Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond

Alexandra Horowitz, director of the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, Columbia University, has conducted extensive scientific research observing and studying dogs--how their brains are wired and sensory systems operate. In Our Dogs, Ourselves, she probes the "dog-human bond," and how "domestic quadrupeds" can tell us much about ourselves. She also explores how dogs' place in society is steeped in great contradiction.

When humans began to domesticate wolves, they "changed the course of the species development." Horowitz recounts how dogs came into human lives and share our world. She examines the ramifications of dog ownership--from strict specifications required of purebreds to mutts adopted from shelters--and care, and clashes surrounding dogs as legal property, as well as arguments for and against dog neutering and spaying. To great effect, Horowitz (Inside of a Dog) overlaps personal and scientific research as she playfully examines dog behavior and cognition and the ways canines are often spoiled. Some dogs are treated like people and members of families, receiving carefully selected names and indulged with special food, toys, socialization goals and costly medical care. She also scrutinizes communication between dogs and humans and why dogs are often thought of as "mirror animals" who hear the phrase "I love you" uttered to them daily by two-thirds of North Americans.

History, facts and data are woven along with entertaining personal anecdotes and asides, allowing Horowitz's findings to be delivered in an appealing, accessible way that readers, especially dog lovers, will savor and absorb. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

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