Adam talks with author Mark Derr about the history of dogs in North America. This episode explores the gritty beginning of dogs in the United States. Can we learn about ourselves by examining the history of dogs? Signup for the DIOW Newsletter at dogsinourworld.com.
*Music donated by Dave Elkins.
Mark Derr is the author of a variety of books, ranging from Some Kind of Paradise: A Chronicle of Man and the Land in Florida, Dog's Best Friend, How the Dog Became the Dog, and A Dog's History of America. As an expert on the subject of dogs, he has been featured on such programs as The Charlie Rose Show and Fresh Air. His articles and opinion pieces have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Natural History, Smithsonian and The New York Times. He lives in Miami Beach, Florida.
Mark Derr, long-time Bark contributor and historian of the dog, recently released a new book, How the Dog Became the Dog, in which he examines canine evolution. Derr covers a lot of ground in this work — 135,000 years, to be precise! We talked with him about the dawn of dog, and how our evolutionary pathway coincided with theirs. Claudia Kawczynska: Canines going from fierce predator to “loyal companion” is quite a leap. Can you sketch how and why this might have happened?
History of Pit Bulls The American Pit Bull Terrier originated from the early Bulldogs of Europe that were bred for bull baiting -- dating back to the early Roman as they worshiped Mithras. Bull baiting became a sport to the European lower class to take out their aggression and frustrations. By the 1700s, butchers began using bull baiting dogs to attack the bull while it was tied up to tenderize the meat. In 1835, the public began to cry out about bull baiting, so the British Parliament banned bull baiting and sporting events using dogs. The bull baiting ban did
In an age fraught with terrorism, United States Secret Service canine teams risk their lives to safeguard the president, vice president, their families, visiting heads of state, and a host of others. Unprecedented access to these heroic dog teams has allowed a fascinating first-time-ever look at a very special breed of heroes.Wherever the president goes, there will be dogs. They’ll be there no matter what the country or state. They’ll be there regardless of the political climate, the danger level, the weather, or the hour. “If you let down your guard on the job,” says Special Agent Bill G., canine program manager, “it can change the history of the world.” It’s a burden Secret Service dog handlers take extremely seriously regardless of their specialty. Tactical dog handlers on the White House lawn, handlers whose dogs sniff for explosives around the world, and those who walk their amiable floppy-eared dogs up and down Pennsylvania Avenue all live one common mantra: Not on my watch. Or my dog’s.Secret Service Dogs immerses readers into the heart of this elite world of canine teams who protect first families, popes, and presidential candidates: the selection of dogs and handlers, their year-round training, their missions around the world, and, most important, the bond—the glue that holds the teams together and can mean the difference between finding bombs and terrorists or letting them slip by. “These animals will gladly run into a hail of gunfire,” says 'Stew, a Secret Service ERT tactical canine unit supervisor. “All they ask in return is for their handlers to throw the ball with them, pet them, and talk to them in an embarrassingly high voice.” Secret Service Dogs celebrates the Secret Service’s most unforgettable canine heroes. It is a must-read for fans of Maria Goodavage, anyone who wants a rare inside view of the United States Secret Service, or just loves dogs.
Let me make a confession. I knew very little about Columbus until about twelve years ago, when I began writing my book A People’s History of the United States. I had a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University—that is, I had the proper training of a historian, and what I knew about Columbus was pretty much what I had learned in elementary school.
10 years after Abu Ghraib, no justice for torturers, tortured
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BY BRETT WILKINS MAY 6, 2014 IN WORLD
"You can't spell abuse without Abu," said one US Army medic to another, Sgt. Andrew Duffy, after throwing a seriously injured and handcuffed Iraqi prison to the ground, face-first, upon his arrival at Abu Ghraib.
The majority of abuse at the notorious US torture prison, formerly Saddam Hussein's notorious torture prison, wasn't fatal. But it was even more heinous and brutal than most Americans realize, even those who have seen the photos that are now international symbols of US brutality in the War on Terror and recruiting tools for countless terrorists.
That the dog evolved from the wolf is an accepted fact of evolution and history, but the question of how wolf became dog has remained a mystery, obscured by myth and legend.How the Dog Became the Dog posits that dog was an evolutionary inevitability in the nature of the wolf and its human soul mate. The natural temperament and social structure of humans and wolves are so similar that as soon as they met on the trail they recognized themselves in each other.How the Dog Became the Dog adeptly and engrossingly examines this singular relationship. Combining the most recent scientific research with Mark Derr's original insights, this book shows that dogs made us human just as humans affected the evolution of dogs.
A comprehensive, humane, and bemused tour of the dog-human relationship, Dog's Best Friend combines anecdote, research, and reportage to illuminate our complex rapport with our cherished canine companions. Tracking our national obsession with an animal that now outnumbers children in American households, Mark Derr chronicles the evolution of the culture of the dog from the prehistoric domestication of tamed wolves to the modern horrors of overbreeding and inbreeding.Passionate about his subject and intent on sharing his zeal, Derr defends dogs with wit and flare, producing here a quirky, informative, and fitting tribute to our love affair with canines big and small.
Naturalist Mark Derr says our friendship with dogs and wolves goes back thousands of years more than previously believed. His new book explores how the relationship between humans and wolves developed.
Wherever humans have gone in the New World, dogs have been their companions, from the time people crossed the Bering Land Bridge some twenty thousand years ago.In this revelatory history, Mark Derr looks at the ways in which we have used canines—as sled dogs and sheepdogs, hounds and Seeing Eye dogs, guard dogs, show dogs, and bomb-sniffing dogs—as he tracks changes in American culture and society. In A Dog’s History of America, Derr weaves a remarkable tapestry of heroism, betrayal, tragedy, kindness, abuse, and unique companionship. The result is an enlightening perspective on American history through the eyes of humanity’s best friend
When the Europeans began their invasion of the Americas, they found that the Native Americans, like people throughout the world, had domesticated dogs. At the time of first contact, American Indians had at least 17 different types of dogs.
This is a study of the nature and limitations of prehistoric dog and travois travel on the northern Plains. Indian management and breeding of dogs, including wolf/dog matings, is described. Historical accounts of travois performance limits and of the nature of the Plains dogs are reviewed and found highly dissimilar. To test these accounts, a modern short-haired distance Husky was selected as a reasonable replicate of the extinct Plains dog races and a traditional travois was constructed. Detailed observations on dog and travois travel in various terrains in the Qu'Appelle valley area, Saskatchewan, follow. Wetlands, scrub, and small gullies proved significant travel obstacles. Short course experiments reveal a drag capacity of at least 27.2 kg. Two 4-day long-course journeys with limited weight (11.8-13.6 kg) were undertaken, one in July, a second in September. Maximum progress in a day was 27.0 km. Results suggest that the travois could not be depended upon for summer tribal migrations, owing to heat impairment of dog performance beginning at shade temperatures as low as 8° C. The dog's water intake was recorded, but water availability proved a less critical control on travois travel than heat.