Dogging It

Westport has been going to the dogs for years.

From Winslow Park to Compo Beach (October through March only!), we love our pooches.

But even the most avid dog-lover is a mere toy poodle, compared to the Great Dane that is Steven Kotler.

Steven Kotler

Co-founder of a New Mexico dog sanctuary, Kotler is also a dog writer.  Tomorrow (Tues., Nov. 9, 12 noon), he’s at the Westport Library.  The subject:  his new book, A Small Furry Prayer:  Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life.

In it, Kotler mixes personal experience and scientific inquiry in an exploration of many intriguing aspects of canine-human relations.

He’s clearly on the dogs’ side.

“For 50,000 to 135,000 years, we co-evolved with dogs,” Kotler says.  “We thoroughly merged with them.  We learned cooperation and teamwork from dogs.  Dogs in packs — their natural habitat — show incredible altruistic behavior.”

Being around dogs leads to lower stress levels in humans, along with lessened incidents of cardiac disease and depression, Kotler says.

Will the dogs Kotler sees on his trip to Westport be different than those out West?

“There’s a lot of breed devotion on the East Coast,” Kotler notes.

“But 10 years ago, the differences would have been massive.  But the rescue movement has grown so much that now more people are getting dogs there than from breeders.  The differences aren’t as great.”

So can Westporters’ dogs listen to Kotler too?

“That’s a question for the venue,” he says.

“I’ve found most libraries don’t like having dogs there.”

7 responses to “Dogging It

  1. People’s fascination with their dogs has gotten out of hand. Sure, I like man’s best friend as much as the next guy, but dog owners assume that all of us share their passion for their pooches. You want to take your dog in the car while you do errands? Great! But please don’t bring them into the store, bank, post office, or deli. And I don’t care how little or cute he/she is.

  2. Bobbie Herman

    I’m a cat person, and find that my beloved Tallulah lowers my stress level, too. She also doesn’t bark, jump all over you or have to be walked.

  3. The Dude Abides

    I concur with NOT SO FAST that our preoccupation with dogs has gone too far. As Gordon Gekko famously said: “Those WASPS love their dogs more than people.” My partner would argue that dogs are nicer than people but the various inbreeding now seems to cause premature death from diseases I thought were confined to humans. In the olden days, dogs lived to 30 or 40 years old. We have stunted their life span by the aforementioned and the various pollutants in their food. I got too spoiled varmits if I anyone wants ’em????

  4. Very funny, Dude. You can sleep on the sofa tonight!

  5. The Dude Abides

    Sofa beats the hell out of the damn dog snoring like a drunken sailor!!!

  6. if you are going to start quoting gordon gekko, in preparing for the 1st movie michael douglas shadowed my father and his friend to learn their profession’s mannerisms, vernacular, and was then invited to their homes in which i can assure you dogs are treated very well. that comment about wasps and dogs if it was in the first was inserted to appeal to the most of us who aren’t wasps. most of us love our dogs and oddly enough even those of our neighbors who we don’t care so much for…and it sounds like this book reminds us of why.

  7. The Dude Abides

    Stanley Weiser wrote the original script for “Wall Street” not Michael. I do believe the comment was intended to show how crass Gordon could be and not any indictment on the treatment of dogs by non-WASPs. Your comment, however, tends one to believe the written words should have been more of a generality.