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Friday, January 14, 2011

Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life

Guest post by Kristine Tonks

"It felt like Ahab was both offering me his heart and telling me of an ancient trust between our species, a sacred covenant, an honor code I didn't yet know existed. I'm pretty sure he was also telling me not to screw it up."

Steven Kotler wrote these words near the start of his book A Small Furry Prayer Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life. When I picked up this book, I wasn't sure what to expect but these two sentences made sure I kept reading. How could a book written by such a man be bad? Not for the faint of heart, Kotler's book opened my eyes to the reality of dog rescue. While I knew it couldn't be all sloppy kisses all the time, I wasn't fully aware of the levels of grit and heartbreak involved.

This book tells the story of Kotler and his wife's escape from Los Angeles to a farm in rural New Mexico to open a "real rescue". Rancho de Chihuahua is still in operation. From the looks of their website, they do very good work. The Kotlers specialise in tough cases, dogs who may never be adopted due to extreme medical or behavioural difficulties. Some of his descriptions made me shake my head and others made me laugh out loud. Dogs are nothing if not entertaining.

Interwoven through the events of a very tumultuous year are the author's philosophical investigations. I commend Kotler on his extensive research. Talking with experts like Alan Beck and Patricia McConnell, the author explores the scientific and, at times, supernatural world of dog intelligence. Steven Kotler was inspired by the actions he witnessed in his diverse group of dogs. He made it his goal to find answers to some pretty controversial questions. His book covers topics from canine altruism to sexuality, all the way to one of the biggest questions of all: are dogs aware of their own mortality?

This is a book for dog lovers who aren't afraid of digging in and getting dirty. It strengthened my wish to get more involved in dog rescue. I will put out a small warning, it is not PG. But if you have a strong stomach and are willing to suspend your disbelief, A Small Furry Prayer will definitely make you think. By the time I finished, I was looking at my dog in a brand new way.

Thanks to Kristine for this fine book review. Have you read this book or others like it? Leave a comment here or get into the conversation at our Facebook page. Want your own copy? Click below to order you copy right here:

Other book reviews you might enjoy:
Oogy  (***Free audiobook to the first person to correctly identify Oogy's breed in a blog comment below)
The Darkest Evening of the Year

Kristine Tonks is a former history student who has recently discovered a passion for all things dog; she writes Rescued Insanity. If she hadn't adopted her dog, Shiva, from the shelter when she did, the piles of books would have taken over her house. Kristine feels that rescuing Shiva is by far the best thing she has ever done.

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Niki Maas said...

Oggy has is a American Bull terrier, but looks so much like my Ratterier.. haa.. gotto love the terrier breeds

Niki Maas said...

American Bull terrier, Pittbull, or like my Rattterier with a pitbull complex :P BOL

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

Keep guessing; you're close!

Elizabeth said...

Such a sweet sounding story. I just got it on iBooks!

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