An Anthropologist Studies Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Rhodesian Ridgeback, German Shorthaired Pointer, Marking Our Territory, ChicagoIn Anthropology, an ethnography is the study of a particular culture from the perspective of that group. An intrepid anthropologist embeds herself in the group in order to fully live their daily experience. Generally, the study is the anthropologist’s idea. Other times, the guy the anthropologist lives with decides to go to China for 2.5 weeks and the anthropologist needs a place to crash.  Such was the case with our visit from Dr. Doc, the involuntary ethnographer.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, German Shorthaired Pointer, Marking Our Territory, Chicago

Doc trying to blend in with the natives

The thing about your own culture is that from within, the routines of daily life all seem quite normal.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, German Shorthaired Pointer, Marking Our Territory, Chicago

A forgettable Tuesday

It’s not until you introduce an outside observer that you notice “normal” is a very relative term.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, German Shorthaired Pointer, Marking Our Territory, Chicago

“No matter your definition, Will – these two are not normal.”

Like a good scientist, Doc did his best to maintain his distance and stay objective. He fastidiously avoided Zero, even if it required some contortion to achieve.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, German Shorthaired Pointer, Marking Our Territory, Chicago

It’s tough fitting in

Of course the locals – one in particular-  were not quite so restrained.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, German Shorthaired Pointer, Marking Our Territory, Chicago

“Sorry, Doc. I didn’t know that biting your friends while they’re sleeping is not something everyone appreciates.”

But like many anthropologists, Doc eventually came to more fully participate in the culture he studied.  Despite being ten times the age of the younger subject, Doc showed he can still hold his own.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, German Shorthaired Pointer, Marking Our Territory, Chicago

Celebrating cultural heritage

It took a couple weeks, but Doc has definitely transformed from an uneasy documentarian to a full fledged member of the tribe.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, German Shorthaired Pointer, Marking Our Territory, Chicago

In this culture, couch space is a valuable resource, so to share it is the ultimate sign of acceptance

That said, my brother returns home tomorrow and I have a feeling it may be the happiest Doc’s been to see him since the day he was rescued! Keeping up with these natives is no easy task and Doc has earned himself a long nap, uninterrupted by wandering puppy teeth.  But there’s no doubt Dr. Doc has proven his mettle and will always have a space on our couch.  Enjoy the rest Doc, you’ve earned it!

Rhodesian Ridgeback, German Shorthaired Pointer, Marking Our Territory, Chicago

42 Comments

RR are not for the faint of heart.I enjoy watching them and proud of Doc who was up to the task.They don’t call him Doc for no reason.He is more my speed but I adore the whole trio.

We love your stories on your RR.So glad you have Zero and Penny.Very sad on the loss of your other dog.
We have female who is about to turn 14
She is wonderful.We know that she has myopathy .We take every day as it comes.
Thanks for your great stories.

Great stories, I have seen your family and your adorable pets on YouTube and I’m impressed with all, I too live in the Chicago area and I am asking for advice you see my wife and I are looking to purchase a male RR later this summer and would like to hear from you about this outstanding canine’s characteristics.
Thanks so much for your considerations.

Bob,
If you are willing to travel to Pennsylvania, I know an amazing person and breeder for RR. We have a male named Aza. No other dog/protector/friend like Ridgebacks. I have had two. Both males. You have to be willing to run…really run them and let them get physical/active or else you will crush their spirit. Feel free to email me for specifics.

Will, seeing your posts makes me miss my Pino every day. Absolutely love Zero and of course Penny. Once I’m over my grief, I’ll look for another Rhodie (female this next time – just adore Penny).

So glad all is well with you and yours…

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