Project description

With the development of people's awareness of sustainability, genetic diversity, and ecosystem diversity, people have begun to pay attention to the existence of more-than-human. The phenomenon of rejecting furs and resisting animal performances is because people have begun to consider animal ethics. This project will focus on companion animals that are more closely related to humans and explore the future relationship between humans and companion animals. As partners beyond species, how should we live with them? Is our current relationship with the companion species harmonious? What kind of reflections should people have from current relationships? What new relationships will be in the future? This project will select the most typical and common companion animals, dogs, as the research object. By analyzing its domestication history and modern development history, I will summarize several relationships between humans and dogs, and combine them with the analysis of current trends to provide people with different perspectives to lead people to reflect on the current relationship.

The relationship is one of the keywords of this research. In this research, I take the dog, which is a typical companion animal, to analyze the changes in its relationship with humans. The relationship is "multiform, at stake, unfinished, consequential" (Haraway, 2003) rather than single and unchanging. In terms of the companion, there are many kinds of different relationships between dogs and humans. According to emotion, value, and respect for dogs, I divide the relationship between people and dogs into the following four types, symbiotic relationship, domestic relationship, property relationship, functional relationship.

In this project, I will focus on two of the above relationships, domestic relationships, and functional relationships. Because the other two relationships can easily transition to the others.

the analysis of humans and companion animals' relationship

In this scenario, people will use contraception instead of sterilization, and therefore begin to accept and give dogs rights of social contact. Dogs also need to meet the same kind in their life. Nowadays, families with dogs tend to choose a location closer to the pet hospital when choosing their address. After liberating the dogs’ rights of social contact, people will also tend to be close to other dog-raising families, which will gradually form a community, the dogs will have their own common room. The dog’s social behavior will no longer be completely dependent on human intervention, but will have greater freedom. When people have their own human social affairs, dogs can also choose to socialize with the same kind.


At the same time, because of more freedom, dogs will also affected the way of life of human beings. Dogs no longer only depend on human intervention to live in the city, but the intervention of dogs also affects the space and the relationship between people. With the new relationship between people and pets, people will need to think more about their psychological needs, try to understand their partners, respect their social rights, and learn from them. People will learn more and get more opportunities and connections with the world because of their companion animals. This process also allows people to see the world from a new perspective and study to learn to live more compassionately and cooperatively.

In this scenario, people will use contraception instead of sterilization, and therefore begin to accept and give dogs rights of social contact. Dogs also need to meet the same kind in their life. Nowadays, families with dogs tend to choose a location closer to the pet hospital when choosing their address. After liberating the dogs’ rights of social contact, people will also tend to be close to other dog-raising families, which will gradually form a community, the dogs will have their own common room. The do
storyboard 1

The second scenario will discuss the functional relationship. This scenario comes from the current argument that giving animal rights is to allow them to realize their own value, but this kind of empowerment actually comes from humans, just paying attention to dogs' functions but ignores their emotional needs, which is still an instrumentalization attitude. Therefore, in this scenario, I will start from instrumentalization and critically discuss this relationship between humans and companion animals. Dogs perceive the world through their sense of smell. In domestication history, people also used the strong sense of smell of dogs to improve the efficiency of hunting and their own safety. Now, human production methods have changed, it is no longer necessary to rely on the sense of smell to improve production efficiency.

Inspired by Kate’s sensory map, environmental pollution, and toxic gases are not always the visible mustard yellow-green color in our impression. Researchers also pointed out that real-time detection of pollution is good for environmental protection. To achieve the goal of environmental protection,  in this scenario, people began to realize the importance of smell and consciously wanted to understand the world through a new perspective. The dog's super-strong sense of smell is once again used by humans. Dogs are trained to be aware of various pollution because of their strong discrimination and perception of smells. after training, through the tracking of its routes and body condition, the smelling map is drawn to achieve the purpose of environmental protection.

the second scenario
the second scenario's storyboard

Another extension of the use of the dog’s olfaction comes from the news that using the dog’s olfaction to detect covid-19. This scenario happens in the hospital, dogs will be trained in the hospital to learn the smell of some common cancer so she can immediately notify her companion human if someone in the family sends out the same odor she used to learn.

In these scenarios, many people emphasize the importance of work for dogs. But in fact, sometimes, dogs are turned into a human detection tool and medical device. In this scenario, I used a more unethical way to train working dogs which will affect the dog's health, highlighting the conflicts. Behind the glamorous identities of drug detection dogs and guide dogs, some training methods actually treat them as tools. For example, during the training, people will weed out drug detection dogs that did not perform well to dog’s shelters. And guide dogs’ emotional needs are always ignored. They are required to continuously change their companion human. In this functional relationship, humans and dogs seem to have an equal colleague relationship, but in fact, humans still treat dogs as tools. This relationship also requires people to reflect on.

the second scenario

Mingye Wang

Design in Future Relationship: The new relationship between human and companion animals