Dogs: Little Known Facts
At the threshold of a 2000 year old house in Pompei, is this writing on a tile –“Cave Canem”. This means –“Beware of dog”.
Origins of the Word 'Terrier'
The breed of dog known as terrier gets its name from the Latin “terrarius” or “of the earth”. A fox terrier runs the fox “to earth”.
Dogs Respected in Ancient Egypt
Dogs were held in great esteem in ancient Egypt. The city of Cynopolis took its name from “cynos”, which means “dog”. Its citizens were forced by law to provide for all their stray dogs and they even went to war when someone from a neighbouring state ate one of their dogs!
Old American Beliefs About Dogs
In America, when a yellow dog follows you around or a strange dog accompanies you home, you’re lucky. A dog rolling about means visitors, a dog eating grass foretells rain, and as anywhere else, a dog howling at night is an omen of death. Dogs are believed to have supernatural perceptions and are said to see Death himself.
The Hindus on Dogs
The Hindus believe that the dog is equal in status to man: “The wise will look upon a Brahmana possessed of learning and humility, and on a dog.”
The Zend-Avesta of the Persians on Dogs
According to the “Zend-Avesta”, the sacred book of the ancient Persians, the stray dog, being compared to the holy begging monk, was well provided for and protected by religious laws. The “Zend-Avesta” decribes the stray dog as “self-clothed and selfshod, watchful, wakeful and sharp-toothed, born to watch over man’s goods”. Among the five sins cited in the text, two concern the dog: Giving him food too hot to eat or refusing him food while you are eating.
The Three Holy Dogs of the Spainiards
The Spaniards speak of three dogs, Cubilon, Melampo and Lubina, who went with their masters to pay homage to the baby Christ in Bethlehem. Even today it is considered lucky to call dogs by these names.
The Well-Fed Dogs of Babylon
The Governor of Babylon possessed so many dogs that four towns were freed from taxes if the inhabitants fed their dogs properly.
The Hebrews on Dogs
Although the Hebrews disliked dogs because the Egyptians revered them, they knew their value: “Dwell not in a town where no barking dog is heard,” they said.
Dogs and the Exodus
A cording to legend, when the Jews embarked on their secret exodus from Egypt in search of the promised land , not one Egyptian dog protested. “They did not move their tongues against man or beast”.
The image of the watchdog stems from the ancient belief about the personal dog ghost that protects him on lonely roads and the divine dog that protects man’s soul on its way to heaven.
The Buddha as a Dog
The dog, as one of the incarnations of the Buddha, brought enlightenment to man.