Me, My Dog, and Humanity: A History of Coexistence Between Species

In the Autumn of 2018, biologist and award-winning author Tiina Raevaara found herself exhausted and anguished, with her mind dark like a Finland November. She did, however, find comfort in the company of her dog, Igor. She started pondering the reasons for her exhaustion and, simultaneously, the evolution of the human species and its relation to other animals.

The current ascendancy of mankind is, according to Raevaara, not a result of humanity’s innate superiority, but, in fact, a result of its connections and relationships to other species. Ours is not a story of a purpose-driven humankind achieving its predominance in grand solitude, but of a humanity which has striven for connections with other animals.

In her new book Me, My Dog, and Humanity, Raevaara compellingly describes the coexistence between humans and animals, both personally and from the perspective of humankind, and seeks answers to a number of questions:

• Why does an exhausted person prefer to spend time with their dog than other people?

• Why do animals arouse such strong empathy in us?

• What does the human-animal connection mean from the perspective of evolution and humanity?

The domesticated dog is a much older creation of humankind than agriculture, religion or even writing. Mapping out the mutual journey between humans and dogs, Raevaara sheds light on the most fundamental essences of humanity and its relationship with nature.


Tiina Raevaara

Tiina Raevaara (b. 1979) is a writer, science journalist, and biologist who received a PhD for her work in genetics. She received the State Award for Public Information and the Pro Scientia Prize from the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. She has published eight novels, three non-fiction books, and a novella collection which was awarded the Runeberg Prize. Her suspense novel Double Helix (2020), the opening chapter of a new thriller series, received the Laurin Kirja audio book award, and the second installment in the series, Polar Vortex (2021), has been widely praised.

Raevaara’s books combine grand perspectives of natural science with compelling literary expression. She draws inspiration from Nordic nature, the major questions of science, and the complexities of humanity.

Raevaara lives in Kerava, a small town in Southern Finland, and goes on daily walks in the forest with her two black dogs.