Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Gregory J. Howard

Second Advisor

Dr. Paula Brush

Third Advisor

Dr. Gerald Markle

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jill Larson


There were three broad reasons for this research. The larger goal was to continue to advance the incorporation of 'other' animals and the rest of nature in general in sociological theory and research. The second was to suggest to those who have incorporated 'other' animals into their research, to include them as participants. The third was to redirect the focus of those who have incorporated 'other' animals as participants, to the impact that ideological structures and other social factors have on human-'other' animal encounters. Toward this end, I directed the focus of my study to examine human-'other' animal encounters ina place where these encounters are of everyday central importance: the veterinary hospital.

As such, this research presents an examination of human-feline encounters in a veterinary hospital. To best understand these encounters, I provide a detailed analysis and description of the ideological frameworks of official veterinary medical practices and the consensus or conflict that these medical frameworks have. Specifically, I looked at the conditions within the hospital that were associated with types of encounters. The primary data for this exploratory, inductive analysis came from field notes that I collected by employing the ethnographic method. In other words, I participated in and observed human-feline encounters ina veterinary hospital for a period of nine months. In particular, this research was an attempt to understand what goes on within a veterinary institution, what the official practices were and what they meant to the human participants, how humans and felines encountered one another within the veterinary institution, and in what way these encounters were influenced by the social context. What I found was that social encounters between humans and felines in the veterinary hospital were influenced by interpenetrating social and social psychological factors.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access