犬たちの礼節ある社会生活 単行本 – 2000/8/1
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Where she lost all credibility for me was when her old dog started suffering, became paralyzed, was in constant pain. She does not believe in euthanasia as long as a dog still wants to eat. Her dog could not move from his pillow, was lying in his waste, but was always hungry. Yet so ill that he could not eat, even though he wanted to. She made this "beloved" dog suffer for many months when it was clear he had no quality of life except pain. He was in such pain that he would bite his family when they tried to pet him. Yet she refused to make that tough decision that so many of us have had to struggle with. Finally she called in the vet, but she waited far too long. It made me sick how she made that dog suffer to justify her "philosophy".
Another example is a newborn kitten who was killed by another of her dogs. Bad enough that she failed to anticipate the danger and protect the newborn. But instead of burying him, she left his poor baby body under a bush, to be more "natural". So natural that some nearby wild animal snatched him. What kind of animal lover is this?
For me, Thomas taps into something very deep and important--something that's difficult to find words for. But I know that it has to do with a message that says it's okay to feel deep emotions about your animals, to talk to them and hear their answers, and to sense and acknowledge their deep feelings. Even though many of us have known and felt this intuitively, it is neither the message that our Judeo/Christian tradition nor our Linnean <I> scala natura</I> science of classification has wanted to deliver to us.
In the introduction she poses the questions: "Can we understand the mind of an animal? . . .[do] animals have consciousness?" and then proceeds to say that for some scientists . . . "the view that animals are incapable of conscious thought, or even of emotion, has acquired an aura of scientific correctness, and at the moment is the prevailing dogma, as if some very compelling evidence to the contrary was not a problem." This reader is happy to say that her own experiences with animals have certainly provided "compelling evidence to the contrary."
On a final note, THE SOCIAL LIVES OF DOGS, even though written around the lives of the canines concerned, reads a little bit like Thomas's personal memoir. She puts a lot into perspective in the excellent epilogue, which I found to be the real icing on the cake. Even as Thomas finds "grace" in canine company, so does she tell their story with much grace. This book is a wonderful read!