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The place of the dog in the family: a comparative case study of dog adoption

By A. C. Garcia

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This paper explores how perspectives on the appropriate place of the dog in the family shape the practice and experience of dog adoption. This research is based on a comparative case study of a traditional shelter and an independent animal rescue organization. The data were collected through participant observation and interviews with directors and volunteers at these organizations, and with people who adopted dogs through shelter or independent animal rescue organizations. The independent rescue organizations tended to use "dog-centric" discourse to describe the relationship between the dog and its prospective family, while the traditional animal shelter and some adoptive families used "human-centric" discourse. These perspectives were tied to the adoption practices of the organizations and individuals' experiences while adopting a dog. The implications of these findings for the practice of dog adoption are discussed, and suggestions for shelters and animal rescue organizations are presented.

Publication Title Society & Animals
Volume 24
Issue 3
Pages 289-309
ISBN/ISSN 1063-1119
DOI 10.1163/15685306-12341411
Language English
Author Address Department of Sociology and Department of Global Studies, Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adoption
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Behavioral research
  6. Canidae
  7. Canine
  8. Carnivores
  9. Dogs
  10. Mammals
  11. Pets and companion animals
  12. Psychiatry and psychology
  13. Relationships
  14. shelters
  15. Social psychology and social anthropology
  16. vertebrates
  17. Veterinary sciences
  18. welfare
  19. Zoology