When Homo sapiens sapiens met Canis lupus lupus millennia ago, the result was Canis lupus familiaris, the domestic dog. Since that fateful encounter, the dog has become, arguably, humankind’s greatest creation. The domestic dog is the most widely distributed species (other than ourselves) in the world, being found virtually wherever people live, and is also the most diversified of species, with literally hundreds of recognized breeds.
While we have shaped the dog, it, too, has helped shape human history in innumerable ways. Our Debt to the Dog is a critical historical and cross-cultural examination, through the use of case studies, of this most improbable 15,000-year relationship and an exploration of how this relationship shaped the history of the world. It is also very much an apology to the dog because over the course of the partnership horrific acts were perpetrated against it intentionally and otherwise. Our Debt to the Dog enriches our understanding of the dog and extends our appreciation for the profound complexity of past and present human-canine relationships and the dog’s contributions to our lives and our world.