From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Inside of a Dog, an eye-opening, informative, “entertaining, and enlightening” (BookPage) celebration of the human-canine relationship for the curious dog owner and science-lover alike.
We keep dogs and are kept by them. We love dogs and (we assume) we are loved by them. We buy them sweaters, toys, shoes; we are concerned with their social lives, their food, and their health. The story of humans and dogs is thousands of years old but is far from understood. In Our Dogs, Ourselves, Alexandra Horowitz explores all aspects of this unique and complex relationship that “dog lovers will savor and absorb” (Shelf Awareness).
As Horowitz considers the current culture of dogdom, she reveals the odd, surprising, and contradictory ways we live with dogs. We celebrate their individuality but breed them for sameness. Despite our deep emotional relationships with dogs, legally they are property to be bought, sold, abandoned, or euthanized as we wish. Even the way we speak to our dogs is at once perplexing and delightful.
In thirteen thoughtful and charming chapters, Our Dogs, Ourselves affirms our profound affection for this most charismatic of animals—and makes us “see canine companions in new ways” (Science News).
In this entertaining and accessible volume, Horowitz (Being a Dog), head of Barnard's Dog Cognition Lab, examines the unique relationship that "scientists, ever unromantic, call... the dog-human bond.' " She devotes different chapters to various aspects of this relationship, with one particularly intriguing section sharing the results of Horowitz's informal Twitter survey on the reasons behind dogs' names. One respondent, a literature PhD married to a man named Hyde, named her dog Jekyll, thus making for Doctor, Jekyll, and Mr. Hyde an elaborate joke that also serves as an example of how modern pet owners tend to see themselves and their animals as members of the same family. (On a more somber but similarly meaningful note, other respondents reported giving dogs names once earmarked for the children they never had.) On New York City sidewalks, Horowitz eavesdropped on dog walkers, hearing how owners modeled parenting style with their pets (some were critical, others cheerleaders), used their animals as excuses to introduce themselves to strangers, and encoded passive-aggressive messages meant for their acquaintances in addresses to their dogs. Rounding out her analysis by discussing the philosophical ramifications of dog ownership and the booming economics of the pet goods industry, Horowitz offers a treatise certain to appeal to dog lovers everywhere. With b&w illus.