Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Extremophiles

Owners of animals (and we must be in the majority among Q. readers) ought to check out Prairie Mary's recent essay, "Two Tails of the Social Dog," an excellent response to the state of polarization over animal issues that accounts for much of the chatter on this blog.
"When it comes to domestic pets, a terrible thing has happened which I should have foreseen and which has unforeseeable consequences itself. The extreme end of the humane movement has been matched by the development of growing organization at the other extreme which has no name yet but an equally militant and intransigent nature...."

She pegs a few of us in the latter camp, but is not unkind, and I must say, not entirely unfair.
"Partly these dog-owning defenders are entirely respectable hunters, including those who work with hawk-and-hound pairs; aficionados of classic working breeds like the big cart-pulling or flock-guarding dogs developed in rural Europe; citizens who feel the need for protection in their own homes; but then go along a continuum to criminals who keep dogs to alert them against law enforcement or competing criminals and those who promote dog fights for betting and blood sport."

I cringe to see myself listed among the likes of certain NFL luminaries, but I can't tell you I wouldn't rather be caught at a cock fight than a PETA rally. At least, I've met a couple cock fighters I liked.

Mary's essay defines the middle ground, rarely mentioned, where "the sensible center continues on. Daily and quietly [managing] their own lives to support what is around them and accept the ordinary blessings of good things like dogs and cats."

And she makes the very important observation that the fates of people and animals are simply inextricable:
"In short, animals are a part of human culture -- have been for a very long time -- and are symptoms, manifestations and causes of everything human. As people go, so go their animals. They are not separate entities that can be considered apart from humans, so much as extensions of those humans...."

If you haven't already, read the whole thing.

1 comment:

prairie mary said...

Today I nearly got into a shouting match with a friend, not Blackfeet but married to one, who was feeling a LOT of impatience with the state of things on the rez, one of which is the number of big dogs loose in the streets. "But things are BETTER!" I insisted.

"Give me one example," she asked.

I used the phenomenon of the hundred spay/neuters done in the gymnasium by veterinarians with the families of the pets acting as nurses and encouragers. "There are still too many damned dogs in the street," she said.

"Well, maybe we should encourage everyone to go back to eating them."

No laughter.

This stuff is hard.

Prairie Mary