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Our Pets and Us: The Evolution of a Relationship
T. E. Creus, author
Why do we love pets? When were dogs domesticated? Is it true that cats were sacred in Egypt? What happened to pedigree dogs during the French Revolution? Were black cats persecuted during the Middle Ages? What happened to Laika and other space pets? Can you clone your pet after he dies? How will pets be in the future?This fascinating book will take you through a journey along the history of our relationship with our animal friends -- dog, cats, and a few other more exotic creatures -- from before their domestication to the space age, the latest trends in pet care and the most amazing recent scientific discoveries. A must for all people interested in history -- or in pets.
Despite centuries of scientific discoveries, animals “are still a mystery,” writes Contrarium editor Creus in his wide-ranging ramble on the animal-human bond. Creus draws on history, art, and literature to explore how humans and animals have evolved to understand one another: early cave paintings, he writes, were attempts by homo sapiens to capture animal behavior for their personal gain, as “they believed that by painting them, they could somehow capture their essence so as to become quick as leopards, strong as bears.” The author retells touching stories of loyal canines, such as the famed Hachiko, who waited nine years at a Tokyo train station for the return of his deceased owner, and surveys the archaeological record going back 30,000 years to look for proof of canine domestication. One chapter dedicated to writers and their pets discusses Hemingway and his six-toed felines, and philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who had a series of poodles all named Atma (a Sanskrit word meaning “universal soul”). Little of the information is groundbreaking, but Creus makes it sing with his contagious curiosity: “I don’t know if the type of animal chosen could be in any way related to the type of writing. Do poets prefer cats, and novel writers dogs?” Animal lovers will appreciate this quirky, episodic investigation. (Self-published)