A 1902 hobbyman’s article on fishing tangentially describes an intimate (and masculinized, in the context of its call for back-to-nature engagements) human-dog moment as follows:
“As for a dog, I am sure that his admiring love for his master is never greater than when they come in together from the hunt, wet and tired, and the man gathers a pile of wood in front of the tent, touches it with a tiny magic wand, and suddenly the clear, consoling flame springs up, saying cheerfully, ‘Here we are, at home in the forest….’ When the weary, shivering dog sees this miracle, he knows his master is a great man and a lord of things.”
The self-aggrandizement, attained through the representation of the “weary, shivering dog,” necessarily speechless at the “miracle,” is palpable.
Even as I look at the ad for a contemporary dog-training book by “energy therapist and intuitive coach” Catherine Whittaker, Become Your Dog’s God, I can’t help but find the idea of being my dog’s God to be kind of silly and old-fashioned. The more natural sciences-based narrative of being a dog’s “pack leader” is much more familiar—but are these really so different? Is the popular and pervasive narrative of humans being their dog’s alpha pack leaders perhaps just the secular version of man being dog’s god?
Van Dyke, Henry. “The Open Fire.” Fisherman’s Luck, and Some Other Uncertain Things. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1902. 207-33. Google Book Search. Web.