Based on Donna Haraway's concept of dogs as companion species, this study aims to critically examine the phenomenon of companion species as it manifests on social media by exploring the notion of humans being-with and becoming with dogs as their nonhuman others. Working through Haraway’s companion species and the nonhuman turn, I consider the relation between Haraway’s (2008) becoming with and German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s (1927) idea of being (Dasein) and being-with (Mitsein) others. By reading Haraway with Heidegger, I argue that nonhumanism is not a rupture from the human condition, but rather an expansion of what it means to be human with others in contemporary society. I show that although nonhumanism typically rejects Heidegger’s perceived anthropocentric approach to animals, Haraway’s nonhumanist becoming with shares and shows similarity to Heidegger’s being-with-others. Throughout my exploration of the phenomena of companion species, I maintain the position that in the midst of the nonhuman turn, we remain all too human by being-with nonhuman others, specifically in terms of human-dog companionship.
In contemporary society the pivotal relationship of companion species notably manifests on social media when humans capture and share their relations with their dogs on various platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. In an added layer to the study, I argue that online images of the human-dog relation reflect and mediate the nature of being-with and becoming with nonhuman others. Through a digital and theoretical exploration of online companion species, I show how these images reflect the significance of human qualities within nonhuman relations, as well as what it means to be human with our nonhuman others in the Digital Age.