A recent archeological discovery supports the notion that humans have considered dogs part of the family—in life and in death—for a very long time. The respectful manner in which a Husky-like dog was buried 7,000 years ago in Siberia strongly suggests he was valued not just as a useful animal to have around, but as a true member of the clan.
Dog skeletons have previously been unearthed from much earlier human burial sites. The unique aspect of this discovery, however, is that the dog was apparently laid to rest with mortuary rites similar to those given the humans. Among other things, he was laid carefully in the grave on his right side, and buried with important objects, such as a long spoon made of antler. Professor Robert Losey of the University of Alberta, who led a study of the site, says the evidence of a carefully orchestrated burial given to the dog (not just involving the dog in a human burial) indicates that “… the people burying this particular dog saw it as a thinking, social being, perhaps on par with humans in many ways.”