It's hot. So I opened a bottle of bathtub-temperature-Merlot and watched the sunset--and also our animals.
Companion animals have been around for at least 14,000 years. Dogs came first (my cat certainly would quibble with that assertion) and then cats. Out of respect for Rocky (our cat) I'll start first with cats.
As humans became agricultural, cats became in favor for their mousing abilities. Cats protect granaries. They show up in Africa first (as did Humans). Amazing creatures, they hunt hundreds of creatures. Some say that having a "subsidized predator" has led to the decrease of song bird populations in the United States. So, if you have a cat---help to even the score for the prey, by putting a bell on the feline.
So how is Rocky doing out here on the edge of the wilderness? Just fine. He prowls around all day--but has the wisdom to seek shelter in a cage we set up for him. He spends his nights there...and enters it on his own, without prompting. One night Joni heard a commotion outside. She went out to chase some critter (she thought it was a coyote) attempting to have a kitty snack.
Dogs were the first animal to be domesticated. There is evidence of humans being buried with dogs from 14,000 years ago. One such burial occurred in Utah 11,000 years ago. They probably originated (as in most civilized things) in China.
The theory goes that dogs and humans have a symbiotic relationship. Dogs got our table scraps (Angel gets ours). Their job was to sound the alarm for other larger predators hanging about--looking for a human snack. The relationship has worked well ever since.
We got our dog because we wanted to have some protection from Mountain Lions for Jazzy and Kylie (aged 7 and 8). Some folks say that having a dog around just invites the Cougar into the neighborhood as a lure. We do have neighbors who have lost dogs (always tied up in the yard) to Cougars. But I quibble with the "lure" part.
First off, the dog/human relationship wouldn't have developed if it didn't work. Sounding the alarm for protection is a dog's duty. They do it well. At least our dog does.
Secondly, in looking over the history of fatal Cougar attacks on Humans, there isn't one reference to there being a "Canus Lupus Familiaris" (dog) about. We see Yuppies on bikes dying. Female runners. Elderly hikers being attacked--none protected by dogs; I'll take my chances with our companion guard dog to protect this family from Mountain Lions.
So what prompted this? I watched our dog vomit tonight. After vomiting, she would eat some grass. She doesn't normally eat grass...so I wondered about this behavior.
Vladimer Megre (a Russian) in his most excellent novel (?): "Anastasia" recommends observing the behaviors of our dogs. They eat grass when they need something. It's an old wive's tale for dogs to eat grass after vomiting. And probably helpful. Instinctual. Megre states we should watch what our dogs eat...and then have some ourselves--as their Canine intelligence leads them to eat what is missing in their diet (I abstained from that!).
Megre also asserts an intelligence for our gardens. He recommends walking barefoot in our gardens so that the food we grow can figure out from our bare feet what nutrients we need. He states the plants will provide such. That is an experiment I will try.
By the way, Megre's "Anastasia" series is quite interesting. Worth reading. Despite it's absolutely hokey book cover, it provides an excellent, natural, and quite spiritual, way for humans to live in the world. Russians can write. Those Soviets did teach something correctly in their Brezhnevian schools.
This book has evidently led to a reawakening of the "dacha" movement in Russia. A back-to-the-land movement whereby some ten million Russians have moved to rural settings in the last ten years. And with good results: 75% of the vegetables consumed in Russia are now grown on small family "dacha" plots.
The Russians have also managed their population well...to the point that the Russian Government gives a couple time off to go home and copulate to make babies. Seems that Putin wants to ensure a population of males to go to war with surrounding states (my interpretation) to reassert the Russian Empire. Let's hope he doesn't succeed.
As the American empire starts to crumble...perhaps we will be as smart as the English and the Soviets--who both let their empires go without too much bloodshed. Anybody want to take any bets on that one?