My friend Greg is a hero. Not content to be discontent, he finds satisfaction in the little things in life. Here’s something he said to me the other day:
Me: [complaining about crumpets] What is crumpet made of, sponge?
Greg: [inserting a level of cheeriness into the proceedings] Just the fluff of heaven I think
Greg: Skimmed cloud
I aspire to have that level of eloquence and contentment.
A little later, we were chatting about how much I miss my dog. Greg, rather than taking things on a simplistic level, took a sideways swipe at the greatness of dogs in general.
Greg: Why aren’t dogs religious animals in any religions there much better than any saint maybe they’re aliens and one day they’ll do the whole so long and thanks for all the fish well except so long and thanks for all the hugs/bacon
Interestingly, although the Ancient Egyptians are best known for their obsessive love of cats, yet their jackal-headed god of the dead, Anubis, is strongly associated with dogs.
But it’s not just sort of creepy ancient religions that contain dogs; Christianity, a sort of creepy contemporary religion, also has mythology featuring dogs. For example, Lazarus’ sores were thought to be healed by the street-dogs who licked them.
However, dogs aren’t just symbols of healing, companionship and death: in Islam, dogs tend to be seen as unclean – indeed, in Spain, Islamic activists lobbied for dogs to be kept out of Muslim areas.
That said, this seminal Wikipedia page also indicates that dogs have been used as an argument against religion: Frans de Waals argues that dogs’ obedience to social rules demonstrates one’s capacity to be areligiously moral.
Thanks, Greg – for keeping my spirits up, and for alerting me to the role dogs play, not only in my life, but in the lives of many.