Animals and humans have had interaction for many years but how we engage with them on personal and emotional levels draws us to call them our “pets’, and “best friends’. In this article I will discuss how the impact of animals have an effect with inter-specials relationships with reference to Harway (2007) exploring the ‘’constitutive, historical relationship’’ between humans and pets.
Harway talks of how some animals have evolved over time to level up in the animal ranking to form interaction with human’s bridging the way for companionship. He deals with two important questions, asking how the ethics and politics can learn from taking human and dog relationship seriously then to convince Americans that history matters in nature cultures. Harway (2007) we all have pets that vary, making compassion species not only limited to dogs but rather a range of pets. Animals help us as a species to engage on a level with other animals changing our tendency to think we are superior.
As a young child I had parents that were very concerned about keeping animals at home, preventing us from having the conventional pets such as dog’s cats and hamsters due to their fear of hygiene issues and allergies. However, they warmed up to the idea of “Animal friends’, which was what my younger brother and I called it- pathing the way to our first pets. Chickens, free range banteren chickens that acted as garden fertilizers and a constant flow- ready to eat eggs on standby with the odd round of baby chicks that escaped the morning call for omelettes. As unfriendly as chickens sound they become an active involvement in our daily routines, “Robin & Rosie”, is what we called the hen and rooster, parenting a number of baby chicks over the course of 3 years.
Our farm pets where not taken seriously in the small suburb of Edenvale in the City on Johannesburg. Complaints from the neighbouring houses often about the early crow doodles starting the morning off at 5am then again in the evenings. After 3 years it was time for our chickens to move out the urban environment as our garden became too dangerous for them with cat and dog threats and our large pool taking the lives of a few small chicks. They were our friends and as a kid I was so emotionally involved I cried for week when we had to send them to the farm.
The chickens acted as softeners to my parents hearts giving them the edge to adopt the cat we have today ‘’Sassy”, a missing cat who’s owners moved out of town, so we thought till we found out the cat actually just ran away from its owner and actually adopted us. Our Sas was has become a bilingual cat understanding both English and Portuguese as we’d like to believe, as well as responding to our calls with her ability to vocalise almost all her thoughts, through wimped meows and attempted barks. Sas could be classified as a Stoner kitty, with the amount of cat nip she eats, making her an ever loving bundle of laziness, with sleep cycles ranging from almost 20 hours.
Sassy would be one our family’s most affectionate pet which engages with us in a way more dependent level, she will sit and wait every day by the gate for me to return from school then again for my parents from work. She has a Hitler moustache despite her title for the most affectionate cat- taking any opportunity to leap to an unoccupied lap or fall in front of anything else that could take from here attention. Sassy has been with us for about 5 years and I’ve felt I have learnt a tremendous amount of affection from her. Sassy gives to the less fortunate despite the myths about cats and birds. After she’s gotten fed she leaves the last few pellets over to feed the birds in our garden- she is aware of this as she’ll sit by the bowl and just watch them eat. She’s never attempted eating birds, rats or other exotic foods, maybe she’s too lazy but now the birds have bound with her, where they can eat without worry.
Haraway, D. 2007. The Companion Species Manifesto: dogs, people, and significant otherness. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.