Thursday, 14 October 2010

learning to like our dogs

As I drove along yesterday, I listened to part of an interview with a theologian, James Alison, on the ABC radio program, Encounter. I was struck by his claim that the idea of 'companionate marriage' - a loving relationship between two people who like each other - only emerged in the seventeenth century in Europe. He said that previous to that time, men lived separately from women and didn't socialise with them. Of course, as he so delicately put it, the two sexes came together for 'procreation'.

I took this to mean the two genders didn't really understand each other, or respect their similarities and differing strengths, until they began to live as couples and spend time together.

That made me think of the changes that are currently occurring in the way we relate to our dogs. As long as dogs were in the backyard, out of sight for most of the day, we didn't realise how much they are like us, in their emotions, intelligence and needs. But now that many of us live 24/7 with dogs, we realise we need to respect them and treat them well.

And we like them. In fact, we have learned to love them.

This development has been recognised in Australia, in many ways. An article in The Age newspaper yesterday reported that Lifeline Australia, the crisis support telephone service, now offers support to people grieving the death of a pet.


Two Pitties in the City said...

Oh, that is such an interesting comparison. Even from the time I had dogs when I was younger, so much has changed between the human and dog relationship. I feel especially in our situation where we don't have a yard and we're forced to walk them everywhere we do have a closer relationship (and I know everything about their bowel movements from the moment it happens).

parlance said...

Two Pitties, that's so funny...about the close relationship with bowel movements. It's the same with me and Penny, now, because she has to be on lead every moment that we are out of the house.

therigatha said...

Wasn't quite sure what you were going to say there for a moment! I have always been amazed at the unconditional love our pets offer us. Thanks for the reminder

parlance said...

therigatha, I see you have a new blog! I'll look forward to reading it.