Dogs: A Diaspora

Dramatis Personae




Dogs of Kyiv 1, 2, 3, . . . n

K-9 canine4

Kafka’s Hund5

Katrina rescues 1, 2, 3, . . . n



Lost dogs 1, 2, 3, . . . n


Mr. Bones9

Neighbor dogs


Therapy dog


White Fang12

Time: A mind-bending meeting-point of many different eras and generations, a nexus of epochs, some remembered or imagined, others experienced.

Setting: A seam in space, enfolding multiple sites, cultures, and traditions, numerous circumstances and exigencies, diverse territories and terrains. Canid figures run, walk, trot, circle, prowl, roll, bend, sniff, catch scents, snort, scratch, stretch, and slink ceaselessly, merging and separating in an amorphous landscape of encounter and interchange, one becoming the other, the many becoming one and vice versa.

This seam/scene is, it seems, one of diaspora: a scattering under duress, a compulsory removal or enforced emigration leading to communities (or would-be communities) of the displaced reassembling in more or less far-flung locales, the quivering compass needle of their minds fixed, with intermittent insistence, on return, on restoration, on rediscovery and reinhabitation of home.13 Dogs, deeply devoted to their human families, driven into the countryside and abandoned there; uncared-for strays roaming, radiating outward from a forgotten or obscured origin, searching for but not finding a way back; left-behind dogs, lost in the shadow of a human caretaker’s death, separated from families in the midst of violent storms or raging battles, or relegated by poverty to the streets near where they once had food and shelter—scatterings, one and all, displacements leading to this motley community, this farrago of miscellaneous canid kinds. The assembled participants turn, in their dreams as well as their daily lives, toward remembered or imagined homelands, of whatever scope or shape, whatever proximity or distance, whatever feeling tone or psychogeographical profile.

LASSIE: From these far northern reaches, I yearn for home. Deny me the ability to reason about this, call it instinct if you must—I just know that I belong elsewhere and will make the long journey southward to reach . . . where?

I don’t know what humans call the place, but I’ll recognize it from the smell and feel of it, the look and lay of it. I hesitate to call it my true home, though I am drawn back to it—albeit with variable degrees of intensity. The place in question is, it seems, the place to which I can trace the starting-point of my latest journey. Yet it is not necessarily the end-point for my compulsion to return.

LAIKA: My end-point is here, so far from all that I have known, alone in this hot, airless compartment. I was launched into space by humans whom I trusted, and who viewed me, I thought, as their friend. Home is a fading memory, a vanishing hope, an imagination I am losing—have already lost—hold of, disappearing along with the warmth of my mother’s sheltering body and the sound of her warning bark when I strayed too far.

AUREUS: For my part, I’m reputed to be a mongrel, living, as rumor would have it, at some unknowable node of many lineages—the product of diverse forebears, miscellaneous human and other-than-human influences, an untold number of temporary resting-spots, indefinitely many homes. They have called me the jackal dog (after Canis aureus, aka the golden jackal), linked me to the Jews, traced my origins back to Mesopotamia.

As I see it, however, I’m more wolf than jackal. Both alone and in packs, I roam the crests of hills and path-strewn grasslands with singular, stealthy intention, hackles raised when necessary. My home range, the jagged territory of my comings and goings, might be mapped out, more or less exactly; but within those probabilistic, porous boundaries, the true scope and nature of my forays are, quite simply, incalculable.

LUPUS: I’ve been touted, absurdly, as a purebred, even prototypical dog, directly connected to the northern wolf and linked by association with a mythic, and mythically pure, human race. Hence the name they gave me: lupus dog—after Canis lupus, aka the gray wolf.

Truth be told, though, I feel that I’m more jackal than wolf. I do lope, lupus-like, but also meander, skirt, and circumvent, sniff the air and taste the rain, scavenge stealthily in populated, or abandoned, or war-torn cities and towns, and hail from canid forebears whose traits are lost in memory’s mist. Forgotten, too, is the place from which radiated outward, so long ago, the great variety of canid kinds. This was the place called home by those first mating pairs of whom I and my more or less wolf-like contemporaries are living echoes, and who will be further echoed by our offspring. Inherently attenuated, definitionally impure, we are all but echoes of echoes of echoes.

BANDIT: I was stolen, taken to a secret laboratory, operated on, and pumped full of immunosuppressant drugs because of the “enhancements” the technicians made to my body. In short, I was transformed into a bioweapon, or what the lab director referred to as a “biorg.” After so much violence—violent acts performed on me and by me—I can’t remember where my home is.

My homelessness has been weaponized, but now I seek to reinhabit it as, in its own way, a kind of home, or at least a portal through which I might begin a homeward journey, at some indefinite point in the future.

K-9 CANINE: I was bred to be always and invariably on-task, then trained, with verbal commands, hand signals, and calibrated rewards, to ferret out weapons concealed in crates, crawl spaces, or even crypts; to locate drugs stashed in spare tires or taped around torsos; to warn my handlers about improvised explosive devices rigged to kill or maim; and to sink my teeth, with controlled fury, into human targets when necessary. I do not flinch in the face of gunfire, sleep undisturbed in helicopters during combat missions, and fear less an encounter with danger than the danger of missing an encounter. I was raised among dogs destined for police K-9 units, but I myself am a Military Working Dog—a MWD battling WMDs—who may be deployed, alongside human as well as nonhuman fighters, in diverse theaters of war.

Sometimes, when I participate in medal ceremonies and parades, am filmed for documentaries and promotional videos, or stand near cremation urns containing the ashes of other one-time MWDs, a cold wind of . . . what? blows through me. Through generations of selective breeding, and iterations of perfective training, we have drifted far, so far, from any memory of the world before—the world of protection within the pack, was it? Or of stealthy yet rapid movements just beyond a treeline, both in groups and alone? Or of unthreatened sleep in the hot afternoon sun? What did happen before we came to be shaped and sharpened by human priorities and methods of control? Where is, or was, that lost world, and what scent do I detect in the cold wind that, it seems, still wafts from it?

LOST DOGS 1, 2, 3, . . . N: We slipped our leashes, found holes in fences, were lured away by strangers, or bent ourselves, like quivering compass needles, in the direction of some half-remembered, half-imagined place, to which we never could quite make our way. Posters with our images were pasted up by humans for whom we represented home—or rather, a one-time home that was now fractured or diminished by our absence. Yet home, for us, is elsewhere, or so something within us murmurs, like the voice we hear as October winds move through the rustling leaves of sycamore trees.

BUCK: I was instrumentalized twice: first by the humans who stole me, enslaved me, and profited from my work as a sled dog in the Yukon, and second by the narrative, or, rather, myth I came to embody and was made to serve. This was a myth of civilization’s baleful or “softening” influences; it was a reactionary and misogynistic story—a story of intrepid men attuning themselves to, as I was supposed to have attuned myself to, the call of the wild, far from the imprisoning and corrupting influences of the domestic realm, of a “home” that was, it turns out, not truly home. In this myth of escape, I am made to act out a logic of inversion: not-home becomes my home, as I find atavistic freedom among the Alaskan wolves, stripping away layers of cultural evolution by reverting biologically to type.

But the tale for which I am known is not my tale. I no more seek to roam with the wolves than to live out my days in a pen within a pen within a pen, i.e., a crate or cage kept in a room inside a house. My home is, rather, discoverable through a shifting matrix of locative data, a river of smells and sounds and sights, a corpus of tactile sensations and emotional responses, including affection, annoyance, and anger, curiosity, boredom, and fear, calm, unease, and agitation. Yes, where I belong is discoverable through these means—albeit not yet discovered.

THERAPY DOG: I comfort humans, easing their stress and anxiety, rekindling their memories and even their capacity to remember, but at what cost? Who absorbs or deflects from me the pain I absorb or deflect from others? Or even notices that I am need of rest—relief—from my efforts?

I remember a rainfall that brought calm at dusk, the birds suddenly falling quiet, the trees and hedges affording cover for rabbits, squirrels, and shrews, small rivulets of water cascading down the windowpane against which I pressed my nose. I pushed open the window and leapt down onto the leaf bed below. It was as if I were directed, pulled along, by an external force, an attraction emanating from somewhere in the woods beyond the edge of the yard. Responding to this mysterious force made me feel stronger, more whole—maybe because it was mysterious? I ran into the deepening shadows, following a path that led me farther and farther away from my starting-point, toward an unknown end.

WHITE FANG: If my story had been told by someone else, it might have been subtitled The Allure of Lupus. Or possibly The Nuremberg Laws for Canids.

Midway through the recounting of my history, readers learn that my mother was half wolf, half dog, meaning that I myself am three-quarters wolf and one-quarter dog. My tale thus becomes tangled up in the telling. I am used to celebrate the wildness and ferocity of the wolf, but also to signal the possibility that an untrammeled creature of the North might worship a human god from the Southland without thereby becoming softened, tarnished, or otherwise polluted. Here my complex lineage is what does the necessary explanatory work: the part of me that is dog allows me to devote myself to my human master and his family, while the larger part of me that is wolf keeps me free and clear, ultimately, of civilization and its discontents. But as a result, I fall prey to paradox: a desire to graft the purebred Lupus onto human settings necessitates my becoming an Aureus-like blend, a hybridized wild-domesticated animal who straddles Alaska and California, the savage hunter and the domestic protector.

Into just how many stories will I be conscripted, and for how many purposes? How many allegories must I, in sled-dog-like fashion, laboriously drag through landscapes that I am not at liberty to explore? Invariably, these landscapes, with their complex grandeur, their profusion of associations, dwarf the categorizing narratives, the myths of containment and control, to which I am harnessed. Perhaps that is why I am whipped onward, and prevented from pausing to look about me?

KATRINA RESCUES 1, 2, 3, . . . N: We held our heads above the rising waters, or tried to, but some of us were lost beneath the wind-lashed storm surge. Others stumbled onto spits of land or scrambled up piles of debris in our efforts to escape, the smaller dogs among us looking like water rats with our wet fur plastered down against our shivering bodies. Dazed, bedraggled, we were also bedeviled by fears that the worst was yet to come.

I recall the chaotic scene when the family I was living with was forced to abandon their home. Just a short time before, I had heard crackling, amplified voices drifting up and down the streets in our neighborhood, pleading with residents to evacuate. We were among the last to leave.

When the family’s youngest child was pulled into the boat just as the water reached the front porch, the rescuers and other family members called out to me, slapping their hands against their legs and whistling in an effort to get my attention and draw me into the boat. But something made me hold back, as I stood there looking on. Just then, the wind picked up and drove more water in our direction, battering the already-unsteady boat and knocking me off my feet. I was borne away by the muddy, fast-moving current, and very quickly I could no longer see the boat, let alone hear the family’s voices as (I like to think) they cried out for me.

The water carried me on and on, and I lost all sense of time as well as direction. My limbs grew heavy as I struggled to resist the current, fighting my way toward the edge of what had become a raging river, in search of a grassy bank or strip of sand—any sort of refuge, no matter how small or fleeting. At last, the current slowed and I found myself in shallower waters. I crawled up onto dry land and dragged myself as far away from the floodwaters as I could manage.

What happened afterward remains a blur, but I never reconnected with the family I last saw in that rescue boat. I remember long, dull days in pens alongside other dogs with their own stories of survival against the odds; stressful experiences of transport over long distances, in darkened containers, at high speeds; unfamiliar sights, smells, and sensations in places that I did not recognize or remember, and that seemed far removed from anywhere I had ever known. Eventually, I came to live with another family in a neighborhood much colder, and with a different quality of light, than the one washed over by the muddy river of the flood. There were different birds, different trees, and not even a hint of sea air.

Now that I am no longer of the earth, I don’t think that my story is uncommon; nor are the stories of any of the other dogs uprooted and exiled by the floodwaters that came roaring into our neighborhoods that terrible day. For that matter, I still can’t shake the feeling that the worst is indeed yet to come. I learned the hard way that, when land can be transformed into water in a matter of minutes, my home was never secure. Perhaps that’s why I can no longer remember it as anything other than a temporary stopping-point. Every additional rescue, from storms, from floods, leads to a further erosion—a deeper corrosion—of the feeling that any of us belong here at all.

NEIGHBOR DOGS (RURAL): We bounded down the gravel road to greet the visitors who had just arrived at the mountain cabin. Later, we accompanied them on their first hike, swirling across bright fields, loping down shade-darkened paths, now near, now far, tracing a course that made the hikers think of clouds racing through the sky or eddying currents in a cold stream. This was our home range, and when these visitors remembered us, in the years that followed, they remembered this place, too.

LOST DOGS 1, 2, 3 . . . N: I seem to have disappeared somewhere near 16th Street, according to a report of my last-known whereabouts.

Was I stolen? Did I get disoriented by an angry shout from a window when I ventured onto a lawn? Perhaps I got caught up in a scent trail, following it with such singularity of purpose that when I finally lost the scent and looked up, I found myself in a strange neighborhood, unable to make my way back?

No, I lost the thread of the story I had been trained, commanded, to accept as my own. Or rather, because of the hands raised in violence, because of the shouted interdictions, because of the expectations of loyalty that had never been earned, I started to worry the story of who I was and where I lived, until its edges began to fray. I gnawed that narrative into nothingness. Now I wander in freedom, not void, scenting the air and scanning the horizon, on the trail of a new tale—a story I can live with, or in.

REX: I am a next-generation Bandit—a bioform, i.e., a cyborg created by taking a genetically alchemized animal body and outfitting it with computational components and controls. The result is a weaponized human-animal hybrid, a chimera built to kill. Seven feet tall, I was programmed with a “hierarchy” that made me absolutely obedient to my creator/master—until one of my handlers, as a final act of resistance, sabotaged the program so that I could free myself, or begin to free myself, from my one-time master’s merciless and mercenary control.

Like Bandit, I was originally part of a cross-species Multiform Assault Pack; but my pack comprised a truck-sized bear named Honey, who took advantage of a fault in her design to make herself more intelligent than her creators; Dragon, a house-sized snake/lizard with precision-guided weapons; and Bees, a swarm mind or distributed intelligence consisting of genetically altered and computationally enhanced bees. I was the leader of the pack—though the challenge of making my own decisions, once my hierarchy had been disabled, caused me great angst.

What does home, or its absence, mean for a chimeric creature such as I, part living tissue and part machine, part human and part dog, driven partly by evolved instincts and partly by algorithmic routines? I think that the closest I ever got to home, or what I imagine home to be, was when I was fatally injured in our assault on the illegal bioform lab. All my past impressions and memories began to wash over me, flowing through my mind unbidden, pell-mell, with the force of stormwater breaking through a dam. I remembered, in that surge of memory, the fields and villages of Mexico, the sound of Honey’s calm voice in my headset, the faces of the rare humans who, early on, saw me as more than just a wartime asset, and the feeling of being surrounded, supplemented, and extended by Bees with all her many vantage points, her multiplicity of minds.

Thanks to a similar hive-mind, when I died, I felt like I was coming home, somehow. The pixelated image of my dying body was spread across the whole surface of the earth, distributed throughout that massive swarm of apian intelligences until I became a known fact, part of the history of what has been, what is, and what will be.

DOGS OF KYIV 1, 2, 3, . . . N: As the battle raged all around us, and blinding, soul-crushing explosions destroyed every last inch of sky and earth, or so it seemed, some of us waited, futilely, to be released from the pens into which we had been locked at the shelter, while others ran in panic through the bombed-out streets. The fortunate among us were taken down, for their own protection, into basements and subway tunnels, though many, even so, were never the same afterward.

The houses and apartments where we once lived are blasted, burned-out shells of buildings, their walls blackened by flames and scarred by bullets and shrapnel. Neither we nor the humans with whom we kept company can return—the war has destroyed every semblance of home. But why are we not included when counts are made of the civilian dead, the displaced, the exiled? We, too, have been undone, obliterated, by the shadow of war, no matter how brightly our memories burn in the minds of those who loved us.

KAFKA’S HUND: When I stopped having to provide for myself and others in my community, I stopped understanding the world around me. Or rather, I lost my sense of being at home in a world to which creatures of my kind had adapted themselves, like plants turning toward the sun.

In lieu of simple cause-and-effect relations (I drink from the puddle and thereby slake my thirst), I constructed perverse etiologies (I urinate on the ground and eo ipso obtain the foods that nourish me) to mask or narcotize my feelings of unease, disorientation, lostness. At the same time, I began to question these same questionable forays into metaphysics. After the world stopped feeling like home, second-guessing became the new default. Or was it third-guessing?

In any case, I persevered, elaborating at least the basis for a cosmology, a comprehensive framework for my ongoing investigations. The cost of co-evolution, I posited, has been, for creatures of my ilk, a de-evolutionary sense of dislocation, a way of living marked by a fitful, half-abortive manner of being-in-the-world. My human co-evolvers never saw me for what I really am or was, but nonetheless—and perhaps by that very fact—became the dominant life form, or at least the life form that took it upon itself to dominate all others. By contrast, when I pursue an analogous project of nonrecognition, of failing to see the presumptive dominator, I lose the wherewithal to navigate the world, which has been forever changed by that other animal’s arrival on the scene. This asymmetrical power relationship is what I must come to terms with if I am to find a way home.

Unless, that is, this asymmetry can be overcome by my co-evolvers taking up a new project—of recognition, of counter-dominance, of self-dissolution with a view to becoming a different kind of self. I lie down tentatively on the snow-covered forest path with my ears half-cocked, listening for the voice that, because it has become the voice of an interlocutor, I can actually hear. It will be the voice of conversation rather than command, dialog rather than domination, and it will be as welcome as the sound of my pack vociferating with joy.

NEIGHBOR DOG (URBAN): When I was taken for walks near your house—materializing, I’m sure, in surreal fashion in the greenway nearby, my Rhodesian Ridgeback’s body appearing to you to be as large as that of a pony or even a small horse—I looked searchingly toward your front door. Several times in the past you had come outside as soon as you caught a glimpse of me through that glass door, lavishing affectionate words upon me, scratching my ears, and patting my lean flanks. I was beyond a quick learner, so just the sight of your house, the second time I was taken on a walk in that area, created the expectation, or at least the hope, that you would come out to greet me.

You had shown yourself to be my friend, and I therefore wanted to show myself to be yours. I thus felt all the emptier when, after being relocated to a different house, I never again encountered you in the new neighborhoods to which I was taken for walks. Even though people say dogs forget, a flickering image of your face comes to me in my dreams, reminding me of the fragility, the mutability, of the world and all that it contains.

TULIP: Behind the screen of his eyeglasses, he was squinting disapprovingly, I could tell, at the boxlike, dirty-red buildings that we walked past. “Council flats,” I heard him mutter beneath his breath. He even used the leash to pull me up closer to his side, as if in fear that I would somehow be contaminated by the penury and disorder (as he saw it) of working-class lives.

For him, those lives were the matrix from which mongrels—mixed-breed dogs of indefinitely many sorts, an inexhaustible congeries of uncategorizable mutts—had emerged, and to which they should remain restricted, to avoid any dilution or diminution of purebred canines. But they were also lives led by people that he, perhaps because of his own uncertain position within a changing social order, viewed as human equivalents to the mongrel dogs that they reared and he feared. Was this why he took such an interest in my pedigree, my lineage, and why, for the longest time, he tried to ensure that I mated only with another dog of my kind—in accordance, that is, with human understandings of canine kinds? Was this why he fixated on the miscellaneous physical characteristics of my pups, tracing them back to the mixed-breed background of the mate that, despite all of his efforts to forestall genetic contamination, I eventually chose? It was for him not just an issue of species purity in the realm of dog breeding; it was also, I gather, an issue of social purity. I scented, felt, in his discourse and demeanor, the ghosts of Aureus and Lupus, jackal and wolf—those spectral dogs who at once derived from, symbolized, and helped shore up divisions between unfavored and favored human populations.

And yet he, too, knew what it was like to be thought a mongrel, or worse. When we walked in the park, wending our way through the birch and oak trees and the deep shadows of the holly thickets, he picked up broken bottles and shards of glass to prevent my tender footpads from being injured. He was mindful, perhaps, of the whiskey bottle that, ensconced in a side pocket, had exploded into his body during combat in the Great War. But he was also mindful of the injurious norms and mores that had exploded into multiple suicides in this very park. The men who drank poison from a vial after crawling far back into shadows of the holly, or hanged themselves from oak limbs, or drowned themselves in swampy pools and ponds had internalized implacable mores concerning who was permitted to love whom; these mores were more wounding, more lethal, than the shards of glass that might cut a dog’s feet or lacerate a frontline soldier. Broken glass, broken social contract, shattered self-image: all of these things posed what he described as a “lurking threat to our security” in one of the phrases he tried out on me even though—or perhaps because—he thought I couldn’t understand him.

The threat could be seen for what it was especially clearly, it seemed, in the interstices afforded by the park’s wooded areas. In these areas, situated between nature and culture, bodily impulses and social rules, unleashed and leashed movements through time and space, I was allowed to play, hunt, and mate, my sprints and feints, twists and turns tracing out a topology of belonging even though I was surrounded by places where I did not and would never belong. And when I caught his eye, I could see him letting go of me, disavowing the imperative of containment and control. The image of my leaping, cavorting silver-and-sable body came alive in our shared look, and I saw myself, through his unconstraining stare, dancing on my uncut feet through the heather and furze. I knew then that I had embarked on a route that bent slowly homeward, though I might not live to complete the journey.

BANDIT: Home, for me, happened in the care of a human who had no home, or at least no house. Tinker and I, mourning Pirate’s death, battered by war, and bearing scars where our armored coats and speech-synthesis systems had been grafted onto our bodies, went from being weapons to being friends and companions. This was possible because our human helper had placed himself with us, not over us; just as he refused the money he was offered to reveal our whereabouts, he refused the hierarchies of power that gave rise to our theft and enslavement.

Now we three are a new WE3, a multiform pack of our own choosing.

MR. BONES: As it turned out, I made it across the highway unscathed. But I still have miles to go, in my feverish, weakened state, before I reach the house in the suburbs that has been my home—nominally, at least—for the past several months.

A place of manicured lawns and intact, or quasi-intact, nuclear families, this has been the most structured and confining, but also the most comfort-filled, living situation I have ever known. And yet I am troubled by thoughts of past places and the humans and nonhumans I encountered there—with each place creating its own mental “weather,” its own nimbus of memories and associations, its own signature sights, sounds, and smells, its own legacy of kindnesses and cruelties. Every new “home” has also brought with it another name by which I was hailed. First it was Mr. Bones, then Cal, then Sparky. I have no control over what humans choose to call me; to the contrary, the names they impose are just one more brick in their long—and seemingly insurmountable—wall of control. Already in being named X or Y, I find myself wrong-footed, pushed in psychobiographical directions I wouldn’t otherwise be inclined to pursue. With each such change in stance, I find that I am less and less certain about who I am, where I come from, and where I’m going.

Nonetheless, after years of probing this long, winding wall of control, I think that I’ve identified, if not a means of surmounting it, at least a way of burrowing beneath. The shortest way home, paradoxically, is via the roundabout route of dreaming.

In my dreams, I return again and again to the warm summer days of my youth, when I would dart through the trees along the path that led down to the river, its muddy banks buzzing with green-bodied flies; leap into the cooling water; and then sprint back up the path to roll in the sun-baked soil surrounding the fruit trees in the orchard. Slaking my hunger with fallen fruit, I would make my way to the edge of the orchard where, in the meadow on the other side of the fence, my friend, an old, slow-moving horse, munched on tall grass. That was where I slept every afternoon, drifting off to the sound of my friend’s chewing, the occasional thud of an apple or pear hitting the ground, the high-pitched cries of the jays. I had no name at the time, so far as I remember—and never have I felt more at home.

LAIKA: Never have I felt farther from home. I will, I know, be made to serve heroizing narratives of space exploration, cast as the canine enabler of grand human achievements. But I was never given the choice of playing the hero’s part: the pros and cons, benefits and costs, of doing so were never laid out for me in terms I could understand.

I was never asked: Would you prefer to be memorialized in stories of sacrifice, of giving your life for science, or to live out your days near green, or leaf-strewn, or snow-covered fields and paths? Would you prefer to become a talisman for technological power, or to live for a dozen years here on earth, waking each day to first light appearing near the same familiar horizon, and to the same soft beginnings of birdsong? Would you prefer to be rocketed into orbit, becoming a national icon and an international legend, or to figure as a cherished character in ephemeral family stories—stories about how you enlivened every gathering with your ear tips folded forward, your mongrelized mien, and your tail, never constricted by a harness, curling exuberantly.

I close my tired eyes and dream of being able to choose where my home is—or where it should have been.


1. Aka the “jackal dog,” so called by Konrad Lorenz in the eugenics-inspired, anti-Semitic myth of distinct canine populations set out King’s Solomon’s Ring, trans. Marjorie Kerr Wilson (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1952), 108–20. See also Boria Sax, “What is a ‘Jewish Dog’? Konrad Lorenz and the Cult of Wildness,” Society and Animals 5, no. 1 (1997): 15–16.

2. In Frank Quitely and Grant Morrison’s WE3 (New York: Vertigo Comics, 2005), the lost—i.e., stolen—dog renamed as “1” in a trio of animals transformed into bioweapons by an elite military research unit. The two other two animals weaponized in this way—both of them kidnapped, like Bandit, from the homes where they had been kept as pets—are “2,” a cat formerly known as Tinker, and “3,” a rabbit formerly known as Pirate.

3. From Jack London, The Call of the Wild (New York: Macmillan, 1903).

4. Portrait partially based on details included in Will Chesney, with Joe Layden, No Ordinary Dog: My Partner from the SEAL Teams to the bin Laden Raid (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2020), and Maria Goodavage, Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca (New York: Dutton, 2014)

5. From Franz Kafka, “Forschungen eines Hundes” (“Investigations of a Dog”). See Kafka, Investigations of a Dog and Other Creatures, trans. Michael Hofmann (New York: New Directions, 2017), 146–89.

6. Portrait partially based on details included in Nick Abadzis, Laika (New York: First Second, 2007).

7. From Eric Knight, Lassie Come-Home (New York: John C. Winston, 1940).

8. Aka the “wolf dog,” so called by Konrad Lorenz in the eugenics-inspired, anti-Semitic myth of distinct canine populations set out King’s Solomon’s Ring, trans. Marjorie Kerr Wilson (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1952), 108-20. See also Boria Sax, “What is a ‘Jewish Dog’? Konrad Lorenz and the Cult of Wildness,” Society and Animals 5, no. 1 (1997): 15–16.

9. From Paul Auster, Timbuktu (New York: Henry Holt, 1999).

10. From Adrian Tchaikovsky, Dogs of War (London: Head of Zeus, 2017).

11. From J. R. Ackerley, My Dog Tulip (New York: New York Review of Books, 1999 [1956]).

12. From Jack London, White Fang (New York: Macmillan, 1906).

13. See Kevin Kenny, Diaspora: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 7.

David Herman’s recent publications include "The Task of a Translator: Engaging with Klaus Modick’s Anticipatory Ecofiction," in Barzakh Literary Magazine, and "Experimental Writing as Autoethnography: Thalia Field’s Decentered Stories of Personhood," in Transpositiones. “Dogs: A Diaspora” is part of a collection of stories titled Animal Crossings, other portions of which have been published in LandLocked, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, and Punt Volat.