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Not about Liverpool; on pets and the wild…

This is my dog?

I think about the idea of pets quite a lot. Part of it involves me coming to terms with keeping an animal in captivity, even if that captivity is a much safer and possibly even happier existence than out in the wild. This conflict leads me to keep training to a minimum and to encourage some behaviours that many dog trainers believe should be eliminated.

I have always attempted to maintain as peer like a relationship as possible while never being entirely able to give up being a master. So at times I allow my dog emotional expressions that some insist should be harshly restrained. (I do confess that my dog may be somewhat more reasonable than some and has quite a happy and encompassing disposition while being quite vocal about what she likes (and I prefer those moments of expression to those perfectly submissive creatures I see)).

And so, as in the photos above and below, I find it wondrous to see my dog as truly other, as a near sociopathic predator, a creature still with some wildness.

In general the word “pet” covers such a wide range it is hard to know what it really means. Ranging from doted companions to creatures kept in bowls and jars to creatures that have never know a leash or a cage, it is almost meaningless.

What I do know from spending time on my grandparents’ farm while growing up, is that creatures of all sorts seek each other out for companionship. It is no anthropomorphism to see this, since the same creatures return to each other after being apart. It is not just that vaunted human/dog vector we always hear about as being special.

Still not quite my dog.

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