View Full Version : Did Dogs Teach Us to Love?

Friday, October 15th, 2010, 06:37 AM
By Kerry Lauerman


In his latest look at animal behavior, Jeffrey Masson suggests a mutually beneficial evolution of our two species.

From a Flickr photo uploaded in the past 10 seconds to a 2,500-year-old Greek urn that shows wispy, wild-tongued creatures frolicking with our ancestors, our devotion to our pets is easy to document.

Our relationship, though, may go back much further and deeper than we realize. Some scientists believe our relationship with domesticated animals — dogs, in particular — goes back as far as 100,000 years. And that speculation has launched a nascent school of study into the theory that man and dog have co-evolved through the centuries in untold ways; one scientist speculates that we lost our own, keen sense of smell by relying on the sharper sniff of our beastly hunting partners.

In his new “The Dog Who Couldn’t Stop Loving,” Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson considers how a “mutual evolution” not only impacted dogs, but us as well, and our own capacity to love and feel empathy for other creatures. Warmly told through his relationship with his own dog, a joyfully failed guide dog named Benjy, Masson breezes through some of this curious new research while celebrating the seemingly bottomless capacity of dogs to express love and devotion to their owners.

Masson has cut an intriguing figure across our intellectual landscape for four decades now. First, he was the director of the Sigmund Freud Archives, raising explosive questions about Freud’s motivations before being dismissed; later, he was the plaintiff in one of the most sensational libel cases ever. But, beginning with “When Elephants Weep” (written with Susan McCarthy), Masson entered another chapter of his career, becoming the leading translator of the emotional lives of animals and our relationship to them. We spoke with Masson by phone from his home in New Zealand.


Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, 09:07 AM

I love my puppies...♥

J. Winters von Knife

Old Winter
Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, 09:38 AM

I am for animalrights but this is just taking it a step too far.

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, 09:49 AM
Dogs relationships with humans is a bit overrated in my opinion.

It wasn't such a long time ago that ancient now long extincted wolves that were the precursor ancestors of most modern dog breeds would as a pack hunt human beings for food. ;)