- In this article I draw on personal experience to explore the kinds of relationships that can develop between human and nonhuman animals.
- The first part of the article describes my encounters with wild baboons, whom I studied in East Africa over the course of many years. The baboons treated me as a social being, and to gain their trust I had to learn the troop's social conventions and behave in accordance with them. This process gave me a feeling for what it means to be a baboon. Over time, I developed a sense of belonging to their community, and my subjective identity seemed to merge with theirs. This experience expanded my sense of the possible in interspecies relations.
- The second part of the article describes a mutual exploration of such possibilities in my relationship with my dog, Safi. I describe how Safi and I co-create systems of communication and emotional expression that permit deep 'intersubjectivity', despite our very different biological natures.
- In my relationships with baboons, dogs, and other animals, I have encountered the presence in another of something resembling a human 'self'. I emphasize the importance of recognizing and honoring this presence in other animals as well as in humans.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)