Monday, January 16, 2012

Will Doig on Rising Population of Feral Dogs and Cats in U.S. Cities: Apocalypse Now

There's something approaching the apocalyptic in the story Will Doig tells at Salon last Saturday about the growing population of feral dogs and cats in many American cities (and in cities around the world).  In particular, what the story says about the kind of civilization we're becoming strikes me as well-nigh apocalyptic.

Doig writes,

In depopulating Rust Belt cities, where nature is reclaiming entire swaths of the landscape, packs of dogs and colonies of cats are living in a world that’s nearly their own. New York Times Magazine writer Benoit Denizet-Lewis, who’s writing a book about dogs, spent time with Grim in East St. Louis and describes a world where people are scarce and dogs live wild once again.

And if I were a Richard Adams or a P.D. James, I could spin a convincing tale around these observations and what they tell us about who we now are in many "developed" parts of the world, as economic systems crumble and social bonds disintegrate.

If I had talent to write the novel that's demanding to be written here (and I don't), I'd write it to suggest that the cities now being left to decay as our economies falter might be better off left to the animals.  And, for all the atrocious suffering they now endure living on their own, they might even be better off themselves, these dogs and cats, than living with humans, seeing what we've been capable of doing to the world we imagine God has given into our hands.

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