If You Tame Me

Understanding Our Connection with Animals

Leslie Irvine, foreword by Marc Bekoff
Book Cover

PB: $27.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-241-6
Publication: Mar 04

HC: $71.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-240-9
Publication: Mar 04

Ebook: $27.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-791-6

240 pages
6 x 9

Narrowing the gulf between humans and animals

Read the Introduction and an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).


Nearly everyone who cares about them believes that dogs and cats have a sense of self that renders them unique. Traditional science and philosophy declare such notions about our pets to be irrational and anthropomorphic. Animals, they say, have only the crudest form of thought and no sense of self at all. Leslie Irvine's If You Tame Me challenges these entrenched views by demonstrating that our experience of animals and their behavior tells a different story.

Dogs and cats have been significant elements in human history and valued members of our households for centuries. Why do we regard these companions as having distinct personalities and as being irreplaceable? Leslie Irvine looks closely at how people form "connections" with dogs and cats available in adoption shelters and reflects on her own relationships with animals. If You Tame Me makes a persuasive case for the existence of a sense of self in companion animals and calls upon us to reconsider our rights and obligations regarding the non-human creatures in our lives.

Table of Contents

Foreword: To Know Them Is to Be Them – Marc Bekoff
Introduction: The Fox's Wisdom
1 How and Why
2 Them and Us
3 From Pets to Companion Animals
4 Looking at Animals/Glimpses of Selves
5 The Adopters: Making a Match
6 Rethinking the Self: Mead's Myopia
7 Self versus Other: The Core Self
8 Self with Other: Intersubjectivity
Conclusion: Putting Theory into Practice
Appendix: Methods

About the Author(s)

Leslie Irvine is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the author of Codependent Forevermore: The Invention of Self in a Twelve Step Group.

Marc Bekoff is Professor of Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder; his most recent books are: Minding Animals: Awareness, Emotions, and Heart and (co-authored with Jane Goodall) The Ten Trusts: What We Must Do to Care for the Animals We Love.


In the Series

  • Animals, Culture, and Society edited by Arnold Arluke and Clinton R. Sanders

    Animals, Culture, and Society, edited by Arnold Arluke and Clinton R. Sanders, is concerned with probing the complex and contradictory human-animal relationship through the publication of accessible books that consider the place of animals in our culture, our literature, our society, and our homes.