Thursday, July 20, 2006

Feral child

I read this story in a rather cheerful hard-nosed way till I got about halfway down Page 2, but there is something quite unbearable about the end.

I wonder if the researcher types, concentrating on the 'raised by dogs' differential, have attended properly to such other variables as foetal alcohol syndrome. Or genetic material, or cultural considerations. And I wonder most of all what moves a creature of one species -- not always female -- to mother a creature of another. Surely dogs kept by a family this degraded would have been more likely to eat a three-year-old child than to look after her.


Kate said...

I saw this story yesterday and was quite fascinated and repelled by it, in equal measures.

Dogs do odd things: when I was growing up we had a big, tough farm dog, part bull mastiff and part ridgeback, called Boofhead. One day he found a kitten, and basically adopted it, and would lick the kitten and very gently nudge it and things like that. Though Boof is dead the cat still lives at home.

Pavlov's Cat said...

That's exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of. When I was a kid on the farm we had a big tabby tomcat, who was, and needed to be, an excellent mouser, and who came and went at will through a window propped open in my sister's bedroom. One day I was in there looking for a book or something and heard a rustling under the bed, which on investigation turned out to be the sound of four tiny baby rabbits (orphaned by a trap, no doubt) in a cardboard box full of old magazines, and as I gazed on this awesome sight, the cat arrived in the windowsill carrying a fifth gently by the scruff, exactly as if it were a kitten.

Of course, he could have just been stocking up on snacks. But I don't think it works like that.