Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Does a Child's Love for a Pet Change Through Time?

This article appeared on Sept. 4 in The Virginian-Pilot: Colonial-era graves for dogs found in Williamsburg.

"Two Colonial-era graves found on the campus of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg contained dogs, a find that is "unprecedented," archaeologists said Friday.

"The discovery raises questions about who would have valued their animals enough to give them a formal burial, said Joe Jones, director of the college's Center for Archaeological Research.

"No animal graves associated with the European colonists of that period have ever been found."

Diane Tennant reported the graves of the medium sized dogs were discovered on July 13. "The graves dated between the late 1600s and mid-1700s, in the early years of the campus, which was established in 1693...Dog burials are well-established in Native American settlements; near Hopewell in the 1970s and '80s, archaeologists found the skeletons of 112 dogs buried by Indians nearly 1,000 years ago."

She went on to write, "'This was kind of a multi ethnic community,' [Jones] said. 'It makes us wonder if that has anything to do with this surprising discovery of these dog burials. I don't know that we'll ever know. It just makes us all wonder: Who were the people who treated the dogs this way, and buried them this way?'"

This is where the article stopped. I think Jones may be thinking too vague where the reason behind the graves. Just because we haven't discovered other dog graves that old, doesn't mean they didn't exist. My thoughts? Children are children, no matter when they lived. I believe these two graves contained beloved pets and best friends to a couple of small children. The dogs were meant to be working animals, much like Jack and Bandit in the Little House on the Prairie books and series. But how can anyone, even with a working or service dog, spend time with it and not grow attached to the companionship it brings? I think those little graves were ways for heartbroken little children to honor their friends.

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