Wednesday, May 27, 2015


I love watching people's dogs when they need me to. A lot of my friends and family know I'm always willing to help them out with their pets if they need me. This past weekend I took a trip to the Dog Beach in Santa Cruz because I was watching my boss' dog Cal. She went away for the weekend and asked me to 'dog sit.' I usually never question the notion of dog sitting but when I read James A. Serpell's "Anthropomorphism and Anthropomorphism Selection" I wanted to examine this concept. He talked about the relationship between pet keeping and anthropomorphism. Is dog sitting the perfect example of anthropomorphism? In what ways? Dog sitting is like baby sitting. You have to make sure the creature you are taking care of is fed, bathed, well rested, and entertained. Taking a baby out for a walk in their stroller is similar to taking a dog on a walk with their leash strapped on. I wanted to ask how you guys felt about the concept of dog sitting. Do you think dogs or any pets need to be with a human companion at all times to gain the basic necessities? Even for one night? Or do you feel as if they can fend on their own?  Is dog sitting a domesticated process in its self?


  1. This is a topic that often creates internal conflict. I am not sure how I feel or how I am supposed to feel about pets. We say we "own" a pet just how masters used to "own" slaves. I like to think that we are actually helping these animals by keeping them off the streets and giving them shelter. However, my next thought is if this is how slave owners used to justify buying slaves. With this in mind, I wonder if we real eased all the dogs into the wild would be able to survive. I feel like they wouldn't because they have been so domesticated that they've lost their survival skills. But that may be the slave owner mentality talking...

  2. When I was younger, my uncle used to own this gorgeous German Shepherd, and he loved her more than anything. She was young, so I guess he thought coddling her wasn't doing her any harm. However, because of his intense affection, she basically became codependent on him. She suffered from separation anxiety; if he left for more than two hours, she became very ansty and frustrated and took to wrecking the furniture and whining.
    I think a lot of people have become very accustomed to the idea of dogs being our ever-present companions, which leads to this codependency between our two species. I think dogsitting is a result of that.
    If you have a dog (or any pet for that matter), I think teaching them how to deal with your absence early on is best for both parties. It keeps the pet from developing this type of distress, and it keeps the human from smothering the (non-human) animal with attention.