Humans and Their Animals

All writers in this collection speak for themselves—and themselves alone.


Bad Dog

Writer Rachel Maizes recounts life with Chance, her often aggressive, mixed breed dog.

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Beware the Beagle

Emily Yoffe, Slate's "Dear Prudie" and a reformed beagle owner, explains why these headstrong little monsters might not be the best choice for a first-time dog owner.

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A Box of Puppies

Lena Dunham, creator and star of the HBO series Girls, chronicles the dogs that she has pursued.

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Crazy Cat Ladies

Kiri Blakeley, a contributor to Forbes magazine, defines the modern cat lady by exploring the connection women (and some men) have with cats.

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Deep Intellect

Naturalist Sy Montgomery gets in the mind of an octopus and is amazed not only at what she finds but also at the existing research on these intelligent creatures.

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Even the Gorillas and Bears in Our Zoos Are Hooked on Prozac

Author Laurel Braitman explains that zoo veterinarians often treat problem animal behavior with the same drugs used in human mental health care.

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Four-Legged Reason to Keep It Together

Timothy Braun, a writer and teacher, describes how his life changed after rescuing Dusty, a shelter dog on death row.

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How Hurricane Katrina Turned Pets into People

Author David Grimm explains how one natural disaster changed the status of American pets and the way we care for them.

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How I Fell for Cats

Candy Crowley, a CNN reporter and devoted dog person, explains how two cats changed her opinion of felines.

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How I Found Love and Companionship Online

Match.com and PetFinder.org want to help people find their perfect companion. Susan Hogan, a writer and teacher, describes her experiences using these two websites.

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I'm a Cat Lady? Thank You

Stephanie Butnik, writing for the New York Times, tries to dispel the myth that cat people are crazy by defining the "new" cat owner.

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The Modern Kennel Conundrum

Jon Mooallem, a writer for the New York Times, investigates the "designer" dog fad which has created Labradoodles and puggles.

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No, I Do Not Want to Pet Your Dog

Farhad Manjoo, a technology columnist, argues that people deserve some dog-free zones.

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Old Dog Needs $6,000 Surgery. What Do You Do?

Writer Writer Roz Warren recounts the family's decision to have expensive gall bladder surgery on a beloved 13-year-old dog.

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Pets Allowed: Why Are So Many Animals Now in Places Where They Shouldn’t Be?

Writing for the New Yorker, Patricia Marx explains how someone can take a pet anywhere because most people don't understand the difference between an "emotional support animal," which is a pet, and a bona-fide service animal, which is a highly-trained professional with a distinct skill set.

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Should a Chimp Be Able to Sue Its Owner?

What can an animal do if its owner neglects and/or abuses it? Charles Siebert, contributing writer to the New York Times Sunday Magazine, addresses that question as animal rights continue to evolve.

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The Three Manager Dog Breeds

Writer Elain Wherry compares the styles of bosses with the behaviors of common canines.

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Why Do Some Zoos Euthanize Healthy Animals?

When is it okay to put down a zoo animal? European and US zoos want their animals to have different experiences, which means that healthy animals sometimes die at the zookeeper's hands. Writing for Mother Nature Network, Laura Moss explains the differences in zoo philosophies.

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Wild Obsession: The Perilous Attraction of Owning Exotic Pets

Lauren Slater of National Geographic details the problems that exotic pets have caused their owners.

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Winter Animals

Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau describes the animals that he encounters during his two-year-long experiment of living a simple life in nature.

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Yes, Animals Were Harmed: 21 Films and TV Shows That Killed or Hurt Animals

The staff of the AV Club list twenty-one examples of filmed entertainment (from the early twentieth century to the present) in which animals accidentally or intentionally came to harm.

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