About Dogs and Philosophers

June 2, 2016

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”  — Milan Kundera


This is a tribute site devoted to dogs and their wild relatives; it is a quixotic and personal exploration of the science, history and philosophy linking canids and humans. Alas, probably nothing much about potty training them.

Why dogs?

I’m actually interested in animals in general but dogs are one of the handful of species that you can form a bond with easily. At social gatherings and parties, it’s often easier to make friends with the resident canine than with any of your fellow humans.

In my own life there were occasions when dogs were not only my best friends, they were my only friends.

I am not the first to observe: Treat a dog with even minimal kindness and with only the rarest exceptions, they will reciprocate.


The name of the site is taken from a quote from the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, a founder of the philosophy known as Cynicism. The English words Cynic and Cynicism are derived from the Greek word ‘kunikos’, which translates as dog-like.

Over 2000 years later the words, if not the hardcore philosophy, are in widespread usage.

Because Diogenes lived on the streets, begged for food, barked at the pretentious, wealthy and arrogant– and showed a determined fondness for canines himself — he was cast as a dog-like man.


Diogenes and Dog -- Searching for a Wise Man

Diogenes and Dog — Searching for a Wise Man



Cynicism was an intensely skeptical philosophy, hostile to social mores and much human activity; Diogenes himself was noted as irascible and caustic, iconoclastic and contrarian. Plato, often the target of his, contempt and mockery, called him  “a Socrates gone mad.”

Despite any hesitation we might have in joining the Cynics ourselves, any philosophy or philosopher affiliated with the dogs of ancient Athens cannot be all on the wrong side of the tracks.

On a more personal note, I’ve had some great companion dogs in my life and this site is really to honor them.


Panga and Dingo

Panga and Dingo


I acquired Panga and Dingo, sister and brother, as pups in Tucson, Arizona in 1996. They were great companions for hikes and mountain biking all over the Southwest, and later in Northern California. They visited many National Parks on road-trips including Zion, Yellowstone, Arches, the Grand Canyon, and Yosemite. Dingo died at the age of 11 from a cancer; Panga lived to be 19 and half. Losing them was as difficult and sad as losing any close family member.

My current dogs, Laika and Sheila, overlapped partly with the Dingo and Panga years. On several memorable camping trips I had to manage four dogs and on one trip, five. It was a challenge but they seemed to feel the more the merrier.


Laika at Monolith Gardens

Laika at Monolith Gardens 2014


My other dog, Sheila, is about 12 as of June 2016. She has trouble with her hip joints so can’t go on the long walks or hikes anymore. She still enjoys scouting out the terrain for a few blocks a couple of times a day.


Sheila at Zion

Sheila near Zion National Monument — 2006


Now that I’ve introduced my dogs, I want to make it clear that the site is about dogs and canids in general — not about my dogs. Nobody wants to look at pictures of other people’s kids — or dogs — to excess. Or hear about their exploits ad nauseam.