Companion Species



This blog aims to discuss Donna Haraway’s notion of ‘companion species’ as mentioned in her book, The Companion Species Manifesto: dogs, people, and Significant Otherness. Haraway’s notion of ‘companion species’ refers to all species that has affected humans in any way. The idea is also to look at how these species are linked to humans historically on a social, biological and behavioural level. The exploration of this subject matter will take the form of a photo essay in which the stories and personal narratives of the relations between pets and humans will be documented.

Haraway refers to her writings as a “kinship claim” (Haraway 2007:8-9). The Companion Species Manifesto is thus communicating the fact that there is a certain type of bond, relationship and connection between the human and its companion species. Haraway mentions the constitutive, historical and ever-changing relationship that dogs share with humans throughout the years (Haraway 2007:12). During the nineteenth-century dogs were seen as more important than horses in some instances as they were kept as pets, warriors mourned their deaths and some dogs were even buried like humans according to Haraway (2007:13-14). These events can thus be drawn back to the existence of ‘kinship’ between humans and dogs since years ago.

This is a ‘selfie’ taken by myself with my companion a Pug named, Dash. We welcomed Dash into our family around 12 years ago thus he formed a huge part of my childhood and as I got older. We shared a very strong bond and were mostly described as being inseparable. He had a very social personality as he was very talkative and he was very opportunistic as he would be present wherever food would be presented amongst the humans, in the hope that he would get lucky.  Dash also shared a relatively close pet-human relation with my mother, but sadly Dash passed away end of last year due to organ failure.



The photograph was taken by Anike Beeslaar, the owner of this kitten named, Snow. She admits to the irony in the name as he is a black cat and calls him, Snow. Beeslaar mentions that they rescued Snow when he was only three weeks old after he was abandoned by his mother. He is just under a year now. She describes him as playful, naughty and very smart. She also mentions some funny characteristics such as Snow makes funny noises when he wants attention, he is fond of feet and he waits for her at the door when she returns home. Beeslaar says ” Sometimes I want to kill him, but mostly I can’t imagine life without him”.


This humorous ‘selfie’ was taken by Samantha Lomas, the owner of this Maltese Poodle known as Jimmy. Lomas rescued Jimmy after losing her first dog she had since childhood. Jimmy was approximately nine years old when he was rescued and she and her family had him for three years years before he passed away. His nickname was Shadow, because he would follow Lomas everywhere and he did not allow anyone else to pick him up. Lomas mentioned that they shared a miracle bond and says “Having a bond so unexplainable with a pet like that makes saying goodbye that much harder”. 


A photograph by Kate Hirst capturing two of her pet companions of which the one is known as, Bushy. This Maltese Poodle’s name is short for Babushka, and she is named after the character in the Russian Christmas story. Bushy is nearly sixteen years of age which means that she can’t hear very well at all and only responds if they call her name out loud with a very high pitched voice, which guests and visitors find very amusing. Bushy loves to eat and spends much of her day polishing the kitchen floor with her tongue according to Hirst. Hirst says “Bushy is old and quirky and sometimes she smells but she’s a special little dog an we love her very much”. 

Closing thoughts 

Donna Haraway’s notion of ‘companion species’ has been discussed and the notion of kinship between humans and their companion species such as, dogs. This notion is strengthened by the use of personal narratives of relations between pets and humans thus proofing that, dogs are truly man’s best friend.

Sources Consulted

Haraway, D. 2007. The Companion Species Manifesto: dogs, people, and significant otherness. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.

Shelton, D. 2001. Pioneer pets: the dogs of Territorial Tucson: a photo essay. The Journal of Arizona History 42(4):445-472.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s