Species Of Friendship

"Species of Friendship" is a collage of e-mails that I sent to my academic colleagues, dogland mentors, agility trainers and fellow players, human family, and a motley of friends between 1999 and 2004. The correspondence is part of "Notes of a Sportswriter's Daughter," which I started in honor of my journalist father, in order to explore some of the excitement, intensity, puzzlement, insight, friendship, competitiveness, love, support, and vulnerability that erupt in the worlds of sports-oriented companion species. The posts range from meditations about dog behavior at an off-leash beach to witnessing the pragmatics of comfort shared between my dying mother-in-law and our dogs. These e-mails are an odd hybrid of field notes, letters, and personal journal entries. They also read like love letters to particular dogs—my agility partners, Roland and Cayenne. Other posts from these "Notes" pepper the chapters of this book. E-mail sociality is a lively scholarly topic these days, and perhaps these posts add to the data, if not to the analysis. However, their scholarly value, or lack of it, is not what motivates their placement in When Species Meet. Rather, these posts are traces of the intense beginnings of encounters in dogland, with people and dogs, that have reshaped my heart, mind, and writing. I offer them with trepidation to readers other than those for whom they were first crafted, in the hope that they provoke some of the intensity and puzzlement of being a novice in dogland.

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