Some people have children others have dogs. The role of animals have changed over the centuries. They are no longer lifeless creatures that just eat, sleep and poop. Rather they are characters. They have mannerisms that put their owner both to shame and hysteria in the same breath! These animals have become companions, or as Donna Haraway describes “companion species”. They have become part of the family. This blog post looks at articles by Shelton and Haraway. This blog post is also a photo essay that documents the relationship between owner and pet.
In The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People and Significant Otherness Haraway introduces an interesting term of “Companion Species” (Haraway 2007:15). What Haraway highlights in her article is the concept that we co-habitat with other species. Not just animals, but with plants and other living organisms. Haraway also writes about the importance and role that companion species play with in society. Haraway writes about the “relations of dogs and people” (Haraway 2007:21). This relationship in no longer just man and pet, but rather of a companion that lives with man, creating memories and has a lasting imprint. Her article explores how companion species have become integrated into everyday society. It is the co-habitation of human and non-human.
For this assignment we were required to do a photo essay that focused on Pet-Human relations. For this series I chose four friends, each that have pets that have a special place in their hearts. What better way then to capture portraits of owners and their loved ones together in their home. I em”barked” on a journey to discover the relationship between these family.
This is Adrie. Adrie loves her dogs! Her Instagram account is photos of her dog more than that of people! This made her perfect for this series. Her voice grows ever more excited when she talks about her dog. Olly is a playful dog. When I walked in I was greeted with exictment by Olly. His nickname is Jakkalas. Adrie Describes Olly as being a real goofball and I couldn’t agree more! This pup was all over the place. Yes as fun and active as this pup was, he was a gentle little soul. Olly was so excited to have his photo taken! Or maybe that was just the treats getting to him! Olly’s full time profession is digging war trenches in the backyard. Yes he is for hire.
Skalla was the other child in this family. I guess when you’re a certain breed and have a certain look, we tend to stay clear. Skalla looks quite scary at first, but she’s a soft little soul with a big heart Adrie says. And I’ll have to agree. It was a warm welcome from Skella. Adrie describes Skalla as a people dog! She constantly wants to be with you and involved in whatever you doing. There’s nothing like a love cuddle with this one. But wait! You can’t forget her ball! She loves her red chewed up ball! But as all women are, the minuet the camera came out, she got to self-conscious!
What words describe Pasha? Stubborn, protective, aware, snuggly, playful, loving, sweet, intelligent, attractive and unpredictable according to Drico. Drico says that Pasha enjoys acting like a wolf and looks ferocious. But yet she can turn into a cuddly spoiled teddy. Pasha has a way to reflect the mood of the house, you know somethings up when Pasha’s upset. If I’ve ever met a picky eater it’s Pasha. She has a very fussy food routine that involves biscuits at tea time. Pasha was definitely not the model type! It was quite a rigmarole to get her in front of the camera. Never mind the light we nearly lost as she walked off set, hooking it in her paw.
Saartjie. Synonym for bark. Saartjie may look rugged and like a frantic old lady who’s losing the plot. But this just reflects the nervous ball of energy that keeps bouncing around. Kara describes Saartjie as a playful and extremely vocal little dog. And I will agree with the vocal part! Saartjie will greet you with a continuous bark till you pet her. Then she’ll lie at your feet as you rub her head and sheepishly release a dripple of excitement on the floor and sneak away. Kara loves Saartjie and her cray personality that keeps bouncing around the house.
Purdy is a liking ball of energy. Do not say the B word (ball) because then you have her in a flat spin. Lynn describes Purdy as being a second shadow. Where ever Lynn goes, there Purdy follows! If I have ever met a dog that acts like a jealous lover its Purdy. She holds onto your leg like she’s giving you a hug. And when you lie down on the couch she will sit in your arms as if she’s you lover. This dog is a bundle of fun! And you can’t leave home till Purdy has her biscuit.
Haraway, D. 2007. The Companion Species Manifesto: dogs, people, and significant otherness. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.
Shelton, D. 2001. PIONEER PETS: The Dogs of Territorial Tucson: A Photo Essay. The Journal of Arizona History, 42(4), pp.445-472.