Accepted Paper:

Living with dogs: a study on the social dynamics of a dog park  

Author:

Kyla Cangiano (Nipissing University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyzes the dichotomy of the animal-human interaction through shifting perceptions of dogs in a space created to promote inter-species interaction.

Paper long abstract:

Through examination of animal-human relationships in a space created to encourage inter-species interaction, I have considered the question of the changing perceptions of a dog's "personhood". As pets continue to possess increasing importance within the family dynamic, I consider how they are viewed as next to kin, and treated more like a dependent child than an animal. The anthropomorphizing of canine companions continues to increase, begging the question of their position within dynamics of family and community life. The question of position is complicated as I illuminate arising tensions in the ambiguity of just how much human status a dog can hold. Spaces such as the one I examine here call us to consider how animals and humans move together in the formation of a complex communicative nexus, allowing for a space of redefining the animal-human dichotomy. We learn through observations of such places the important positions animals hold in human life, and how a space in which allows for inter-species communication becomes crucial to the well-being of both pet and owner. This examination of shared space and shifting perceptions of dogs, has allowed for insight on how, as two species move together, the boundaries of the animal-human dichotomy are blurred.

Panel LL-AE05
Materialities of human-animal movement in northern landscapes