• “Feminist Evolutionary Theory and Its Ethical Implications for Human and Non-Human Animals” – Amy Brown (PhD Student, Religion and Nature University of Florida)
In recent years, feminist evolutionary theorists have challenged many of the patriarchal assumptions that have flourished in evolutionary studies since Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. In my paper, I will argue that feminist evolutionary theorists like Sarah Blaffer Hrdy and Joan Roughgarden offer a challenge to 3 common issues that are significant for both feminist and animal studies. First, they challenge the idea of human exceptionalism based on reason and reveal the similarities between humans and other species. Second, they question essentialisms based on species or gender. Lastly, they challenge ethical systems that have promoted masculinity, individualism, competition and rationality and denigrated or diminished the feminine-associated care, cooperation, relationality, and respect for difference.
Despite warnings about the dangers of the naturalistic fallacy (conflating “is” with “ought”) ethics and ideas about human evolution have long existed in a mutually reinforcing relationship. In other words, those characteristics that are valued by society are often those listed as essential to the development of humans as a unique species, which in turn causes the society to prize those characteristics even more. Darwin’s theory of evolution emerged out of a society that prized individualism and rationality. It seems that it is no coincidence, then, that Darwin and his predecessors believed rationality was essential to the evolution of Homo sapiens. Of course, rationality was considered primarily a masculine attribute, and man the hunter was considered the prime driver of evolution. Rationality was an essential trait for hunting large prey and competition between males for mates strengthened the species. Natural and sexual selection theory worked to confirm Enlightenment values and was used to justify subordination of women, as they were essentially different and inferior to men.
Many feminist scholars have critiqued Western Enlightenment thinking and have argued that it has led to subjugation of women and animals, as both are thought to be too controlled by instinct, the body, and emotion. Because traditional studies in evolution seem to confirm the negative characteristics of Enlightenment thought, some feminists have rejected evolutionary science as fundamentally flawed as it seems to lead to gender essentialism (especially notions of sex selection) and continued human exceptionalism.
Instead of rejecting evolutionary science, however, Sarah Hrdy, Joan Roughgarden, Patricia Gowaty, among others, have engaged in primatology and animal behavior studies in order to prove that the prevailing vision of evolution and previous science studies have been flawed, not the discipline itself. Sarah Hrdy especially has been instrumental in challenging notions that competition between males drove evolution, that human rationality is what distinguishes humans from the apes, and that males and females are fundamentally different. She also has made significant contributions in discussions of motherhood, and she uses her research to argue that women are not naturally nurturing, but are biologically prepped during pregnancy and especially nursing to provide for an infants’ many needs. She is strictly non-essentialist, however, arguing that a woman’s biological drive to nurture her infant is highly contingent on that woman’s context.
In Hrdy’s most recent book, Mothers and Others, she argues that instead of competition and individuality being the defining characteristics of human nature, relationality and cooperation have been essential to the success of humans as a species. She argues that cooperative parenting is what separates humans from the rest of the great apes, but is similar in many respects to other primate species. Hrdy’s primatology research also demonstrates that it is not possible to determine animal behavior based only on gender and species, but a researcher must also take into account an individual’s social and environmental context.
Similar to Hrdy’s challenges to evolutionary science, Joan Roughgarden’s work brings to the forefront issues of gender, sexuality, and diversity. Like Hrdy, she argues that research on animal behavior challenges not only the masculinist bias in previous evolutionary studies but also the heterosexist bias. She gathers copious amounts of evidence to level an attack against the theory of sexual selection, which she explains has been instrumental in perpetuating gender essentialisms. Roughgarden hopes to challenge the notion that diversity in nature is bad for a species’ evolution, which she believes will lead to better status for so-called aberrant sexuality or gender identity.
These advances by Roughgarden and Hrdy, among others, not only offer important revisions to evolutionary theory, but can help advance a new ethical framework that can apply to relationships between animals, both human and non-human.
• “The Microscopic Gaze in Popular Nineteenth-Century Entomology: L.M. Budgen’s Episodes of Insect Life” – Adam Dodd (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo)
A considerable body of feminist work has mounted a sustained critique of the ‘male gaze’ mobilized by various visioning technologies, especially cinema (Mulvey 1975). A less explored manifestation of the gaze gendered male is that of microscopy. From its earliest inception in the early seventeenth century, tropes of ‘penetrating Nature’s secrets’ and ‘exploring her hidden depths’ abound in the discourse of microscopy, which was initiated, oriented and for some time dominated by male practitioners. The erotic and even pornographic dimensions of early modern microscopy have been discussed by Mary Baine Campbell (1999), and in particular, the fetishization of detail and its association with the real. Yet this line of inquiry remains comparatively undeveloped, especially in relation to the emergence of female authors of natural history, buoyed by the microscope, that occurs in the nineteenth century.
Similarly, little work has examined how the gendered gaze of the microscope contributes to the formation of microscopic subjects. If, as Cary Wolfe has observed, “there is no longer any good reason to take it for granted that the theoretical, ethical, and political question of the subject is automatically coterminous with the species distinction between Homo sapiens and everything else” (2003, 1), then we should begin to think about nonhuman subjectivity in its broadest possible dimensions, including the full spectrum of subvisible animals.
Some central questions of this paper, then, are as follows. How did women writers negotiate gender in their use of the microscope, and in their writings about its ‘revelations,’ during the nineteenth century? Is there a sense in which the unprecedented claims to objective visual truth facilitated by the microscope negate any notions that the knowledge it produces is, in any real way, ‘gendered’? Can we, or should we, consider the authorial voices of nineteenth-century female writers of natural history as somehow more compassionate with their subjects than those of their male counterparts? Or is there a sense in which the Nature that came into being, through the microscope, inspired an alteration of the observer’s gender that does not conform to a binary framework? In short, can we observe the seeds of a ‘posthumanism’ in popular nineteenth-century entomology?
In this paper I discuss a contemporaneously popular, but now mostly forgotten book, L.M. Budgen’s illustrated, three-volume, Episodes of Insect Life (1849-51). It exemplifies not only a re-gendering but a trans-species shift in authorship effected by a deep engagement with microscopy and the ‘world’ it makes visible. For the increasingly industrialized society of nineteenth-century England, a view of the insect world as one consistent with contemporary imaginings of fairy land – a miniature, nostalgic realm, embedded in nature, imbued with pseudo-spiritual qualities and devoid of technology – was highly appealing, and indeed the clichéd ‘femininity’ and the fairy has only been amplified in popular culture since the nineteenth century. While acknowledging the clearly gendered binaries at work in arrangements such as ‘technology versus nature’ that are often utilized in order to articulate the many fundamental social and cultural shifts that occurred during the nineteenth century, I am more interested in texts such as Budgen’s which readily take up technology (the microscope) in order to deepen and elaborate not only understandings of nature, but one’s experience of embedment within in. That books such as Budgen’s – immensely popular with adults and children of both sexes – were even produced, let alone well-received during this period, suggests a more complex interaction of human and nonhuman subjects than has hitherto been recognized in most writing on nineteenth-century microscopy and entomology.
• “Tracking Gender in Animal Studies” – Susan Fraiman (Professor of English, University of Virginia)
This paper is a metacritical inquiry into precisely the question taken up by this conference: How are gender identities, codes, and politics manifest in the area of animal studies emergent in the last several decades? How is this body of work, defined by its attention to species, nevertheless saturated with notions about masculinity, femininity, and feminism—even (or especially) when not explicitly engaged with these categories?
To pursue these questions, “Tracking Gender in Animal Studies” begins with Derrida’s well-known cat anecdote in “The Animal that Therefore I Am (More to Follow)”: naked in his bathroom, stared at by his cat, the philosopher finds himself unnerved and ashamed. While Derrida’s essay would recognize animal subjectivity—and fault the Western philosophical tradition for its failure to do so—his shame actually preempts a closer encounter with the particular animal before him. I contrast this story with a more tactile one by primatologist Barbara Smuts, in which Damien the baboon gently examines each of her fingernails. Relaxed, wondering, open to animal overtures and meanings, Smuts models an affective response very different from Derrida’s impulse to shield himself. Needless to say, my point is not that Derrida’s relation to animals is inherently, inflexibly “male” or even necessarily less feminist than Smuts’s. (For those of us in the humanities, his deconstructive view of gender easily trumps her evolutionary one.) Rather, I offer the examples of Derrida’s anxious man and Smuts’s interactive woman as tropes for differences between “masculine” and “feminine” approaches to animals often, but not always, aligned with male and female morphology.
My next section, “Real Men Don’t Like Animals,” calls on ecofeminism circa 1990 to bare the gender logic implicit in Cary Wolfe’s Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (2003). Building on Josephine Donovan’s discussion of Peter Singer and Tom Regan, I take Wolfe to task for his oft-reiterated claim that contesting speciesism “has nothing to do with whether you like animals” (Rites, 7; italics in the original). Notwithstanding his important contributions to animal studies, I argue that Wolfe (like Singer and Regan before him) remains concerned to frame his project as credible because properly “masculine.” My reading explores Wolfe’s various strategies for aligning himself with “serious,” “rational,” “philosophical” inquiry—untainted by the feminizing emotionality seen to drive both animal activism and “flavor-of-the-month” subfields such as gender studies. Chief among these strategies is the downplaying of ecofeminist precedents in favor of higher-status poststructuralist ones: after briefly citing Carol Adams on the sexual politics of meat, Wolfe quickly defers to Derrida’s far less elaborated notion of “carnophallogocentrism.”
My paper closes with two more animal tales, this time by Carol Adams and Donna Haraway. Not coincidentally, both anecdotes tie their work on animals to the generative political milieu of the second-wave women’s movement. Following an overview of Adams’s path-breaking theoretical writings, I consider the story of how her well-honed feminist analysis came to include vegetarianism. One day in 1973 her beloved pony is murdered—later that night, the hamburger she is eating suddenly seems no different from the horse she is mourning. Interestingly, Adams’s initial shame and subsequent empathy would appear to ally her with both Derrida and Smuts. On the other hand, she differs sharply from Wolfe in claiming not only the emotional basis for her animal scholarship but also its origins in and inextricability from feminist activism and theory.
Haraway, too, ends a recent book with a story linking her passionate work on animals to feminist practices and debates originating some forty years ago. In this rather different tale of feminist eating, Haraway recalls a lively dinner with Santa Cruz colleagues attempting to sort out their various views on the ritual consumption of a human placenta (When Species Meet, 293-94). Haraway and Adams differ on a number of issues, not least in their views on the ethics of meat consumption. While for Adams nobody should be considered meat, one lesson to be drawn from Haraway’s story is that we are all somebody’s “meat,” even before we are food for worms; as she elaborates elsewhere, regardless of whether we are pregnant or carnivorous, our bodies contain multitudes. Another lesson, of course, is the value of recognizing feminism’s past and present contributions to contemporary animal studies, while also acknowledging the divergent forms these are likely to take.
• “Linnaeus Homo sapiens and Categorizations of Otherness” – Monica Libell, Professor, Lund University and Visiting Scholar, History of Science and Technology, UC-Berkeley)
Much investigation into norm and otherness has been locked into a relentless essentialist and binary structure. Whereas such a polarization captures valid overarching structural features, the approach may obscure a more multifaceted complexity. By exploring Linnaeus concept of Homo sapiens, I will in my paper, explore some of these underlying relationships between essences and categorizations. Linnaeus metaphysical and biological taxonomical synthesis, that lent him the label ‘the second Adam’, tied together a Christian universe with a modern scientific man-made world. Notwithstanding his Christian conviction in man as constituting the apex of creation, his conceptual reorganization of the natural world exposed man’s inherent and dialectical relationship with otherness. His taxonomy, situated in the borderland between symbol and physicality, strived for a direct link between essentialism and naming, yet faced daunting challenges when choosing criteria for separation and categorization. Against this backdrop, I will investigate the dynamics of boundary making in Linnaeus taxonomical work, how limits of inclusion and exclusion were negotiated, how boundaries were created, reproduced, and challenged and how essences – often ambiguous and arbitrary – were related to each other. Linnaeus creative ways of defining man, woman, (animal) species and plants in the scheme showcase a narrative in which identity simultaneously includes ‘sameness’ as well as ‘differing,’ Furthermore, instead of a binary relationship, his scheme allows for ternary (or more) relationships, in which two or more may assume equal definitional status.
In exploring Linnaeus questions, challenges, and decisions, we gain an important historical understanding of the foundations of Western categorizations. With his taxonomical project Linnaeus faced similar issues that scholars today are confronted with in scrutinizing established categories and recasting identities. In exploring his problems, we uncover questions that keep their relevance in today’s debate on meanings of essence and identity.
• “Transforming Animal: Stalking Cat, Lizardman, and the Limits of Humanity” – Kestryl C. Lowrey, (Performance Studies, New York University)
Dennis Avner is becoming a tiger. He began his trans-species journey in 1980, adopting the name ‘Stalking Cat’ and initiating a process of intensive corporeal modification. Now, bold tattooed stripes of black and orange crisscross his flesh in the pattern characteristic of the big cat. The tips of his ears have been reshaped, and silicone implantations in his nose, brow, cheeks, chin and lips transform his face towards a decidedly feline trajectory. He has bifurcated his upper lip and replaced all of his teeth with fangs to give himself a tigerish smile. When he goes out, Stalking Cat attaches long whisker-like extensions to eighteen piercings in his cheeks and upper lip, further felinizing his facial appearance. Someday he hopes to have a tail attached, but current technologies for body modification are too limited for this aspect of his transformation. In his literal becoming-tiger, Stalking Cat inspires a tangle of debates of bioethics and the limits of humanity.
Invoking a more reptilian approach, Lizardman (a.k.a Erik Sprague) has spent the past 14 years becoming-lizard. In some ways, his transformation is less decidedly animal than Stalking Cat’s; while the green scales tattooed all over his body and his bifurcated tongue seem reminiscent of an iguana, they are accompanied by other tattoos unconnected to the reptilian theme. Teflon implants above his eyes form the bony ridges characteristic of some lizard faces, modifying but not overriding his otherwise human facial features. Lizardman riffs on reptiles, seeming more committed to distancing himself from “human” than totally physicalizing “lizard.”
Both Stalking Cat and Lizardman raise questions about humanity and animal becoming: what are the limits of humanity and human flesh? At what point does flesh stop being human and start becoming animal? Stalking Cat and Lizardman’s transformative projects are prolonged forms of endurance performance, stretching and reshaping their flesh to put pressure on the meanings attached to it. Engaging in a continual, embodied performance of becoming-animal, Stalking Cat and Lizardman’s metamorphoses can help us think through the differences between humanity and being human. The quotidian interactions that constitute the majority of their respective projects—becoming-animal within twenty-first century American society—raise broader questions of animality, ethics, becoming, and belonging.
These two artists offer a critical intervention to tilt current discourses in animal studies, as well as an important new consideration for the emerging discipline of trans studies. Other scholars have already gestured towards the necessity of broadening “trans-“ beyond gender; Susan Stryker proposes that we rethink “trans-“ as “an improvisational, creative, and essentially poetic practice through which radically new possibilities for being in the world can start to emerge.” Lizardman and Stalking Cat are heading in that direction. Their projects offer a form of trans- corporeality that involves more than gender; instead of changing sex, they’re changing species. Stalking Cat and Lizardman literally reshape their bodies in efforts to become-animal, proposing a new angle for considering Deleuze & Guattari’s “becoming-animal,” as well as complicating Donna Haraway’s explorations of the ethics and obligations of “becoming with” in human/animal relationality.
This essay thinks with Stalking Cat, Lizardman, Deleuze & Guattari, and Haraway to excavate questions of human/animal alterity and the ethics of belonging and becoming. It asks, is humanity rooted in human flesh, and is it irreducible? What is it about physical animality that hails a presumptive human? Do these material transformations refuse responsibility to animals, denying and reducing their Otherness? To whom does animality “belong”? What happens when “humans” appropriate and colonize “animal”? Are these fleshly transformations ultimately quests of masculine heroism? Can Lizardman and Stalking Cat’s life-long performances escape these colonial implications and propose new subjectivities as significant Others to the dichotomy of human- and non-human-animals? These literal and fleshy performances of becoming-animal complicate concepts of humanity and alterity. Stalking Cat and Lizardman explode the category of “human” by endeavoring to escape it, proposing embodiments of a queerly trans-human animality.
• “Seducing Spiders” – Eleanor Morgan (PhD student, Slade School of Fine Art, University College London)
I have been attempting to serenade the female garden spider. Around my neck I have attached a choker made from spiders’ silk with a thin strand connected in the middle, just touching my voice box. I attach the other end of this silk to the spider’s web. I then hum and sing, so that the vibrations are transmitted along the silk to the web, and to the spider sitting in the centre. Sometimes she does nothing; she simply sits motionless in the middle of her web. Sometimes she tenses up her legs, plucking at the web to find the origin of the vibrations. But most terrifyingly (for me) she sometimes darts towards the thread of silk by which I am connected and grabs it, slowly walking towards my throat as I sing.
In this paper I will explore contemporary theories of material feminism through my attempt to seduce spiders. I will base my discussion in my art practice of working with spiders and spiders’ silk to examine how eye contact and vibratory connection with a spider contributes to our understanding of ‘companion species’ as an entanglement of fears, enchantments, bodies and technologies. How might these ‘sticky attachments’ offer the possibility of other existences, other ways of being and relating? I believe that the subject of spiders and their ‘sticky attachments’ offers particularly relevant research strands for material feminism and animal studies. A spider produces silk from its abdomen, expanding its sensory capacities and constantly connecting it to the external world. In this sense there is no clear divide between its body and the material it produces; the living and the inert are enmeshed. In addition, spiders are considered both enchanting and fearful creatures. In myths such as the Greek tale of Arachne and the West African trickster figure Ananse, they are the animals from which weaving and storytelling stem. Yet fear of spiders is one of the most commonly reported phobias in the West. The combination of the terrifying with the seductive has particular relevance for both our relation to animals, and the female body. The female spider’s tendency to eat the male during or after copulation has been used to symbolise the deadly, heartless woman who traps men with her feminine wiles, and then devours them. Underlying my paper, therefore, is the question of how my spider encounter is ‘sexed’ – we are both female, but in what sense? What is the understanding of ‘female’ within this cross-species seduction?
My discussion will be divided into two related methods of seduction: looking and vibrations. In the first I will discuss the dizzying effect of trying to make eye contact with an eight-eyed creature, and the ‘glance’ of the spider and its web. I will examine the history of the use of spiders’ silk in the cross hairs of optical instruments, and how this ‘trace’ of the animal has implications for both technologies of seeing and psychoanalytic theories of the unconscious.
In the second section I will discuss vibratory connections and my attempt to create a duet with the spider. In my spider serenade I am mimicking the action of the male spider, which plucks at the web of the female. In response, the female may allow him to mate with her, or she may cut the thread he is playing and leave him hanging, or she may eat him. But I am not a male spider, and cross-species seduction is a different game – of different desires and different bodies. As the philosopher Christine Battersby argues, the game of seduction is a ‘jostling of actual and potential identities’i that form existence and which may alter with every repeated encounter. If cross-species seduction is possible, what form does it take and how might it use and transform the materials involved?
• “Animal-based Prosthetics and Femininity” – Anna Rabinowicz (Associate Professor, Product Design, Parsons The New School for Design)
Analysis of the locomotion of extremely efficient animals, studies of neural stimulation amongst amputees, and recent breakthroughs in tissue engineering have resulted in radical advancement in the field of human prosthetics. These extraordinarily powerful prosthetics have the ability to entirely alter the identity of the wearer, and strongly impact the perception of gender. Based on the nuances of self-identification and functional necessity, wearers have the ability to become the modular human beings, swapping on and off limbs as they so desire. Aimee Mullins, Paralympics athlete, is a classic example of this transformative ability; she has over a dozen pairs of prosthetic legs, and claims that they each lend her something unique, including speed, beauty, and height; one pair of her legs makes her six inches taller than she would have been, had her legs developed from birth.
In turn, the metaphoric notion of “prosthetic feminism” elevates this area into a philosophical discourse on the way that biotechnology has an increasing ability to construct our bodies. Donna Haraway’s cyborg, a body comprised of organic and technological components suggests a hazier gradient of feminine identity. She breaks down the perception of body and machine as separate entities, and suggests similar border dissolution between other conventional opposites as nature / culture, and xontrol / helplessness. In this scenario, the body does not need to wear a manufactured prosthetic; each of us is naturally a cyborg because of the seamless integration between people and technology.
Bio studies of animal locomotion, such as those of the cheetah, the world’s fastest land mammal, are driving the creation of prosthetic limbs that enhance human function beyond natural abilities. These kind of powerful mechanical innovations have the power to change social norms and beliefs. Imbuing humans with the power of non‐human mechanics is facilitating a paradigm shift in the way in which we view the disabled, by changing the perception of amputees from those that are “limited” to those that are “enhanced.” From a philosophical perspective, prosthetics (whether actual or perceived) become a symbol of liberation, setting the female wearer free from traditional social norms, and suggesting new categories of being.
The future of this field is in the creation of bio‐hybrid limbs, which offer humans the most promising aspects of the animal and mechanical worlds. Such bio‐hybrid limbs use biological principles to create animal‐derived muscle tissue for prosthetics. These prosthetics dictate the mechanical response of the muscle through artificial electronic stimulation, which feeds directly into the amputee’s neural system. These kinds of neural‐based prosthetics challenge traditional notions of what is “human” and what is “natural.” This work completes the loop between artificial and natural components, creating truly “blended” creatures. One could argue that advancing technologies are providing the stimulation necessary for all creatures, disabled or not, to become “blended” and to shed expected notions of identity, especially as pertains to gender. In fact, merging human bodies with non‐gender‐specific, animal‐inspired prosthetics, suggests the creation of an entirely new category of beings.
This kind of development raises critical moral questions. In the way of any system which has been tampered with, selecting parts of non‐human biological systems to apply to humans involves unintended mechanical and social ramifications. Researchers and designers do not often think of the cultural storm that will build around their creations; they focus on the mechanical, leaving culture to the philosophers. Increased conjoining of the mechanical and theoretical worlds has the potential to heighten understanding of the powerful effects of our built, bio‐inspired creations.
• “Kin, Kind, and Kindness in Encounters among Humans, “Dangerous” Dogs, and Dogs in Danger” – Harlan Weaver, (Ph.D. Student, History of Consciousness, UC-Santa Cruz)
This paper examines how human and non-human animal encounters in the realms of “dangerous” dogs, dogfighting, and dog rescue, shape how each experiences “kind” (demarcations of species, sex/gender, race, and breed). Beginning with the problem of the “pit bull,” I explore how various forms of Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL –laws passed in specific states, counties, provinces, and countries that mandate restrictions and even euthanasia of “dangerous” dogs, most often “pit bull”-type dogs— produce the very “kind” of being they regulate. Because the “pit bull” is not a breed per se, BSL mirrors processes of human racialization by foregrounding phenotype over function, grouping contested breeds of dog into a category rooted in a vague phenotype, and asserting that animals read into this category are inherently dangerous. Resonant with what Angela Davis terms “racialized assumptions of criminality,” these practices reveal how BSL echoes legal precedents of racialization in the United States.
Turning to the 2007 conviction of NFL quarterback Michael Vick on dogfighting charges, I explore how the transformation of “dangerous” dogs into dogs in danger intersects with processes of human racialization. Media representations of the Vick dogs as victims (even “Vick-tims”), coupled with images of an angry public lynching Vick in effigy, help me get at how race happens through dogfighting cultures. Indeed, Vick’s change from highly paid NFL quarterback, historically a position occupied by white men, into convicted criminal, illustrates how practices of dogfighting, made public, alter how humans experience race, class, and gender. Connections between African-American masculinities and dogfighting are amplified by the 2004 documentary on “pit bulls” and dogfighting, Off the Chain (Bobby J. Brown), in which a constant trope expressed by the film’s aspiring and serious “dog men,” all men of color, is “the love of the dog.” The role of responsibility and even kindness in this love demonstrates how violent intimacies figure in the processes of racialization –both canine and human – involved in dogfighting cultures.
Love and responsibility also play a prominent role in the narratives of the groups that rescued the Vick dogs. Importantly, the dynamic between the largely white rescue groups and the dogs echoes Gayatri Spivak’s reading of British colonial discourses regarding gender and race in the practice of the burning of the sati. I transpose her formulation: “white people saving brown dogs from brown men.” However, the Vick dogs’ experience of race is transformed by class and nation in these rescue encounters, apparent in tropes central to the rescuers’ descriptions of the rehabilitated dogs, which emphasize the dogs’ happiness, their role as family members, and their need to be understood as individuals. These rescue experiences recuperate the dogs into the language of neoliberal citizenship, pushing me to examine how the Vick dogs are “whitened” by the practices of love that are their salvation. The recuperation of the dogs into families bring together kin and kind through practices of kindness, and I conclude by thinking through the way love imbricates “kinds” of being by making them kin in spite of or through the violences that happen in race, class, and gender.