUE AND THE MEANING OF LIFE by Steven Kotler is nonfiction. I prefer nonfiction to fiction when the nonfiction tells a story, as nonfiction often does not. In this case, A SMALL FURRY PRAYER does and doesn’t. It really is about what the subtitle says, dog rescue and the meaning of life.

The book begins when Kotler is 40 and wants to do something different with the rest of his life. He falls in love with a dog rescuer, Joy. Love Joy, love the dogs. So dog rescue turns out to be both the subject of the book and the “something different” that Kotler does.

Kotler moves from LA to New Mexico with Joy and her dogs. They live in a home with lots of property and lots of solitude.

Joy’s pack of dogs becomes Kotler’s pack as well. And the pack keeps growing as the local humane society gets more unadoptable dogs, i.e., dogs who are sick, maybe dying, retarded, ugly, etc. But freelance writing assignments are much harder to come by in the out-of-the-way place they now live. So money is always an issue, and they make their choices based on that: $20 or $60 dog food? medical treatment for the dogs or euthanasia? rescue 13 or 10 dogs? and so on.

Chapters of this book tell stories of their lives with their dogs, with Kotler’s thoughts on particular incidents. This leads to much philosophizing and a lot of research and examination. Some chapters are continuation of examination of issues from the previous chapter. But you could still say that A SMALL FURRY PRAYER does tell a story because the chapters are presented in chronological order.

Yet, each chapter of the book could stand on its own. This is a device many writers of nonfiction use, and it is often successful. John Grogan used it in MARLEY & ME. He put together the newspaper columns he wrote about his family’s life with their dog, and look how well that book did.

Although that type construction doesn’t entirely work with me, in both cases (both MARLEY & ME and A SMALL FURRY PRAYER) I liked almost every chapter. (In A SMALL FURRY PRAYER, I could have done without a whole chapter on dogs and sex.) But these books came across as what they are: many common but separate stories or (as in the case of A SMALL FURRY PRAYER) stories that lead to thoughtful examinations.

The common thread running throughout A SMALL FURRY PRAYER: has Kotler chosen the right path for the rest of his life? So he examines the path he chose: dog rescue. The separate stories of dogs that Kotler and Joy rescue are touching, Igor’s story especially so. You’ll see.

The book is not a single, detailed story, my preference. Just the same, I loved the individual stories, and Kotler’s examinations are excellent. His viewpoints are validated by much research that is so much like those of Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, I hoped that they knew each other. So I emailed Kotler to ask him. Unfortunately not, but I’m betting it will happen.

As for my comparison of A SMALL FURRY PRAYER and MARLEY AND ME, it ends with their construction. In my opinion, honestly, A SMALL FURRY PRAYER far outweighs MARLEY AND ME. While I enjoyed MARLEY AND ME because it was often laugh-out-loud funny, I prefer stories that are thoughtful as well as humorous, as those in A SMALL FURRY PRAYER are.

I received this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781608193035
Author:
Kotler, Steven
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Subject:
Dogs - General
Subject:
PETS / Dogs / General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20111031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8 x 6 in

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A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life Used Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781608193035 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Steven Kotler was forty years old and facing an existential crisis when he met Joy, a woman devoted to canine rescue. "Love me, love my dogs," was her rule, and Steven took it to heart. Together with their pack of eight dogs-then fifteen dogs, then twenty-five dogs, then, well, they lost count-Steven and Joy bought a tiny farm in rural New Mexico and started the Rancho de Chihuahua, a sanctuary for dogs with special needs. This insider look at the cult and 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. Kotler combs through every aspect of canine-human relations and includes brand new research into the neuroscience of canine companionship. In the end, he discovers why living in a world of dogs may be the best way to uncover the truth about what it really means to be human.
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