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A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life
A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life
A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life
Электронная книга350 страниц5 часов

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

Автор Steven Kotler

Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд

4/5

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Steven Kotler was forty 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 Steven took it to heart. Spurred to move
by a housing crisis in Los Angeles, Steven, Lila, and their eight
dogs-then ten, then twenty, and then they lost count-bought a
postage-stamp-size farm in Chimayo, New Mexico. A Small Furry Prayer chronicles their adventures at Rancho de Chihuahua, the sanctuary they created for their special needs pack.

While
dog rescue is one of the largest underground movements in America, it
is also one of the least understood. An insider look at the "cult and
culture" of dog rescue, A Small Furry Prayer weaves personal
experience, cultural investigation, and scientific inquiry into a
fast-paced, fun-filled narrative that explores 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 humans' long
history with dogs through brand-new research into the neuroscience of
canine companionship, in the end discovering why living in a world made
of dog may be the best way to uncover the truth about what it really
means to be human.

ЯзыкEnglish
ИздательBloomsbury USA
Дата выпуска3 окт. 2010 г.
ISBN9781608193042
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Автор

Steven Kotler

Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective. He is one of the world’s leading experts on human performance. He is the author of nine bestsellers (out of thirteen books total), including The Art of Impossible, The Future Is Faster Than You Think, Stealing Fire, The Rise of Superman, Bold and Abundance. His work has been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes, translated into over 40 languages, and appeared in over 100 publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Atlantic Monthly, TIME and the Harvard Business Review. Steven is also the cohost of Flow Research Collective Radio, a top ten iTunes science podcast. Along with his wife, author Joy Nicholson, he is the cofounder of the Rancho de Chihuahua, a hospice and special needs dog sanctuary.   

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Отзывы о A Small Furry Prayer

Рейтинг: 3.880952380952381 из 5 звезд
4/5

42 оценки36 отзывов

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  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    A little flaky at the beginning, and not always gracefully written, but turns out to be a thought-provoking meditation on how dogs help us reach more understanding of the meaning and value of living each day. Have bought this for others.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5
    As much philosophy, psychology, mysticism, and theory as dog rescue. Love it!
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    Dog rescue is fascinating to me, and this book details the beginnings and day-to-day operation of a unique rescue facility started by the author and his wife in a remote area of New Mexico. With no cages or crates and a mission to accept only hospice and special needs cases, with an emphasis on chihuahuas, this home is unique among shelters. While some dogs become adoptable many are there for the long haul, and the size of the pack leads to many interesting discoveries for the author. Taken on as something of a midlife crisis, the shelter provides the author with a number of learning experiences and new questions to explore concerning the meaning of life. To that end, Kotler describes the changes that take place within him spiritually as he works with these outcasts and discovers their capabilities, one by one. Kotler is a journalist and researcher and offers many side trips into theories of dog psychology, ethics and even the nature of the dog soul. Sometimes I hoped for more about the dogs and less science, especially in the second half of the book, but overall it is a fascinating story of a very worthy effort by two dedicated and empathetic people, working hard to overcome insurmountable odds.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5
    I requested this book assuming it would be a short, heartwarming story about animals which I always enjoy and am not particular about the specific details, similiar to those who avidly read romance after romance for the temporary thrill, not the plot. What I got was similar to taking a college course that was lifechanging, perhaps philosophy, and feeling like I learned and understood more about lhumans and their companions than I ever realized I could. This is not an easy read and once assimulated, it is evident that every moment engaged in ithe reading of it was pure gold. Kudos to everyone involved in it's publication! Get yourself a copy today and evolve and then share and discuss with others.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    Overall, I enjoyed A Small Furry Prayer immensely - it wasn't what I was expecting. It is a lot less memoir-y than I thought it would be. Kotler focuses a lot on his research about dogs - information that is fascinating, especially for dog owners. That said, there was not really a narrative arc or traditional storyline with a beginning, middle, and end. The book starts out quite narrative - we read about Steven and Joy's experiences starting a dog sanctuary, the dogs they help, and the challenges they face. Kotler flashes back to his early days with his original dog, Ahab, and how loving Ahab set him down his dog-saving life path. The narratives more or less stop after a particularly tough period of time in which Joy and Steven lose seven dogs in seven weeks, including their favorites. After that, the book turns much more philosophical and scientific and the anecdotes that Kotler shares serve to illustrate his deeper points.A Small Furry Prayer doesn't have a conclusive ending, it really could have gone on as long as Kotler still had insights and anecdotes to share, and I get the feeling that he nowhere near exhausted his reserve in this book. I would have liked a more definitive structure and order - it felt too scattershot.Kotler addresses sticky issues like the value of animal rescue as a cause (i.e. why save animals when so many people are suffering?), the "humanity" of animals, and the interconnectedness of all life. Still, the information is interesting and well-cited, the stories emotional, and the cause noble. A Small Furry Prayer is a must-read for dog lovers and animal rescuers, but be prepared for deep thinking and deep emotions.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    The subtitle for this book sums it up perfectly; Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life. Half the book tells the story of how Kotler came to the vocation of dog rescue and his experiences, with the rest consisting of a free-flowing, philosophy "lite" of his thoughts and feelings. These begin with dogs, but move onto pretty much everything. I was very interested in Kotler's concrete experiences running a dog rescue in rural New Mexico and much less interested in his musings about the meaning of life. So, for me, half of this book was great.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    After receiving this book to review, I instantly thought maybe I should not be the one to do it. I have been in dog rescue for 14 years and am incredibly jaded about "dog" books (rescue, behavior, "Marley and Me," etc.) and just probably have read my share of bad ones. But wow, was I surprised at this one. I loved it. As the title suggests, it is not just about dog rescue, although that is the nucleus for the psychological and scientific studies and stories in various chapters. The thing I most enjoyed was Steven's kind, unique approach to helping some of the dogs with severe behavioral issues. Having had my share of those throughout the years, I was not very hopeful this would be anything good. I thought I had heard everything, but there were some great new things to be found here. I also thought the fresh historical approach to dogs and their relationships with humans (and amongst their packs) was amazing, e.g., altruism in dogs, creation of play and strategies, how dogs can read our facial expressions and movements and homosexuality in dogs! Although not always related to the rescue, the stories on rural Northern New Mexico are really interesting too. I whipped through this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in dog rescue or humane treatment of animals - if nothing else, to learn some new things about both. I did not give this five stars because at times it was a bit too "memoir-ish" or "All About Steve" and I really just wanted the dogs/dog science. But I suppose the meaning of life must be applied to the meaning for the human telling the story, to make it real.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    The book " A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life " gives little information on animal rescue, and many short essays on topics such as : cross species altruism, brain neurochemicals, Mayans, evolution, Darwin,toteism, philosophers and religion. By the time the author got onto an essay on Shamanism and shape-shifters, he had really lost my attention. I found that there was precious little information on actual animal rescue and far more on the above topics which loosely related back to animal rescue in some fashion. Steven Kotler and his wife Joy moved to New Mexico and began an animal rescue operation, but there is very little information about how they established the animal rescue, how they supported themselves financially or the emotions surrounding the entire operation . I felt at a distance from this author's story and never felt emotionally engaged to the rescue animals, the author nor his wife, whom he did not really write about at all.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    The sub-title wasn’t fooling. Kotler and his wife are deeply involved in dog rescue. I was prepared to hear about the difficulties of moving to the country & a new lifestyle, of the struggles of finding homes for the dogs, of dogs being sick and of dogs dying, but I wasn’t looking for metaphysical speculation and “deep ecology”. It's a great glimpse at what people who live for dogs think about, but I wanted more dog stuff, even it was gritty, and less theory.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    It's not until the penultimate page of the text of this book that author Steven Kotler paraphrases the Buddhist truism, "All things, as they say, are connected ..." But you don't have to read very far in A Small Furry Prayer to know that he obviously subscribes to this theory. The book's cover shows a shadowed photo of a cowed-looking Chihuahua, an image that will certainly grab dog-lovers. It did me, and I'm not even that fond of that particular breed of dogs; just a bit too yappy for my taste. The thing is, this is not really 'just' a dog book. Maybe the subtitle should have tipped me off: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life. It's that 'meaning of life' stuff that really gets more attention than anything else here. Which is okay, I suppose; but I was hoping for a little more about the dogs, ya know? Kotler does tell his readers early on, I'll admit, that he is "inquisitive by nature and a journalist by trade." And his chops as a skilled investigative journalist are evident throughout the book. Early on too he makes the sad point that millions of dogs are killed in the U.S. every year. Since his girlfriend-later-wife, Joy Nicholson, is deeply committed to the altruistic avocation - life calling? - of animal rescue, mostly dogs, Kotler quite naturally wants to join the club, wants to understand. So he does, he says, what he's always done - "ludicrous amounts of research." And that's where the "everything is connected" stuff begins to display itself. Because it seems he is research crazy, and everything he reads up on he somehow manages to drag into his narrative about their run-down and cash-strapped animal rescue ranch in rural New Mexico. I mean this is so NOT just a book about dogs. This is more about trying to make sense out of being a human being and how we relate to the other creatures around us. I would have exepected to see references in this kind of a book to, say, Patricia McConnell, Jeffrey Moussaieff Mason, and okay, Cesar Millan and even Aldo Leopold - and there they are, along with countless other animal experts. But we also get (and this is only a very small part of a much longer list): St Francis, Carlos Castaneda, Aldo Leopold, Arthur C Clarke, William James, DesCartes, Emile Durkheim, Eric Fromm, Aldous Huxley, Dr DOLITTLE, for cripesakes! And on and on and on, with many, many endnotes to back it all up. This is simply research run amok, interspersed with cute pop psychology and endless cleverness, utilized in the interest of drawing all this widely disparate information together. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But to this reader it often became just too damn much, too over the top. So I will admit to plenty of skimming through literally dozens of pages that often seemed either a bit too esoteric or just plain irrelevant. But maybe that was just me. After all, I only got a C+ in Intro to Philosophy in college, so maybe a lot of this is just over my head. Or maybe it was NOT all so connected. All that said, I did find parts here and there that truly moved me, most notably Chapter 26, about bereavement and grief over the loss of a beloved pet. Been there. It's devastating. And Chapter 28, with its sad tales of dogs dying in spite of the attempts of Kotler and Nicholson to save them. I do not doubt for a moment that Kotler and his partner are dedicated dog lovers, and for that I salute him. But if you're looking for a simple 'dog book' to give you a 'warm fuzzy feeling,' this ain't the book for you. Try Marley and Me. It's less pretentious and a lot more entertaining.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    I almost didn't request this book, as I'm not a fan of the Marley/Merle type books (the ones I have were all gifts). I'm glad I did. Kotler doesn't try to turn this into a warm and fuzzy, "look how amazing we are!" type of narrative, yet still manages to have his deep love of the dogs shine through on every page. As others have said, it's much more than a dog book. I'd suggest flipping through it, reading excerpts, etc. before purchasing it. I enjoyed the journalist style of writing, it's much easier to believe, rather than the constant feeling of things being grossly exaggerated in other dog narratives.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    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...especially if it's their own story. There were a lot of very interesting, cute, sad, and touching stories about the dogs that he and his wife fostered, but just as a story is starting and you're getting interested -pause- and the philosophy side story or research starts. After about a page or so of that you finally get back to the story but it's just not the same now that you are bogged down with a bunch of knowledge about a wide assortment of things. I suppose to be fair this book isn't purely about the dogs, it's about the lifestyle and how he grew into it. So the fact that he is thinking about how he and the dogs interact and get to know each other is a good thing, I just would have preferred if the information would have come before the actual story or after, or if being in the middle is the only perhaps if it was shorter in length. That was my major dislike. There were a few issues I had with the author and that was just a personality clash I suppose. There are a few editorial mistakes like for example the author's wife is named Joy, but there are a few times that he calls her Lila. It's not terrible but it's enough to make you backtrack to see who exactly he's talking about.Also I never want to go to Chimayo, New Mexico ever...it sounds terrible. The scenery sounds beautiful but the community sounds absolutely terrible. It may not be that way now but I'm definitely not going to put it on "to travel" list.I personally love the message that this gives though. Dog rescue is hard work and by no means pretty, but the rewards come in so many different ways. This book proves that there is a lot we can learn from animals, and there are somethings we may never understand. I can't say I recommend this because it was a bit of a tedious read but if you really enjoy books about animals and/or animal rescuing I'm sure you would enjoy this a lot.In compliance with FTC guidelines, I won this book through the First-reads program on Goodreads
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    When I started A Small Furry Prayer by Steven Kotler, I expected to read about the author's experiences running a dog rescue ... but it was really much more than that. The author does describe how he and his girlfriend (later his wife) moved to New Mexico and began a dog rescue ... complete with descriptions of the dogs' personalities, some daily routines, and the ever-heartbreaking losses. Each section, however, used the author's observations of the dogs as a jumping off point to explore another area ... religion, spirituality, human-animal bonding, dogs' ability to feel emotion, etc. Within each section, the chapters were really quite short and easy to skim if that particular subject didn't capture your attention. Overall, it was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it none the less.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    This is a memoir about the author's decision to open a dog rescue with his girlfriend/future wife . It's beautiful , funny at times and heartbreaking in others . The story has three parts alternating through it . There's the author's falling in love with and marrying his wife that convinced him to help her open the dog rescue , the author finding himself becoming emotionally attached to each rescue dog and then there's the part spent exploring the history of the "Man and Dog relationship" . So glad I won this book from LT's Early Reviewers ! If you love animal-centered memoirs then you will love this book !
  • Рейтинг: 2 из 5 звезд
    2/5
    I received a copy of A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life as an Early Reviewer. I enjoy memoirs that revolve around animal lovers and the non-human companions Life puts in our paths. I know a few people who do rescue work and respect that it is a calling not many can (or should) undertake. Reading this book before bed, I struggled to stay awake. This story focuses more on the the author's interpretation of meaning of life than what I expected to find—rescuers and the animals they save. Small Furry Prayer went deeply into the existential and not nearly enough (for me) on the life of the author or his wife. I loved the photos, wished there were more. I wanted to know more about the individual dogs in their care and how the author and his wife managed to afford to do what they did for these many dogs. While I wanted to connect to this couple and their story, for wont of a good editing, I never did.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    I received Steven Kotler’s book A Small Furry Prayer in the mail on the day we picked up our first foster dog, a chocolate and tan dachshund with an attitude. Good thing, then I didn’t take all the growling personally. I found that Steven’s book was something I needed to sift through. There are short anecdotes of his life at the dog rescue, Rancho De Chihuahua that he and his wife run in New Mexico, inter-dispersed with science and esoteric meanderings. I loved reading about the dogs and how this started—the process he went through emotionally to embrace the life his wife choose. The scientific studies he quotes from are interesting and I’ve even seen some of the documentaries on PBS and read some of the articles in National Geographic, but the conclusions he jumps to don’t always add up. The quality of the writing is great and at times I laughed and cried, so it is touching. There is a take-away, the breakthroughs he made hiking with the dogs; that imagery will stay with me inspiring longer exploratory walks with our dogs. I received this book through Librarything.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5
    Steven Kotler is a big man who fell in love, opened a dog rescue facility in Colorado and learned to love little dogs. His accounts of showing love to lost and easily disposed of creatures is a new look at what to expect from human-dog interactions. This is a great look at psychology using our four footed friends as the medium for phrasing research.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    Steven Kotler was feeling adrift when he fell in love with a woman who had dedicated her life to saving dogs that no one else wanted. When they were kicked out of their rental home in LA, they used their savings to buy a small farm in Chimayo, New Mexico, a rural area filled with bikers, convicts, drug addicts, shamans and a lot of abused dogs.The tale of their efforts to found a rescue in the badlands of NM is compelling, and Kotler's prose is vivid and honest, sometimes heartbreakingly so. Unfortunately, for me at least, there wasn't enough dog rescue and far too much meaning of life. As the book progresses, it reads more and more like a term paper. Kotner trots out every scrap of research and analysis on dog-human interaction, and if you've read a lot of dog books (and I have) it's stale stuff. By the last third of the book, I found myself skimming over his long discourses on the metaphysical aspects of dogs and screaming inwardly, "What about Bella? And Igor? And Bucket? And how are you paying for all of this?" He does return to the dogs in the end, but it's too late. This is a book in need of an editor. Preferably one who loves dogs and knows how to tell a story.