Thursday, June 2, 2011

Strong Bonds

I've lived with a dog or cat or both almost every minute of my life. Certainly our ancestors of every culture lived with animals. Some considered them gods. Many cultures saw animals as sentient beings with their own languages and customs. In the photo above, doesn't Josey look as if she's about to make a clever remark?

Archeologists have found evidence that dogs were kept as pets in a 14,000-year-old grave in Germany. Evidence that dogs lived with humans has been found in a cave in  11,000-year-old site in Utah. A Wikipedia article dates the domestication of the dog to  15,000 years ago in east Asia and Africa. In a dig in Jordan, anthropologists found the oldest evidence remains of a what may have been a pet fox buried with human remains 16,500 years ago. Pet lovers, we have tradition solidly on our side.

Dogs, cats, and even foxes lived with people in ancient times because they were useful. They hunted rodents that could destroy food stores, gave early warning of danger, aided hunters. People were useful to dogs and cats too, but the connection between the species must at times have been more than simple exchange of benefits. People and pets can share a very strong bond, whether in the Stone Age or the Digital Age.

My vet once described me as the woman who runs a home for geriatric dogs, and that sums it up nicely. A year ago I had three dogs. Last fall, I wrote a post about Rosie, my companion for 16 years. This past week, Josey, oldest and last of the three, died. Caring for Josey, along with other obligations in spring, is partly responsible for my infrequent blogs posts this month.

Josey was a long-haired dachshund and a sweetheart! I inherited her and Ginny, a Shih Tzu, when my friend and neighbor, Georgia, died a year and a half ago. With a yard to investigate, treats in the evening, and an occasional piece of chicken in the food bowl, the dogs adapted to the change and life was good.

My friend Dodie says that dogs make us more human. I have no doubt that she's right.

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