Even the fact that I was abused and starved before I came to live with my forever humans, I still LOVE humans! Every single person who comes to our home is there to see me, I just know it and I let them know I know it, WOOF! Animal protection should be working to remove us from humans - why didn’t they ask us first before all their anthropomorphizing OUR feelings started this nonsense in the first place ruh? Yes, treat us right (and that includes REAL food and stopping all the toxins and drugs) but the rest, forget about it, WOOF! Please visit this site so you can really get the BIG picture and how you can help us stay in human homes: No Kill Bill. ____________________________________________
By Janice L Morgan - February 2008
When I was in college I wrote a paper for an evolutionary biology class about symbiotic relationships in nature. Symbiosis is a close ecological relationship between two (or more) different species. This can be a positive or a negative relationship. My paper was based on the mutually beneficial aspects of symbiosis among mammals. The original paper is in storage; however, I was sufficiently inspired by the recent acceleration of the Animal Rights (AR) movement, to recreate the high points of the relationship between dogs and humans and the impact tampering with that relationship would have on both.
Animal Rights or Evolutionary Suicide
In the pre-dawn mist of the high plain steppes a pack of semi-domesticated wolves alert in unison warning their human pack members of a threat to the camp. Human and Canine alike, fight off a predator to save the young and weaker of both species, and so begins a partnership that will continue for over fifteen millennium. Fast forward 15,000 years, like a bad dream, Priscilla Tavenier awoke at 2:30 a.m. Friday and heard the dog barking frantically. Wondering what was going on, she ventured outside to find that her house was on fire. Jake, a 13-year-old St. Bernard/Chow mix, sounded the alarm just in time for Priscilla to awaken the rest of the family and get them outside. Her husband, their son, his wife, and their three children, and a family friend, all made it out safely, thanks to Jake.
One of the most profound and powerful symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationships on planet earth is that of human beings and dogs. When canines “chose” to follow early Homo sapiens, a relationship of mutual trust, protection and dependence began that has endured for thousands of years.
Dogs are a domesticated subspecies of the wolf and are the first species to be domesticated by humans between 14-17,000 years ago. Although, who domesticated whom, is still hotly debated, it is quite clear that the dog has maintained the longest lasting relationship with humans in history. Not surprising when you realize that the social structure of early humans and wolves was very similar, and probably contributed heavily to early domestication. In addition, humans and wolves shared the same habitat, hunted the same prey and most likely shared the same enemies. Add to that that research has shown that dogs and humans share similar genes. Evidence shows that wolves began following human migrations and hunting parties, and slowly developed a mutual dependence upon one another.
The archaeological record is rich with the dog/human legacy. Rock art and dog burials with and without people dating to 14,000 years ago indicate that dogs were highly valued companions. Remains of smaller dogs have been found in Middle Eastern caves dating to 12,000 years ago. And in North America, dog burials dating back to 5,000 years ago show the enduring nature of the dog/human relationship. Evidence would suggest that there may have been more than one domestication event and that likely wolves were being domesticated in more than one place at more than one time. As humans migrated, dogs migrated with them. Human populations also began to see the benefits of dogs that showed a propensity to accomplish specialized tasks. With the advent of agriculture and later the industrial revolution, selective breeding of working dogs became the norm.
Why is all this important? The fact that wolves in all likelihood initiated this partnership with humans, flies in the face of the AR position that humans should not own pets. At present the AR movement is trying to undo over 15,000 years of evolutionary history. Logic and good old fashioned common sense says this line of thinking is completely wrong and in fact quite dangerous. Animals, and dogs in particular, have become almost totally dependent on human beings, and my guess would be that just like their ancestors, they are quite comfortable with this affiliation. Humans and dogs are quite able to integrate each other into the pack order. Dogs still maintain the same pack structure as their ancestors and humans still maintain the same basic social order as their ancestors; therefore, dogs and humans are able to live in the same symbiotic relationship they have been maintaining for thousands of years.
Where dogs in pre-history alerted to predators, hunted beside their human counterparts, protected family members and lived in a mutually dependent environment, modern day dogs alert to seizures, guide the blind, work in search and rescue, help autistic children connect to the world, sooth the elderly and the sick, and save the lives of people in hundreds of ways every day. Dogs and humans are social animals and crave the presence of others. To destroy the bond between humans and dogs would be tantamount to evolutionary suicide.
Janice L Morgan - February 2008
Further interesting reading on the relationship between humans and dogs: