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April 4, 2017

An Anthropologist Studies Rhodesian Ridgebacks

In 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, 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

Comments for An Anthropologist Studies Rhodesian Ridgebacks

  1. Victoria says:

    wonderful pictures of the three of them – and what a testament to doc’s ability to fit in with those two lovable dynamos- i love the pics of him watching and having his behind hiked above his head just to fit on the very end of the couch – and those with zero playing like a puppy are great – you are a good host Will and so are Penny and Zero – here’s to Doc seeing his dad and getting a good nap!

  2. Fran says:

    Great story, I m sure Doc secretly loves these two. After all, they are family. Such a good bunch of pups. Love n hugs n kisses to all 3 pups.

  3. I can’t even pick my favorite picture out of all of these. But the end result is that I’m glad that Doc has figured out his place in the tribe and on the couch. What a good boy he is! I’m sure it wasn’t an easy transition for him. I wish we could all get to see the joy in Doc’s face when your brother comes back!

  4. Emmadog says:

    Poor Doc. Luckily, my two crazy sisters are content with each other and don’t need to include a third party! I bet Doc will be thrilled to go home, but he probably enjoys the two wild ones too.

  5. Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall have nothing over you Doc. Enjoy your last day ‘in the field.’

  6. Doc I love how goofy you are! great photos.

  7. Jan & Rusty says:

    Great pictures!! Doc has persevered with patience and grace. Please take pictures of your brother’s homecoming and reunion with Doc. Then Doc can have that well deserved nap. ❤️

  8. Connie Taylor says:

    Doc may have wondered how this paper he was working on would turn out. Without a doubt, he will write how restless and crazy the youngest member was and just didn’t think much of his antics. But Zero, being himself, quickly won over Doc’s heart and now I can’t wait to read Doc’s research in the “Journal of American Doggie Science” ‼️

  9. Shalini says:

    love them ALL 🙂

  10. Ellen Quilty says:

    Oh Doc you are way too serious.Just think of how much you’ll miss those two helions after you wake up from your week long nap.

  11. coastingnz says:

    Fantastic! They say a photo tells a 1000 words and my gosh these ones really do. Excellent captures – something to treasure forever and will put a huge smile on your brother’s face knowing how Doc totally immersed himself into Ridgeback culture – if just for a while. Love, love, love – thanks for this mornings smile.

  12. Reilly says:

    I love it! You need to write children’s books or something!

  13. Kismet says:

    Doc has been corrupted!

  14. Jo Rhodes says:

    The look on Doc’s face is priceless! O my goodness. He’s rethinking he course of study!
    Hope he had fun even if he would never admit it.
    Whose really in charge when the nuts rule the roost?
    Sending you a rescue plane Doc! Jo, Sam and Dean

  15. Eve Walraven says:

    Poor Doc about the time he is swayed to the dark side he is gonna be headed home! Yes I do believe Doc as earned his rest after spending time with Zero! Loved your photos and story about these 3!! Rest up Doc until you meet with Penny Mayham and her new sidekick Zero!

  16. That tribe is priceless! Doc is a happy doggie with his crazy cousins, but I agree. He will be even happier tomorrow!

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

  17. Francesca says:

    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…

  18. Bob says:

    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.

  19. Liz says:

    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.

  20. Judy Petitto says:

    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.

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