By Steven Kotler, Bloomsbury Press, $24.00, 320 pages

10Don’t skip this book just because it might bring a tear to your eye. Anytime animal rescue is discussed, there are bound to be sad stories. Steven Kotler’s new book is wonderful because it is about more than saving man’s best friend; it’s also about humanity. A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life will change the way you think about and relate to dogs. Kotler is a journalist who had his life turned upside down when he moved with his girlfriend and their pack of dogs to rural Chimayo, New Mexico. As you read his down-to-earth, funny and emotionally charged book, you’ll get to know his pack. You’ll learn about Squirt, Bella, Bucket and my favorite, Gidget (just to name a few). Because Kotler is a journalist, he tackles problems with the zeal of an investigative reporter. His examination of questions leads him to discussions of ancient traditions, cultural views and practices, the neuroscience of canine companionship, the power of rescue centers and caring for dogs with special needs. Long after you have finished Kotler’s book you’ll find yourself “paws-ing” to consider his words. And you’ll want to hug a dog ASAP!

Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin