About Dogs
About Dogs


About Dogs

By a Dog Lover


  •  Domestic dogs are unable to live without men.  
  •  There are several kinds of dogs: those that guard their master's property; those that are useful for hunting wild animals or birds; and those that watch over sheep.  
  •  A dog cures its own wounds by licking, and a young dog bound to a patient cures internal wounds. 
  •  A dog will always return to its vomit. 
  •  When a dog is swimming across a river while holding meat in its mouth, if it sees its own reflection it will drop the meat it is carrying while trying to get the meat it sees in the reflection.


Several stories are told about the actions of dogs. 


  •  King Garamantes, captured by his enemies, was rescued by his dogs. 
  •  When a man was murdered and there were no witnesses to say who did it, the man's dog pointed out the slayer in the crowd. 
  •  Jason's dog was said to have refused to eat and died of hunger after his master's death. 
  •  A Roman dog accompanied his master to prison, and when the man was executed and his body thrown into the Tiber River, the dog tried to hold up the corpse.


Dogs in Mythology


British mythology depicts the dog as a faithful and loyal companion.  It serves its master well and is prepared to defend that person to the death.  King Arthur's faithful companion Cabal is but one dog that symbolises the relationship between humans and dogs that has survived through the centuries.


The belief that dogs possess the ability of second sight is not new.  It is suggested that dogs can see spirits and apparitions while having the ability to sense that death is near. 


Two such circumstances occurred that are well documented in the history books.  The explorer, Lord Carnarvon, discovered Tutankhamen's tomb, a tomb that was supposed to have a curse placed upon it and directed at anyone who violated that tomb.  When Lord Carnarvon became ill and died, it is reported that his faithful dog also died within a few hours of his master's demise.  It is said that just before Abraham Lincoln was assassinated his dog started howling and running wildly around the White House.


In medieval times a howling dog was considered to be an omen of misfortune or death.  If a dog howled when a baby was born, it signified that that child would have an unhappy life or be susceptible to the darker side of its nature.  Howling outside a house would cause great concern to the occupants as this again was considered to be an ill omen. 


In Ireland a rural belief is that if a strange dog digs up someone's garden it foretells illness or death, while in America, a dog that sleeps with its tail out straight behind it and with paws upturned is an indication that bad news is coming.  The direction the tail is pointing, it is said, shows the direction from which the bad news will come.


While many stories represent bad omens, so too are there a plentiful number that suggest the dog and its behaviour are linked to good fortune.  Beliefs like, if a dog runs under a table then a thunderstorm is on the way go back through history. 


Some say that if a strange dog follows you then this is a sign of good luck.  If a black and white dog should cross someone's path then this indicates that the business that that person is engaged in will have a good outcome.  It is interesting that cats also have been endowed with the ability of being able to herald good or bad luck in different circumstances and colours to the dog.


The famous cure for a hangover is named 'the hair of the dog' this saying developed from an activity in medieval times and was supposed to be a cure for a bite from a mad dog.  The belief was that if the person who was bitten by a mad dog, either ate some of that dogs hairs with a slice of bread and some rosemary, they would be protected. 


Another version was to bind the wound with some hairs from the dog and some herbs to gain the protection.  Today it is the saying associated with the attempted cure for feeling ill after an excess of alcohol had been consumed after a good night out.


The French Court was well known for its association with poodles in the eighteenth century.  At a time in that country's history when flamboyant dressing and status was all important the poodle was very popular.  The style and superficial values of the Court were developed and shown off in the way these dogs were groomed and the 'over the top' style has been connected with a lack of faith in things important in life. 


In Germany, history tells of the burial practices for the clergy who could not keep their vows.  Traditionally their gravestone had the symbol of a poodle on it.  The clear link with the poodle is unknown but it is suggested that the dog's ability of second sight was granted to the unfortunate clerics in death.  Another suggestion was that it symbolises 'lack of faith', as suggested by the interpretation of the French Court's fondness for flamboyant poodle grooming practices.  


Dogs mentioned in horror stories deserve a mention here.  The classic book, 'Hound of the Baskerville's' was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  It was suggested that the headless 'Yell Hounds' who appear at twilight, influenced his writing.  Such hounds are associated with the hunting of a person's spirit or soul.  Indeed through history, much has been recorded about the 'black dogs' or 'fairy dogs' that have been known to lead people to safety.


Legend associated with the hunt goes back as far as stories from ancient Greece.  The Goddess Diana was associated with spectral hounds that were hunting for lost souls.  Diana was supposed to ride on the back of one of the great hounds as the pack flew across the mystical sky.  


Prince Rupert (1619-1682) owned a dog named Boy.  Apparently those people around the Prince thought the dog was possessed by a witch's spirit.  The legend says that the witch, travelling in the form of a dog ensured the Prince's victory in all his battles.  This was because the dog was always at the Prince's side.  Prince Rupert was a commander in King Charles the first's cavalry.  The Prince's first major defeat when the dog was killed on June 1st 1644, at Marston Moor.  The defeat after the dog's death convinced all those who had been suspicious about a witch's presence that they had been right after all.


In the sixteenth century, only the Imperial Family of ancient China was permitted to own a Pekinese.  To honour Queen Elizabeth the first, the Emperor sent a dog and bitch to England accompanied by a royal princess.  The dog enjoyed playing on the ship's deck but the bitch was kept in the princess's cabin.  Five puppies were born during the crossing and they were housed in a beautiful little ivory box. 


The ships crew thought the princess was a demon in disguise and that the ivory box contained jewels.  A great storm blew up and the princess was taken on deck.  Some of the crew took this as an opportunity to steal what they thought was treasure in the box.  The dog bit one sailor and in revenge the sailors cast the princess and the box over the side.


After the storm the princess's body was washed up at Land's End and found by a local man.  The puppies were also found drowned.  The little bitch was alive but close to death.  It is said that the little bitch watched the man dig a grave for the princess, and watched him bury her, the puppies, and the box together.  He then laid a line of daisies in the shape of a cross on the top, gently placed the little bitch on top, and there she died.


The ship had made port and the sailor who had been bitten suddenly died.  Those who knew of the princess's grave did not go near as they feared the spirit of the 'Daisy Dog' haunted it.  


Over the years it is said that people who stumbled on the princess's grave were bitten and later died.  The spirit of the dog, known as the 'Daisy Dog' is forever sworn to protect his royal mistress, the bitch and the puppies meant only for the imperial Family and the Queen of England.  


Not much to do with Yorkshire, but as I love Doggies I included it.