I couldn’t really find exactly where this should go, but here it goes.

I’m sure a bunch of you are aware of Teaching Drum Outdoor School. Well, a part of their philosophy is having no pets. My question is simple, why is that? Didn’t Natives all around the world have pets of some kind?


I'm sure a bunch of you are aware of Teaching Drum Outdoor School. Well, a part of their philosophy is having no pets. My question is simple, why is that? Didn't Natives all around the world have pets of some kind?

I belong to the TDOS Yahoo Discussion Group. You might want to join and ask this question over there. Tamarack or someone else at the school is usually pretty good at responding to questions like this.


A pet is an extra mouth to feed and care for.

I live with a dog,a cat,and some fish.I can say that this would present a variety of problems in a post crash world.Food would be a big one as well as security issues.If I am trying to hide out somewhere and I cant control my dog then that’s a big problem.Also I think my dog would make hunting and trapping alot more difficult,unless I train him which takes a huge amount of time that I don’t have.It sucks but if the shtf the pets will have to go.

I think Tony might have hit on the difference between natives with pets and civilized people with pets. A pet is a stuffed animal. Its there to be cuddled and not an inconvenience. Some people even put their pets to sleep (wonderful euphemism for murder) when they go on travel. Many if not most get their pets fixed (disclaimer: I had my feline roommate broken myself). On the other hand, an animal you share your life with can also be a companion, a friend, a co-worker. A dog that helps guard and hunt and shares the kill is different than a dog that is simply kept. A cat that comes by for scratches and companionship, but keeps rodents from damaging the stores is different than a cat who is kept.

Maybe this is why you don’t have “pets.” You can have allies and even friends. But you wouldn’t be happy being a pet, why would they?

  • Ben

my sister bought me a lovebird for christmas two years ago. since it was a “surprise” i didn’t have much say in it. i feel bad about “keeping” any animal, but i feel worse about keeping a bird than a cat or a dog because there is no way a bird could even get near the quality of life in captivity that it might have had free. my mom also bought a dog 6 years ago, and after he outgrew his cute puppyness, he was handed off to me. on one hand i feel bad about keeping either of my two pets, but now that they’re here with me i can only treat them the best i can while giving them as much freedom as possible. at the same time i know that freedom is something you do or don’t have: a cage is still a cage, no matter how big it is. my relationship with both animals is much closer to friendship than it is a master/servant type of relationship, though there are certain situations where i need to assert my authority for their safety. for instance, i can’t let my dog off his leash all the time because he would undoubtedly get hit by a car or bite a mailman. i’ve thought about letting my bird go, but (seeing as he’s a “lovebird”) he’s bonded with me and wouldn’t fly away if he were able to anyways. domestication has also crippled him in that i doubt he would be able forage for and find his own food and i don’t think he’d be able to deal with the cold weather either.
i’m still actually considering letting my bird decide wether he wants to stay or go because though he has all the things a caged bird requires to be “happy” i can still see that he’d rather be free. after all, he hasn’t been quite as tampered with genetically as my dog and so i think he feels “the call of the wild” (for lack of a better term) much stronger than my dog does.

I can’t answer the OP’s question, but I would guess that bringing pets to Teaching Drum would cause too many difficulties.

About the more general discussion, though, while I would call the animals I live with “pets” for lack of a more convenient term, to me that word implies the exact same relationship I have with my husband (for the most part, anyway) - they are fellow animals that I live in the same house with, and share my life with. They have been domesticated to a certain extent, which sucks, but at the same time dogs and cats (especially dogs) have adapted to living with humans over thousands of years.

I really don’t agree with the genetic deformities that humans have bred into dogs (and still breed for), and the defects that plague “purebreds”, but otherwise I still feel that they have kept their wild nature - which is exactly why so many dogs exhibit neurotic behaviors, trying to live in our modern machine world.

On their own dogs would freely choose to live around humans, eating our scraps - but they wouldn’t have to deal with confinement, leashes, a totally man-made and mechanized environment, constant exposure to strange humans and strange dogs, and stupid domesticated humans who don’t understand the first thing about animals. And they would grow up well-socialized by interacting with their dog pack from the get-go.

My pack-mates constantly teach me things about rewilding, notwithstanding our modern way of life.


In my life, living in the woods and rural areas, the only real serious problems I have had with animals has been with dogs. People who move to the woods and decide to liberate their dogs from the bonds of civilization are setting their ignorant dogs up to get shot.
I can handle wild animals, work around our overlapping territories and come to some resolutions with them. Domesticated dogs with ignorant owners are a pain in the ass.

Heyvictor what would you suggest I do with my dog when I move out of the city and into a rural area.I don’t think I would just let my dog run amok,he probably would not anyway.I don’t want him to get into trouble.

Well I have one neighbor who has a great dog. His dog basically knows where his turf is and where it’s not. His dog is never tied up, yet in 15 years of living near him I have never seen his dog at my place unless the owner was close behind. On the other hand I have another neighbor who moved in last year. They have two dogs that visit my place regularly. They get into all kinds of stuff. Chase our cat, knock over garbage and drag it all over, get into my hides and actually growl and bark at me when I am trying to put things away again. At my own place!!! If I had chickens or some other animals I don’t guess they would be safe from these dogs.

So I guess just help your dog understand about where your turf is and where it’s not. There is protocol to be observed when you are not on your own turf.

Ignorant dogs and their owners remind me of the kind of marauding city dwellers that so many of you are afraid will be out raiding when the SHTF.

I know this guy who used to be the “Animal control” guy around here. One day I was heading out of my driveway when I saw three dogs taking down a yearling deer. Just then the animal control guy pulls up, hops out of his truck and pops the clip into his Ruger 10/22. As the dogs are running away he fires three shots, and kills all three dogs with one shot each. I thought HOLY SHIT! that guy is a bad ass!
He called me later and said that the dogs owners are taking him to court and wanted to know if I would testify that they were killing a deer. As it turned out the case got dropped when it came out that the dogs were 7 miles from home and there had been complaints about them from all over the valley.

I grew up in a fairly rural area right next to a state park. People used to abandon their dogs their all the time after they got tired of them. So much that the dogs would start to form a pack mentality and attack neighboring farms and their livestock. At one point they even went after our pigs. I was only a little thing at the time, but my cousins and I were used to rifles so we shot at one of them (and missed), and it started to come after us. We ran into the house but it kept trying to tear at the door, so we ran around to the other side and eventually shot it from over there.

I don’t really know what my opinions are about pets in a collapse situation. My dog is too hyper to take hunting, and too hyper if I needed to lay low. But he is an excellent companion and protector, and he is treated better than most humans (he’s more like a son to me than a pet). I don’t think providing food would be too much of a problem for us.

Pets are like kids that never grow up. We always know better, and we always get to be the grown up, the nurturer, the savior, the boss, etc. And we are always responsible. I think that sucks. When my current dog dies, I probably won’t have another one. I’d love to have a close relationship with a non human who is independent and autonomous, and I don’t think pets are a good substitute for that.

(Since it might matter: I came to this opinion after being a lifelong dog “owner,” and a dog trainer working primarily with aggression and other behavior “problems” for many years)

Research the “jindo” breed of dog. Ai have a jindo mix and she is soo independant and intellegent. The only command she knows is “come” (or rather, its the only one she obeys most of the time. She has a HUGE vocabulary for a dog), but thats really all she needs to behave most of the time. She loves most humans and all other dogs (exepting a sheep dog who was very agressive twords her). She almost never barks or growls. The jindo primarily was a hunting dog, forming small packs (dogs chosen by “owner”) and taking down large prey, primarily deer. Once the animal was killed, one or two dogs would go back for the human and lead him to the killsite, while the rest guarded the carcass. Because of this, the dog who lives with me is very athletic and she has a strong hunting instinct. Ai think she could take care of herself if we lived in a rural area.

I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and ask that we weigh our theory and rhetoric against real example(s).

In Black Elk Speaks, Black Elk makes mentions a ceremony in which a dog is sacrificed. What does this instance have to do with indigenous thoughts and feelings about pets.

I think the practicalities of having a dog in the wilderness at a place like TD mean only a few, trained, intelligent animals would be a good fit. In general, I’ve heard some anarchists say they are opposed to pet ownership because it includes an inherent sense of domination over the nonhuman animal, and because, as bereal said, they are domesticated – whereas we are trying to un-domesticate ourselves, why would we propagate the domestication of another species?

I can see that line of reasoning, but I think it is flawed. Dog packs are naturally hierarchical in the wild (as are their relatives, the wolves), with the alpha making decisions for the others. That is not a human invention. It just so happens that as humans, most of us are better equipped to act as alphas for our pack than they are, especially in this “civilized” world. But again, as BeReal said, that doesn’t mean we can’t live in partnership with them and have respect for them. As long as we honor their own wisdom and their wild roots, there is no conflict – both dogs and humans gain immensely from the dynamic.

… and made into dog soup.

I found an abandoned feral kitten a few months back and nursed it to health, ultimately deciding to keep it. While I don’t have a root cellar or anything for him to keep pests out of (it’s too bad he can’t fly to deal with the bats in the attic) I have found that having him around has helped a bit in rewilding me. Having him around makes me start to see the world from his perspective, which is a heck of a lot less domesticated than mine.