The Suitcase Lady

Domesticated

August 25, 2009, 10:09 pm

My husband calls little dogs “dog seeds.”

“Plant them,” he says, “and they might grow into real dogs, such as German Shepherds, Labradors or St. Bernards.” After laughing, I must admit that finding the wolf in a Chihuahua or teacup poodle is a stretch.

We’re a feline family, and our domestic cats display almost identical behaviors to their big, wild cousins. They stalk, pounce, groom, mark and cover their food just like miniature tigers.

Cats have been domesticated a mere 5,000 years. The Egyptians lured small, wild desert cats into their homes, most likely to keep rodents out of the grain piles. (Beer and bread were staples in Egypt.) Everyone who lives with cats knows they are still undecided about buying into the ongoing domestication experiment.

Dogs, on the other hand, have been at our sides around 14,000 years. The price these loving companions have paid for domestication is steep. Their brains are about 20% smaller than their wolf brothers. That’s the consequence of having a brimming bowl of dog kibble presented on a regular schedule.

The origin of the domestic dog was believed to be East Asia. However, this theory is “left in disarray” by a new gene study of dogs presented this month. A genome-scanning chip has been developed for dogs. Village dogs throughout the world are being pounced on by eager geneticists who are taking blood samples. There’s a high probability that the puzzle of where dogs first originated will be solved sometime soon.

In the meantime, we can all throw our favorite pup a bone and laze around enjoying these last, precious dog days of summer. The cats are already all asleep.


2 Comments for this entry

  • Mara

    Oh! I just love dog stories… I really miss having a dog…they become part of the family, part of our life… no wonder they have been around for so long… :-) Thanks for reminding me how lucky I was when I had my Bamba…

  • marilyn verick

    According to my Oracle of Delphi ,Trich McConnell, cats STILL are not completely domesticated. She always says, ” Dogs have owners, cats have staff”.