The Work of Significant Other/s: Companion Animal Relationships in the Future

  • Nik TaylorEmail author
  • Heather Fraser
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Social Problems book series (PSASP)


In this book we have considered how human-animal companionship in the context of domestic violence might be better understood. Most importantly this has involved advocating for an intersectional feminist understanding of domestic violence inclusive of species concerns. Part of this has involved us arguing for a new iteration of The Link, one that allows for animals to be constituted as victims of domestic violence in their own right. As one part of this involves raising awareness of animal victims of domestic violence, in this final chapter we reflect on historical changes associated with feminists making domestic violence a public, not just a personal, problem. Our interest in the love, empathy, and healing possibilities of human-animal companionship that has been evident throughout this book continues in this chapter through our discussion of the need to value the labour that companion animals perform, especially their emotion work. Recognising their labour necessitates us thinking about what companion animals might get out of their relationships with humans and whether they are ‘voiceless.’ In practical terms, we must also think about the necessary provisions for animals in the context of domestic violence, including suitable housing for human and animal victims. For illustrative and inspirational purposes, we point to several current relevant policy and programme examples. We end with a discussion of six key commitments that need to be shown by humans towards companion animals for the notion of the significant other to become truly meaningful.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of Public Health and Social WorkQueensland University of TechnologyKelvin GroveAustralia

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