I read voraciously, and dog books go right to the top of my piles, but the first time I tried I just couldn’t get into A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life (Amazon link), by Steven Kotler.
The second time I picked it up, I read all afternoon and finished it all in a couple of days. I really didn’t want it to end.
I wanted it to keep going so much that I read all the endnotes and consoled myself with the fact that there were two websites on the dust cover. I didn’t get out of bed and go right to them only because our cat Misty had had the rare opportunity to curl up next to me instead of our cat Moonlight. Somehow it wouldn’t have been in the spirit of the book to put my desires ahead of Misty’s in that moment.
I couldn’t get into A Small Furry Prayer at first because it was so far beyond my comfort zones. Buy a small ranch in northern New Mexico, and rescue something like 25 dogs? Not me. Give me a much tamer life, please! The very idea made me so uncomfortable that the book sat in my reading pile ignored for months.
But Steven Kotler is a very good writer and a very funny one, and the outrageous stories of his life with his wife and all those dogs are blended with erudite and far-ranging reflections on ethics, biology, genetics, flow states, and much more. The stories are charming, beguiling, occasionally grim, and altogether absorbing. Kotler is a brilliant man with wide-ranging interests.
Here’s the book: