Well, that’s a better question. The answer is this: The zebra is one of a few species on two of the four continents that have never been domesticated… and in another respect at least. Most domesticated animals — like dogs and cats — are “bred” for something, whether it be strength, endurance, adaptability, or, yes, loyalty. Some domesticated animals are bred to be docile. There are even bred dogs that would like you to think they don’t want you to think they want to be domesticated. And these breeds would just like to exist. This is an interesting bit of information from our new book, Domestic Animals and Their Masters, written by me and Richard Wrangham.
If our pet dogs and cats could be domesticated, they would become, more than any other animals on our planet, the most valuable pets in human history. The value of domestic animals is that one of the two largest markets in the world is for pets — and that means there is an opportunity for enormous returns for pet owners. In a world without any petting zoos, there’s an opportunity for high-end pet training, with hundreds of thousands of people doing pet sitting for their own pet’s benefit (and, presumably, profit). It means that, in an era of mass extinction, we could still find a way to feed our pets, and take care of them, in a more sustainable way.
There are more than two billion dogs and cats in the US. Each and every one has a job and a purpose, and when one of those jobs gets in the way of having time for someone else’s, or to pursue a romantic interest, this could be a very tough world for a little animal.
But if the owners are willing to work with those duties — perhaps one person working part-time with their pet, or one person working part-time during the week while another does a full-time job, or one person working part-time on the weekends — it could be possible to get our pets to do what they were bred for. If we can teach them to be good dogs and cats, rather than bad ones, and to appreciate being cared for, there are so many potential benefits for them.
So do my dogs and cats get along? Well, so far they’ve seemed fine about each other’s company. My two dogs, Lenny V and Cale, both love going to the park with me. We have a “sit-and
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