By Laura Hobgood-Oster
Baylor University Press, $29.95, 188 pages
To your typical dog lover, dogs are much more than pets; they may be members of the family, best friends, even ‘babies.’ With every new discovery about early wolf-dogs, civilians and dog lovers alike are becoming more and more curious about dogs’ early days and their role in human history.
In A Dog’s History of the World: Canines and the Domestication of Humans, Dr. Laura Hobgood-Oster, an Environmental Studies professor at Southwestern University in Texas, teaches her readers about dog history and how they have helped make humans human. By using religious, historical, archaeological, and anecdotal evidence, Dr. Hobgood-Oster navigates through dogs’ murky early beginnings to our modern day pets, beginning with how and when wolves became dogs. The book progresses to discuss the roles of wolf-dogs as early hunters, healers and herders, and how they have been prominent religious and political figures.
A Dog’s History of the World is important because it reveals the simple but overlooked fact that humans, and the world as we know it, would not exist without the unique and intimate relationship that humans and dogs have shared for thousands of years. This book is great for dog lovers, especially if they are also history buffs. A Dog’s History of the World is a significant tail about the world’s most beloved animal, and how they came to earn their spot as [hu]man’s best friend.
Reviewed by Kristin Urban