Canines and humans have depended upon one another for tens of thousands of years. Humans took the initial steps of domesticating canines, but somewhere through the millennia, dogs began dramatically to affect the future of their masters. In A Dog's History of the World, Laura Hobgood-Oster chronicles the canine-human story. From the earliest cave paintings depicting the primitive canine-human relationship to the modern model of dogs as family members, Hobgood-Oster reveals how the relationship has been marked by both love and exploitation.
Canines have aided and been heir to humankind's ever-increasing thirst for scientific advancements, empire building, and personal satisfaction. They have tested equipment for space exploration, fought beside us in war, and advanced countless industries. But Hobgood-Oster reminds us that, just as canines would not have flourished without humans, humans would not have flourished without canines.
They have been our healers, licking wounds and providing therapy to the sick and troubled for countless years. Weaving together archaeology, history, and literature, Laura Hobgood-Oster conclusively shows that humans would not be what they are without the presence and influence of canines, that the human-canine relationship has never been one sided, and that humanity's temptation to exploit canines is never far away.
"What makes this book special is not so much the topics addressed but the smart, balanced, and humane way in which Hobgood-Oster engages the conversation. The book gives even those familiar with the great dog debates new perspectives to think about, and for those who are not already immersed in the field, this is an excellent place to start."
– Anna Peterson, Professor, University of Florida Anglican Theological Review
"A surpassingly beautiful reflection replete with graceful stories and moving realities, this elegant book will open up every reader to the history, breadth and depth of a profoundly interesting cross-species communion."
– Paul Waldau, Associate Professor of Anthrozoology, Canisius College Anglican Theological Review
"Our shared history with dogs, as Hobgood-Oster relates, makes one thing clear. We cannot live without them."
– Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO, The Humane Society of the United States Anglican Theological Review
"Filled with fascinating information and thoughtful reflection, this book should be read by anyone who loves dogs or wants to understand people."
– Roger S. Gottlieb, author of Engaging Voices: Tales of Morality and Meaning in an Age of Global Warming (Baylor University Press, 2011) and Spirituality: What it Is and Why it Matters
"Who has domesticated whom? In this tracing of our mutual development, beyond boundaries of social group or location, A Dog's History of the World reminds us that no matter how or when, relationships with dogs are part and parcel of being human."
– Stephanie Varnon-Hughes Anglican Theological Review
1 Strangers No More - Partners in the Hunt and Herd
2 Journey to the Afterlife - Best Friends Forever
3 Healing and Saving - Life Is Better with Dogs
4 Canines and Conquest - Invasion, Empire, and Dogs of War
5 Dogs of Design - The Frankenstein Syndrome in a Changing World
6 The Dog-Human Bond - Domesticating Each Other
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Laura Hobgood-Oster is Paden Chair and Professor of Religion and Environmental Studies, Southwestern University. She is the author of The Friends We Keep. She lives in Georgetown, Texas.