The Dog by the Cradle, The Serpent
Beneath: Some Paradoxes of Human-Animal Relationships -
Key Porter Books March 2010.
Finalist, Writers Trust Non-Fiction prize, 2009
Nominee, B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.
Available at your favourite bookstore or online
chapters/indigo or amazon.ca and amazon.com
The book’s title recalls one of the oldest and most compelling
animal stories of all time: The sad saga of a devoted greyhound
executed by his master for apparently attacking the man’s
sleeping child Only after he’s killed his dog, does the master
find the dead body of a serpent beneath the infant’s overturned
cradle—evidence not only of the dog’s innocence, but
also his courage in protecting the child from a venomous snake.
With this traditional tale as a starting point, Erika Ritter embarks
on a journey—both in time and space--to the very heart of
“Ark-ness” and follows the twisting trail of human-animal
relationships from empathy to exploitation, from devotion to detestation,
from comedy to cruelty, and beyond. Most importantly, Erika traces
the essential contradictions in humanity’s relationships with
our fellow creatures, from prehistoric worship of the cave-bear
to the latest research on the intelligence of crows, to the future
of animals’ legal rights.
As well, she probes the human-animal bond with experts in animal
cognition, welfare advocates, philosophers and animal rights advocates.
And she paints vivid pictures of research apes in retirement, a
greyhound adoption convention, a public memorial for a fallen police
horse and other unforgettable images of animals among us.
In a world where we increasingly identify our pets as family members,
yet annually dispose of ever more strays, execute more livestock
and sacrifice countless animals to research , there are paradoxes
aplenty to investigate.At a time when animals are increasingly among
us and yet continually below our radar, The Dog by the Cradle, the
Serpent Beneath offers observations both timely and timeless about
Us and Them.
Meanwhile, for some background on her long-standing
interest in and writing about animals, click on: “Animals
and Ourselves” on this site, listed under “On
Stage, As a Speaker”.
THE DOG BY THE CRADLE, THE SERPENT BENEATH –
(2009) Non-Fiction, Original Hardcover Edition, Key Porter Books.
HIDDEN LIFE OF HUMANS – (1997) Novel, reissued 2009,
to coincide with the publication of THE DOG BY THE CRADLE, THE
SERPENT BENEATH, also from Key Porter Books.
GREAT BIG BOOK OF GUYS: ALPHABETICAL ENCOUNTERS WITH MEN –
McClelland & Stewart (2004) Essays
RESIDENCE – McClelland & Stewart (1987) Essays
– MacMillan of Canada (1984) Essays
PLAYSCRIPTS: (all published by Playwrights Press, Toronto)
MCQUEEN – 1986 (first produced Tarragon Theatre, Toronto)
PILOT – 1980 (first produced New Theatre, Toronto)
– 1979 (first produced St Lawrence Centre, Toronto)
– 1978 (first produced Toronto Free Theatre)
FROM CHARLESTON – 1975 (first produced Loyola College, Montreal)
PRODUCTION INFORMATION ON THESE PLAYS, AS WELL AS ON STAGE PLAYS
PLEASE VISIT “ON THE STAGE”.
*FOR A LIST OF PRODUCED RADIO PLAYS,
PLEASE VISIT “ON THE AIR” )
numerous short stories published in:
FICTION COLUMNS AND ARTICLES:
– bi-monthly humour column in
Dogs in Canada magazine, 2000 to 2005.
The Saturday Toronto Star, 1985-87
humour column, City Woman magazine, 1983-85
numerous humour articles, social and political essays, book reviews,
etc. published in: