About Joshua Stephens
You’d be forgiven if you bought Joshua Stephens’s memoir, The Dog Walker: An Anarchist’s Encounters With the Good, the Bad, and the Canine, because it has a dog on the cover, expecting it to be about your favorite animal. It isn’t, though. A dog, these days, is almost never just a dog.
Stephens, who founded a local dog-walking company in 2006, grants passing glances into the extravagant quirks of Washingtonians’ relationships with pets—the pair of lawyers, for instance, who bar mitzvahed their pugs. But Stephens is, more than a lover of dogs, a hater of capitalism. The animals in The Dog Walker are only a catalyst for a more complicated discussion about race, class, and gentrification.
This is a role DC canines have come to occupy regularly of late. Go to an Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting in a gentrifying area—someplace that might once have lacked a suitable playground for the kids to run around on—where a proposed dog park is on the agenda. You’ll quickly realize that the discussion has little to do with animals. If you still doubt the powerful politics of pet care, ask one-term DC mayor Adrian Fenty, whose dog-park ribbon-cutting ceremonies were used by detractors to portray him as out of touch with working-class African-American voters.
From : Washingtonian.com
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