New & Noteworthy
Don’t expect a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings while reading A Small Furry Prayer by Steven Kotler. Do expect to be enlightened about the world of dog rescue. The subtitle of Kotler’s work is Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life and that sums up this little gem in a nutshell. Kotler not only informs readers on the gritty world of dog rescue, he shows us what dogs can teach us about how to live and love.
Kotler was 40 years old, single, and facing an existential crisis when he met Lila, a woman devoted to animal rescue. “Love me, love my dogs,” was her rule and since Steven grew to love Lila, he took her dogs to his heart as well. When a housing crisis looms on their horizon in Los Angeles, Kotler, Lila, and their eight dogs move to a small plot of land in Chimayo, N.M., believing it will be easier there. The only thing that really changes for them is the location. They now own instead of rent but eight dogs soon becomes ten and then . . . you get the picture.
As a freelance journalist, Steven’s time is flexible but he is soon spending all his time taking care of dogs. Not only are Steven and Lila running a dog rescue, it is also a hospice. Many of the dogs they take in are seriously ill. A strange thing happens though–many of the dogs get better when treated to Steven and Lila’s TLC.
While dog rescue is one of the largest underground movements in America, it is also one of the least understood, according to the author. Through personal experience, cultural investigation, and scientific inquiry, he weaves a narrative that explores what it means to devote one’s life to man’s best friend. Along the way, he combs through every aspect of canine-human relations, from man’s long association with dogs through new research into the neuroscience of canine companionship.
There are light-hearted moments in this book; there are sad ones but readers will not come away from it uninformed. Some may even decide they “need” to start their own dog rescue. Anyone making that decision might want to send up a prayer first.
Author Marc Bekoff says, “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.”