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Man is also dog's best friend


Every day, dogs who don't know me allow me to examine them, carry them, and pass them through a confusing maze of holding pens. The idea that as a group, canines include interspecies partnerships in their collective unconsciousness, is amazing to me. While I admit, I don't fully understand epigenetics and a process by which people and dogs have become a team, I do understand that to squander it is a crime against our very nature.

There are activists who believe this relationship between man and dog is wrong at its core. That somehow, selfish primitive humans kidnapped wolf puppies and through scientific experimentation, genetically modified the canine for our own nefarious purposes. But this is misanthropic poison.

Archeologists have found dogs buried with humans as far back as people have buried people. Bones of small headed hunting canines have been found tens of thousands of years before that such that some scientists propose dogs and wolves shared a missing link which took two paths; one to live wild as a tight knit territorial family that hunts and the other, our companions, to live in a nomadic loosely formed gang near and off human settlements.

The idea that people grab up wild animals and subject them to torture to watch them closely is widely shared in the animal rights movement, a demographically uniform group with members who who have not often interacted with animals who do not indoors. Those of us who work with thousand pound creatures or untouchable orphaned babies are far more aware of animal intelligence and behavior that makes imaginings like those laughable.

A small, impulsive human who avoids predators for a literal living is so unlikely to have leaped up on the back of a struggling wild stallion that I question the spirit of anyone who thought of that explanation for domestication first. Is that what she would have done? Because it's disrespectful of the life force and totally incompatible with any survival instinct. Grabbing a wolf puppy from an abandoned den and selectively breeding that puppy for spotted fur and safety around chickens, is foolhardy and has still, not been accomplished.

Of course, the Belyev foxes are cited as an example of what cave people would have done. But this just proves my point. Not only was this experiment considered extreme in his day but it didn't work. Little friendly spotted foxed still haven't become Dachshunds or even Pomeranians during extensive controlled breeding that could never have been managed in the homes of small traveling bands of pre-farmers.

Our GMO canines are a product of generations of caring for individual dogs who helped us most and probably, their puppies who were also good at whatever it was we needed. But we completely disregard a dog's volition, even existence, if we pretend he had no role. The dogs who thrived in domestic tranquility, those with an affinity for humans, especially young ones, were favored. I'm saying they chose us as much as we chose them. And truly respecting the rights of other species means accepting their choice, too.

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