Book Review: “Men and Their Dogs: A New Understanding of Man’s Best Friend”

A. Matamonasa-Bennett
Christopher Blazina and Lori R. Kogan. (2016). Eds. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland

This volume is co-edited by Chris Blazina whose previous work, “When Man Meets Dog: What a difference a dog makes” (2016), was reviewed in this column last year and Lori Kogan. This fifteen chapter volume represents scholarly literature and research studies which explore the complex intersection of canine-human bond and male gender and social constructions of masculine identity. The critical contextual variables of gender construction, male norms and patters of male socialization are not typically included or closely examined in the HAI literature. This area is a delta, fertile and necessary territory for deepening our understanding of the canine-human bond in the psychological, social and cultural contexts in which these relationships occur. The consideration of male identity and masculinity is essential particularly if we are to accurately assess concepts such as attachment, connection, loss, emotionality and canine-human bonds. This has clinical implications for men’s psychological health and well-being in that relationships with dogs might assist males with developing greater, more substantial relational skill-sets. Relationships with dogs can potentially breakthough the well-worn masculine persona and change rethinking dysfunctional gender roles/norms, healing psychological wounds and increasing the ability to connect and sustain connections (p 1-4).

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