Reviews in 200 Words

Dog Sense, by John Bradshaw

In Nonfiction on August 19, 2011 at 3:23 am

Dogs are not wolves. They don’t want to dominate you and your household and every earthly thing. The prevailing wolf-dog theory, Bradshaw says, doesn’t jibe with history. For 100,00 years, the dogs that cuddle, retrieve, protect, and beg the best have been rewarded with spots in our homes. Their progeny thrived and outlasted their ill-mannered cousins. The result? Dogs love us. Hard. Dog Sense cites a growing body of scientific research to support this surprisingly sentimental thesis. And the feeling is mutual. Millennia of companionship distilled a dog-human affection like bourbon, sweet and strong. Among millions of species, only one has crossed into human life so completely that we expose to it our vulnerable selves–and even our children. Dogs love people more than anything else, even other dogs. A dog yelps when his owner leaves for an afternoon, but not when his dog friend dies. This is because dogs’ survival depends on humans, not canines. Their biological imperative is to remain in human custody; and thus they study us, looking for clues about how to win our trust. Hunting and protective skills are now vestigial.  The modern dog earns its keep by stoking the soul and salving the human condition.

-Katy Welter


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