If You Tame Me: Understanding Our Connection with Animals

If You Tame Me: Understanding Our Connection with Animals

If You Tame Me: Understanding Our Connection with Animals

If You Tame Me: Understanding Our Connection with Animals

Synopsis

Nearly everyone who cares about them believes that dogs and cats have a sense of self that renders them unique. Traditional science and philosophy declare such notions about our pets to be irrational and anthropomorphic. Animals, they say, have only the crudest form of thought and no sense of self at all. Leslie Irvine's If You Tame Me challenges these entrenched views by demonstrating that our experience of animals and their behavior tells a different story.

Dogs and cats have been significant elements in human history and valued members of our households for centuries. Why do we regard these companions as having distinct personalities and as being irreplaceable? Leslie Irvine looks closely at how people form "connections" with dogs and cats available in adoption shelters and reflects on her own relationships with animals. If You Tame Me makes a persuasive case for the existence of a sense of self in companion animals and calls upon us to reconsider our rights and obligations regarding the non-human creatures in our lives.

Excerpt

This is a study of how the animals who share our lives influence who we are. It is based on several sources of data collected during three years of research. Most of this research took place in my work as a volunteer at a humane society that I refer to as “The Shelter.” I also interviewed people who were adopting and surrendering animals, and I observed them as they came to look at homeless dogs and cats. In addition, I observed and interviewed people at community dog parks and drew on my own reflections about a lifetime of living with animals.

The title of this book comes from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's famous story The Little Prince, long a favorite of mine. In chapter 21, the prince, after arriving on Earth, crosses deserts and climbs mountains but finds no friends to stave off his great loneliness. To make matters worse, he finds a rose garden, and the sight of the vast numbers of roses makes him realize that his beloved yet troublesome rose, who is back on his planet, is not unique, as she had adamantly insisted she was. He misses her deeply and begins to cry. Then the prince meets a fox, and he invites his new acquaintance to play. The fox explains that he cannot . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.