Once in a blue moon, we come across an opportunity to participate in a point in history that's so special, it changes who we are as individuals and as a culture. We are so very grateful to have connected with so many animals lovers in recent months as we walk into a brand new era together. Author and anthropologist Mary Elizabeth Thurston signals this new era in her musings, below. Wishing Happy New Year to all our friends and the creatures they hold dear.
The Path to a New Ethic
"History tells us that the welfare of the individual - humane or canine - is irrevocably tied to the welfare of the community. Now we have studies showing that children who care for dogs are more likely to mature into emotionally healthier adults, and that canine companionship prolongs the length and quality of life. Capable of remarkable love, the dog gives us what we crave most - a sense of belonging.
Throughout our shared history with dogs, it has been the spark of love between one person and one pet that became the catalyst for social change. That this canine "ephiphany" is now happening with increasing frequency points to a revolution in our concept of ourselves - our growing acceptance that we are part of the community of animals, not above or separate from it. With overpopulation, urbanization and habitat destruction threatening our personal links to the natural world, the role of the dog in bringing us to this new awareness cannot be trivialized.
Pet keeping is now one of the Western values being exported to cultures where animals have traditionally been viewed as consumable resources. With only the affluent in these countries able to afford keeping dogs for pleasure, pets again are becoming emblems of prestige, just as they were in nineteenth-century Europe. So we might ask, as the far reaches of the globe are transformed by a second wave of industrialization, whether the human-dog relationship in these developing nations will follow the same evolutionary pattern. Will the camera again document a canine pilgrimage from slave to soulmate as these societies grapple with concepts of self-determination and a compassionate ethic that embraces us all?" - Mary Elizabeth Thurston