Steven Kotler
A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life
September 16, 2019 Comments.. 102
A Small Furry Prayer Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life Steven Kotler was forty years old and facing an existential crisis which made him not too different from just about every other middle aged guy in Los Angeles Then he met Joy a woman devoted to the c

  • Title: A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life
  • Author: Steven Kotler
  • ISBN: 9781608190027
  • Page: 464
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Steven Kotler was forty years old and facing an existential crisis which made him not too different from just about every other middle aged guy in Los Angeles Then he met Joy, a woman devoted to the cause of canine rescue Love me, love my dogs, was her rule, and not having any better ideas, Steven took it to heart Together with their pack of eight dogs then fifteen doSteven Kotler was forty years old and facing an existential crisis which made him not too different from just about every other middle aged guy in Los Angeles Then he met Joy, a woman devoted to the cause of canine rescue Love me, love my dogs, was her rule, and not having any better ideas, 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 a tiny town in rural New Mexico and started the Rancho de Chihuahua, a sanctuary for dogs with special needs While dog rescue is one of the largest underground movements in America, it is also one of the least understood 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 Along the way, Kotler combs through every aspect of canine human relations, from human s long history with dogs through brand new research into the neuroscience of canine companionship, in the end discovering 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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    1 Blog on “A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life

    1. Brittany says:

      There are very few books that I finish actually speechless. Most of the time, in the course of reading, I make a few notes of things I want to be sure to include in the review. Not this one. This one swept me away so completely I could only read, I couldn't even think about the experience of reading, and reviewing was entirely out of the question.Starkly, this book is the story of what happens to one man's life when, in his 40s, he realizes that his high-flying journalist life in LA just isn't c [...]

    2. Lea says:

      Wow -- I've got a lot to say in this review, and it's hard to know where to start . . . I guess I should say first that I won this in a First Reads giveaway. Thanks!I signed up for this giveaway on a whim -- I like animals (although I prefer horses to dogs), but a memoir about animal rescue wouldn't necessarily be my first choice. But the idea intrigued me, and I figured I'd just pass the book along to my sister when I'd finished it. Well, sorry, Q, you're going to have to pick up your own copy [...]

    3. Paul says:

      Actual rating: 3.5 stars.A friend recommended I read this book, and I must say I'm glad I did. Written by a professional writer and dog-lover, A Small Furry Prayer recounts the work of a husband and wife team of dog rescuers, a couple who adopt dogs slated for death at animal shelters in order to give them a last chance at rehabilitation and adoption, or at the very minimum a happy and loving home during their last months of life.Interestingly, I recently finished The Evolution of Bruno Littlem [...]

    4. Kourtney says:

      I was recommended this book on when I was buying the book about what happened to the dogs in Michael Vick's horrible case. I had put both books on my shelf until I knew there would be a day where I could cry myself senseless and not have to worry about anyone seeing my puffy eyes. I pulled this book off of the shelf on a whim and decided to give it a go.The stories that Steven Kotler tells about the actual dog rescue and how it started was great. I volunteer at a no-kill shelter, so I could rel [...]

    5. Larry Strattner says:

      I love dog books. I read all dog books. I read dog books from training books, to breed tomes, to stuff like Marley and Dog On It,(a good detective story by the way).If you read dog books too this book is a must. It is the best mixture of story and science about, or related to, dogs I have read in a long time.The author is a rescuer. He gets a lot of chiuauas at his rescue operation. If I never saw another chiuaua it would be too soon. In spite of this bias I loved the book and the dogs who dropp [...]

    6. Darcia Helle says:

      This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I laughed and cried. I didn't want it to end.Kotler didn't set out to be a hero to unwanted dogs. That role came to him, first with a dog named Ahab, then with a woman who said that to love her meant loving her dogs. But this is more than a story about dogs. It's about a man finding his purpose through and with these dogs, about what it means to be human, about compassion and love and what's truly important in life. This book touched me all [...]

    7. April says:

      I tear-stained the library copy. Having lost a dog this year ensured I'd cry reading this. Igor's storyI lost it. Lots of good sociology and biology and philosophy included.Quote near the end: Hallucinogens then do the same job as religion - they provide proof of unity, which is still the only known cure for fear of death.

    8. Michelle Jones Urfer says:

      Okay, this book was just a little weird I wanted to hear more stories about the dogs, and instead had to read through a lot of the author's bizarre "meaning of life" thoughtsny of which were beyond strange "shape-shifting"? Really? I loved hearing about how he acquired many of the dogs - and I loved hearing about how they overcame of lot of fear issues w/ some of the dogs - and I cried when I read about those who didn't live to see their forever homes.but it was tough for me to slog through all [...]

    9. Laura Koerber says:

      I don't usually like dog rescue stories because they are all allike: sad dog in dire circumstances, sad human, human saves dog and thus saves him/her self. Read one, read them all.This one is different. For one thing, it's funny. Also the suthor is a professional writer and it shows: very smooth, evocative. And he has lots to say on lots of subjects besides dogs: donkeys, trickster figures, the drug raid on the neighbor's houseAnd he likes dogs, but likes them without sentimetality, as individua [...]

    10. David says:

      Starts off as a great book about dog rescue and the "magic" that is the relationship between dogs and humans. Then becomes a book about the magic of shamanism and talking animals. (No, I'm not kidding.) When it's about dogs it's great; when pontificating about the connection between souls and the universe (or whatever) it's insufferable.

    11. Melissa says:

      I expected this book to be more about dogs & rescue than all the weird ramblings it ended up being. I rarely don't finish a book but I gave up on this one.

    12. Quinn says:

      Simply amazing. So much more than a dog book, this book is so well written and covers so many areas and topics, but all ties back into the dogs. Absolutely wonderful.

    13. Audrey says:

      While the story itself was one that was entertaining and enlightening, most of the book wasn't necessarily about the story. I suppose the title really gives away what the book will be about, but more emphasis should be placed on the "meaning of life" part, since that is what Steven Kotler focused on more. The basic plot behind this book is that Steven and his girlfriend, Joy find themselves struggling financially when their landlord in LA decides to sell the property and evict them. The problem [...]

    14. Nina says:

      This book was fantastic. Probably one of the best books I've read in quite a while. First off, it was not at all what I expected it to be. I was expecting, admittedly, without doing much research on the book first as I received it for free, a sappy story about a dog rescue, compiled mostly of stories of individual dogs. Although there is a component of that in this book, the larger part is comprised of an exploration into the science and philosophy of animal psychology and the human/animal bond. [...]

    15. Erin says:

      I won this book in a First Reads giveaway, and I tried really hard to get into it, but I eventually gave up. I really wanted to read this book as I love reading books about how dogs and pets can change a person's life. But, after getting about 1/4 of the way through the book, I had had enough.I loved the fact that the author and Joy take in so many dogs, but I just could not relate to either person/character. I couldn't get past the narrator's/author's arrogance and selfishness. He constantly co [...]

    16. Ray Campbell says:

      This is a beautiful book! Kotler is a writer who retires from modern life in order to rescue dogs with his wife. The book begins with the sort of sentimental reflections one would expect given the book title, but he quickly goes beyond into an unexpected spiritual journey. Kotler is well read and writes well. He has done a ton of research on life, the universe and dogs. As he descends into the world of rescuing dogs, he ties his experiences to philosophy, psychology and spirituality. Kotler quot [...]

    17. Amy says:

      I listened to A Small Furry Prayer on my commute back and forth to work. I'd find myself so engrossed in what was being said, that I'd realize 10 minutes had passed, and I had reached my destination!Not only is this a story about dog rescue, but it's also the philosophy and scientific research behind animals, dogs in particular. I learned that the panting noise my Chihuahua Zuzu makes when she's playing with me, and that she joins in with me when I make the noise, is actually doggie laughter. I [...]

    18. Naomi Blackburn says:

      I won this book on First Reads and, probably with this review, will never win another one! I must say I had a very difficult time with this book. I thought it was going to be different than it was. It ended up going on very diffent tangents, from rescue, gay animals to animal psychology, with very little focused in the nuances of animal rescue. It was simply all over the place. I thought it was poorly formed and written from someone who is a professional writer. Sorry.

    19. Jane Petermeier says:

      If you have always felt that humans have a deep connection to animals, and animals are connected to us and other animals, a connection that cannot be explained read this book. Full of amazing facts, great theories and heartwarming stories. It's spiritual, educational and philosophical. There are Chapters that will leave you with a feeling of "Huh, really??" or perhaps"how cool is that?"

    20. Jack says:

      A great collection of anecdotes about dogs interspersed with deep inquiry into big spiritual questions. It could well have been called "Zen And The Art of Dog Rescue Maintenance". I loved every moment of it, and I don't think I'll ever look at a dog in quite the same way ever again,

    21. Michelle says:

      what a lovely book! if you love dogs, you should read this. if you know someone who loves dogs, you should read this. if you've ever wondered why people love dogs - read this! excellent!

    22. Christy Cole says:

      Wow! This book is incredible - it blew my mind open a bit further. It of course isn't some cute story. I loved how this book weaved in really interesting research with the story of building their rescue. I would recommend this to any of my fellow rescuers. Some of my favorite quotes or sections of the book: To start, a quote: "Because how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." - Annie Dillard ON HOW WE EVOLVED TO COHABITATE "Then, like now, there were some people who were bett [...]

    23. Carol says:

      I have been turning over and over again about how to write this review. To me, there were two books in one. One book is about the personal experiences of the couple with the dog rescue in northern Arizona and the other is related or not sometimes not of philosophy of religion and animal research.The part that I enjoyed was the telling of Joy, Steven Kotler’s almost saint like wife and his relationship to her and the dogs. Both of them had chronic illnesses. She has Lupus and he has Lyme diseas [...]

    24. Michelle (In Libris Veritas) says:

      As with the other ARCs I have reviewed please keep in mind that the page count and a few details I may mention may or may not be the same as the actual text. Now on to the review. I personally did not enjoy this book the way I had hoped. The author does have a talent for writing and his style is fluid, precise, and quick paced. However, I can't stand when people interrupt stories.cially if it's their own story. There were a lot of very interesting, cute, sad, and touching stories about the dogs [...]

    25. Leilani says:

      At first the author's writing style annoyed me - it seemed glib, rushed, overly self-conscious. He kept brushing by intriguing ideas and leaving them after just a few paragraphs. After a while, however, I grew to appreciate his exploration of a wide variety of ideas. The section about biotic egalitarianism was especially interesting. And the portraits of individual dog personalities were vivid and winning. (The descriptions of local animal cruelty were difficult to read, though.)I'm still annoye [...]

    26. chrissysg says:

      Initially, even before receiving the book, I didn't think this was the type of book I'd normally read. I actually have allergies to animals and a phobia, I must admit. Also, I haven't grown up in a family that considered pets a priority in life. However, I choose to remain open and want to be able to gain new experiences in life, so I opted to choose this book and was fortunate enough to win a copy.Well, I was pleasantly surprised! This author is certainly deep, creative, honest, and funny all i [...]

    27. Lynn Pribus says:

      An engaging book, especially for dog lovers, which wasn't at all what I'd expected. I'd recently read the one about the couple who moved from SoCal to Maine with 25 rescued dogs and it was all about dogs in the here and now.In this one, the author (evidently a respected freelance journalist since clients were sending him as far as Patagonia to report of stories) becomes involved with a woman dog rescuer. Mostly chihuahuas. He talks about dog rescuers as a breed unto themselves and talks about th [...]

    28. Jim says:

      I like dog stories, always have, so I liked Kotler's book just for that reason. What I particularly liked about this one was that it was about a couple-Steven and Joy-setting up a sanctuary for dogs and dealing with all the problems involved with that We meet a lot of different dogs with special needs and we see Steven's approach to socialize the dogs and create a family for the dogs ( as well as for himself and Joy). But with the joys come the inevitable heartbreaks. Furthermore,"the Rancho de [...]

    29. Ponch says:

      I am so disappointed. I am a huge fan of animal rescues (I worked for one and have volunteered for one as well) and I really wanted to like this book. Actually that is too harsh in a way. I did not finish reading the book. I could definitely tell it was written by a reporter and I found it to be very wordy. I loved the concept or the book and a really valued the information that I received in the first 70 pages. Unfortunately, I kind of felt like I was studying when I was reading this book. It r [...]

    30. Melodie says:

      This is one of those love or hate it books. Being involved in dog rescue for some years now, I fall into the love it category. Or at least the Like It category. To those not involved in animal rescue, the thought processes of those who are remain a perpetual mystery. Mr. Kotler attempts to shed some light on that. There is plenty of history and anthropological studies that he discusses in relation to rescue and the complex relationship that we have with other species. Sound dry as dirt? Well, wh [...]

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