In a NY Times article about the estimated 7,000 remaining wild dogs in Africa, Dr. Rosie Woodrofe, a researcher who has studied wild dogs for 20 years, says, “There is nothing so enthusiastic as a wild dog. They live the life domestic dogs wish they could live.” As a dog owner, I’m not at all surprised to read that. Wild dogs, who can act on their natural instincts all day long, have wildly productive lives. Researchers say these “exceptionally social” and “civic-minded” dogs hunt, teach their young survival skills and care for the infirm. While one male and female in each pack breed, the remaining adults “serve as guardians, babysitters, even wet nurses for the alpha pair’s pups.” If our companion animals could talk, would they tell us that we should have never domesticated them? I think so. I have a rescue dog — a chihuahua/pug mix. He’s one of the “lucky” ones. I don’t chain him to a fence in the cold, leave him in a hot car, neglect him or abuse him in any way. I walk him four times a day; provide him with nourishment and medical care; play ball with him at least twice a day; and shower him with affection (I’ve been told to “get a room.”) Still, I think he’s bored and out of place. I wouldn’t want his life. Domesticating animals for our pleasure was a big mistake, in my opinion, especially when you consider the rampant abuse, neglect and abandonment. But companion animals are here to stay, and the burden is on us to make their lives as enriched as possible.
Filed under: Companion Animals, WIldlife
Tagged with: African wild dogs, New York Times, Rosie Woodrofe