Our pets are part of our family. We suffer together, play together, live together. They give us unconditional love and joy ( except when they decide to redecorate the couches and mistake our shoes for chewing toys but we can never stay mad at that cute faces). I interviewed a few friends and they were kind enough to share their stories with me.
A little theory and background on “Companion Species”…
Haraway (2007: 4) states that companion species bring together not only the human and non-human, but also the organic and technological . She states that dogs are not only here just to think with but to live with. Haraway makes a statement that reads : “The Companion Species Manifesto is a kinship claim “ (Haraway 2007: 8-9). Companion animals range from dogs, cats, horses and any other animal that is willing to be serving companions, family members or cross species sport team members (Haraway 2007: 14). Kinship can be defined as a family relationship or a sharing of characteristics or origins. It is the close-ness between you and your pet, that special bond of unconditional love and care. As opposed to this Haraway ( 2007: 12) says that this relationship is not especially one with playfullness love and intelligence and so the relationship can also be full of waste ,cruelty , indifference, and ignorance. Haraway (2007:12) mentions that there cannot be only be one companion species and that there has to be two species to make one. Your pets are the ones who make you feel better after a long hard day, they are your comforters and protectors. Haraway states that dogs can ” lower one’s blood pressure and up one’s chances of surviving childhood,surgery and divorce”. In history dogs were used as weapons, hunters and instruments of terror and rescuers, but now in the modern world they are used as serving companions and comforters (Haraway 2007: 13). By sharing a home with these animals, we inhabit our stories, we are co- habiting an active history and that can be described as the function of a companion species.
The incredible stories of the relationship between human and non-human…
Meet my “companions”: Jack, Mufasa and Charlie. They are three Siberian Huskies and they are all related. Jack is the father of the twins Mufasa and Charlie. They love long cuddles, long walks (more like sprints) in the neighbourhood and have an incredible howling talent. Jack the Alpha loves to climb onto my lap ( just imagine a 25 kg big fluffy dog thinking he’s a lapdog). He is a brave ,blue eyed, soft hearted best friend. Mufasa is the tough guy but the moment you scratch and cuddle him on his favourite spot he turns into a little puppy. Charlie is the creator of vet bills since 2011, for some reason he likes to eat any soft material. This caused him a stomach twist and near- death experience. After all the vet visits he is a bit of a slow thinker and always have a confused look on his face but that makes him special. He’s our little miracle. All of them have a strong distinctive personality and I know we understand each other even though there is kind of a “language barrier”.
Meet Kobus Swanepoel and his dog Naki. Naki is 14 years old and the proud provider of loyalty, love and friendship to the Swanepoel family. What makes Naki special is her singing talent. When Kobus’ sister, Anrie, plays her violin Naki sings along and hits those high notes. She also sings to the family when they return from vacation. Kobus says that he does not look forward to the day they have to say goodbye to Naki and hopes that it will be in the far future.
Kobus has a special bond with other dogs too and provided me with some lovely photographs of his other best friends :
(Photo credit : Zanri Rossow)
Meet Edele and her beautiful puppy Olaf. He is a cross between a German shorthaired pointer and a Weimaraner. She shares her story:
“Olaf is like another member of the family. He is warm and cuddly, and cheers me up every single day. The love I have for this dog of mine is just indescribable. He is truly my best friend. My dog and I have an incredible bond and this bond will just grow bigger and stronger over the years. He is a very smart dog and a fast learner.Olaf loves running, chasing, chewing, jumping,smelling and eating everything”.
Olaf is her protector and is currently training to run to the gate when she arrives at home so that he can make sure she is safe.
Meet Rhodene and her cat Louie, named after Fat Louie from The Princess Diaries. Rhodene shares her story:
“ This is the most interesting cat I know. He was a surprise given to me on my 15th birthday and is definitely the best birthday gift yet! Our relationship can’t really be described in one word. I love him and he is the cutest cat in the world,and sometimes he will also show his ‘love’, but then again I wonder how he really feels towards me when he leaves the room just when I come in. I think we both can get annoyed with each other, but then the next moment we will love each other again and he will curl up next to me.He has this habit where he wakes me up at 2 am every morning, and he will not stop making a noise until I fill his half full bowl with cat food, just to make sure he will not starve the next day! He is a character on his own and I think he is a bit crazy. ”
It is evident that humans and non-humans can have a relationship and is definitely a kinship as Haraway describes in her article. The mutual respect, love and loyalty is the foundation of the relationship between humans and their pets. The world will be a very dark disturbing place without them. Always remember this quote :
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.” — John Grogan
Haraway, D. 2007. The Companion Species Manifesto: dogs,people and significant otherness. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.
Swartz, A. 2015. 12 Inspirational Quotes All Animal Lovers Should Know. [O]. Available: https://www.thedodo.com/inspirational-quotes-about-animals-1083565793.html
Accessed on 15 April 2016