The Animal's CompanionJacky Colliss Harvey
2 May 2019
Published by Allen & Unwin
The earliest evidence of a human and a pet can be traced as far back as 26,000 BC in France where a boy and his ‘canid’ took a walk through a cave. Their foot and paw prints were preserved together on the muddy cave floor, and smoke from the torch the boy carried was left on the walls, allowing archaeologists to carbon-date their journey. And so, the story unfolds, from these prehistoric days all the way up to the present, of humans’ innate and undeniable need to live in the close company of animals.
In this startling new work, acclaimed cultural detective and life-long pet owner Jacky Colliss Harvey uses her compelling story-telling skills and keen eye for historical investigation to examine our role as animals’ companions, in this exploration of the history not of the pet, but of us as pet-owners.
Drawing on literary, artistic and archaeological evidence of our relationships with other species, over thousands of years of human experience, she examines the when, the how and the why of our connection to those animals we take into our lives, assessing these against the latest scientific thinking on this complex and enthralling subject, and suggesting new insights into this most long-standing of all human love-affairs.