Tag Archives: “A Small Furry Prayer”

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.”