Each day at the The Browser we recommend five or six pieces of outstanding new writing. In the Monday Memo we plunder our archives to bring you our all-time favourites on a current theme. This week: Pets
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Andrew Amelinckx | Modern Farmer | 22nd September 2015
A decade ago saw "the peak of [U.S.] alpacamania," apparently. Post alpaca-bubble, raising them for profit is probably a mistake but they still make great pets and groundskeepers. "You can nab a pet, basically a cute lawnmower, for as little as $200"; they "eat less per month than a Labrador retriever," and health requirements are limited to annual haircuts, "basic vaccinations, antiparasitic medicines, and quarterly toenail clippings" (1,660 words)
Patricia Marx | New Yorker | 13th October 2014
You can take a pet almost anywhere in New York, if you carry a therapist's letter describing the pet as an emotional support animal. Letter in hand – and such letters are not hard to come by – you can take your snake to Chanel, your turtle to the Frick, or your turkey on the Hampton Jitney. You can even take your alpaca to Niagara Falls by train, or fly from Newark to Boston with your pig in the next seat (5,400 words)
Sophie Roell | Five Books | 19th July 2015
Dog-food maker Jonathan Self explains how to feed dogs. "Dogs in the wild aren't planning five servings of vegetables per day. Dogs can go a week without eating. If you're giving your dog raw meat and bone in roughly the right proportion you can't really go wrong. And then you think, well, from time to time a wild dog might find an egg, so I'll throw in an egg. Or they might find some fish, so you could give them a tin of pilchards" (4,300 words)
Tom Junod | Esquire | 15th July 2014
In defence – yea, in praise – of pit bull terriers. They are widely hated, feared, demonised. Yet there is nothing in their DNA to distinguish them from other dogs. Any dog can behave badly if it has been neglected or exploited. If you have a fondness for pit bulls, prepare to be enthralled. If not, then this may come across as an outrageous piece of special pleading. Either way, it will stir you in the way that good writing should (6,500 words)
David Wood | Aeon | 24th July 2014
Dogs confirm us, cats confound us. Our relationship with cats is an "eruption of the wild into the domestic". Cats blend in; their lethal instincts align with our interests; but they do not assimilate; they belong to the night. Cats are "vehicles for our projections, misrecognition, and primitive recollection". They are part of our symbolic universe as much as our physical universe. Michel Foucault called his own cat 'Insanity' (2,400 words)
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