We are living in the midst of the Earth’s sixth great extinction
event, the first one caused by a single species: our own. In Wild Dog
Dreaming, Deborah Bird Rose explores what constitutes an ethical relationship with
nonhuman others in this era of loss. She asks, Who are we, as a species? How do we fit into the
Earth’s systems? Amidst so much change, how do we find our way into new stories to guide
us? Rose explores these questions in the form of a dialogue between science and the humanities.
Drawing on her conversations with Aboriginal people, for whom questions of extinction are
up-close and very personal, Rose develops a mode of exposition that is dialogical,
philosophical, and open-ended.
An inspiration for Rose—and a touchstone
throughout her book—is the endangered dingo of Australia. The dingo is not the first animal to
face extinction, but its story is particularly disturbing because the threat to its future is
being actively engineered by humans. The brazenness with which the dingo is being wiped out
sheds valuable, and chilling, light on the likely fate of countless other animal and plant
"People save what they love," observed Michael Soulé,
the great conservation biologist. We must ask whether we, as humans, are capable of loving—and
therefore capable of caring for—the animals and plants that are disappearing in a cascade of
extinctions. Wild Dog Dreaming engages this question, and the result is a bold account of the
entangled ethics of love, contingency, and desire.