Numerous dog centered myths, superstitions and fallacies still plague people and call for some serious debunking. Even though we have entered the 21st century and consider ourselves educated and rational. And we are, when it comes to comparing the specifications of various high end gadgets before finalizing our purchase. But unfortunately when it comes to matters concerning our best friend, all the advancement goes poof!
Our ancestors were not as lucky as us when it came to the accessibility of knowledge, hence they at times made erroneous interpretations regarding things they had not much idea about. For instance, thunders and storms were misinterpreted as god’s anger and droughts and floods were considered as a punishment for our sins. That was acceptable then, but is a matter of ridicule now. Since science has now advanced enough to prove what happens, when, how and why.
But dogs seemingly haven’t been able to reap the benefits of this advancement somehow. As we have still not gotten rid of the ridiculous beliefs that have been passed on as heritage to generations, by the same ignorant people. There exist so many taboos hindering the dogs’ acceptance, let alone the adoration that they clearly deserve. Hence, pestered with this frame of mind, I took to writing today’s article ‘Dog myths, superstitions & fallacies debunked’. In order to expose the hollowness of the most common misconceptions, with logic, reason and proof.
Beginning with the most uninformed myth of all times..
NO, Dogs Are NOT Ungodly!
The dog loving gods:
There are numerous deities who are dog-headed. A few of them would be the Egyptian God ‘Anubis‘ and the Aztec God ‘Xolotl‘. There are also gods who have dogs as their mounts and companions such as ‘Bhairava‘, ‘Khandoba‘ and ‘Dattatreya‘ (as per Hinduism), ‘Saint Roch/Rocco‘ (as per Christianity), Greek gods ‘Hecate‘, ‘Ares‘ and ‘Artemis‘, and the Mesopotamian Godess ‘Gula‘, to name a few.
The dog centered celebrations:
There are festivals such as the ‘Kukur Tihar’ celebrated in Nepal and ceremonies such as the ‘Bark Mitzvah’ observed by the Jews, dedicated to dogs.
Dogs in religious scriptures:
Also are there directions of the ideal treatment of dogs at our hands, as per various religious scriptures. Specially worthy of mention would be the Zoroastrian holy book, ‘Vendidad’. That mandates treating dogs as you would treat humans and in case of cruelty which is a major sin, there are harsh punishments imposed in this life and damnation in the after.
Aren’t these proof enough to discard the myth created and reinforced by ignorant people who claim that dogs are unholy? Whereas they are actually and factually not only divine but also the best gift to mankind!
I have written a detailed article, (elaborating on the above never-heard-before-god-names) on the religious significance of dogs in various religions and cultures spread across the globe. Check it out here.
Yet another trumped-up myth/superstition..
NO, Black Dogs Are NOT Inauspicious!
Black coated dogs are not unlucky. Are black haired/skinned humans considered any unluckier than the white or brown ones? We have devised the concept of ‘racism’ to defend ourselves, why doesn’t that apply to all creatures? People baselessly consider the black dogs as embodiment of evil. Whereas in reality black dogs like white or brown or mixed ones, are just embodiment of unconditional love who will protect you with their lives even if you happen to feed them scraps!
Special religious significance of black dogs in India:
In India too, black dogs are frowned upon by many, for reasons best known to them. Whereas according to Hinduism keeping a black dog at home is believed to please the God ‘Shani’. The first thing an Indian astrologer would ask you to do, if you are going through a tough time (‘Shanidasha’) due to the misalignment of planets (‘Rahu’ and ‘Ketu’), is to get a black dog, and feed him well! How contradictory!
One more far-fetched superstition..
NO, Dogs’ Crying Is NOT Evil Omen!
It is not even them crying. It is ‘howling’. Dogs howl throughout the day, and at night too. It has nothing to do with something bad that is about to happen or ghosts loitering nearby or any of those weird superstitions! It’s just that nights are comparatively less noisy than the hours of the day. During daytime there are people talking and shouting and driving and honking. Appliances and machines are run in houses and factories. TVs and phones are constantly adding to the noise. All these factors lead to us, not being able to hear these dogs distinctively. But during the nights there is a whole lot of silence that attracts our attention to these animals, who are just acting themselves.
Why dogs howl:
They howl when they sense possible harm nearing them or any of their pack members. In order to quickly alert themselves of any unforeseen threat. Also to get their members united if someone goes astray in the dark. If one of the members find a source of food that can feed more than one dog, they call out the rest to come and join. Just part of their basic survival instinct. It is only about communication, just the way we do, the only difference is that they bark in different pitches and tones for different messages, because they aren’t blessed like us with internet or phones!
The most widespread delusion..
NO, Dogs DO NOT Await The Slightest Opportunity To Bite Innocent Humans!
Dogs bite only when they absolutely have to. Only when that is their last resort. They bite if they feel threatened, to protect themselves or anything very dear to them, such as their babies, food, territory or anything important. If a dog is sitting in the corner of a street and a stranger just calmly walks past them minding his own business, they won’t just get up and bite them for fun! Sick humans torture dogs for fun. Dogs don’t do that ever. It simply does not even occur to them. Dogs are not savage, they always act according to their principles. Their brains are wired like that, they simply cannot do anything unjustifiable, even if they should because they aren’t built that way.
When & why, if at all, do dogs bite:
An undisturbed dog will never simply walk up to you and bite you. They will only do so if you go near them and do something that causes them discomfort, only then will he first try to tell you to back off leaving him alone through some or the other kind of body language, because they can’t speak. They will growl, exposing their teeth and wait for you to take that hint. If you still continue pestering them and they have no other option but to fight you, only then will they get into using their teeth on your flesh. Canines have a code and they follow it just like all other animals except humans. It will always be in that sequence consisting of alerting you first. And only in case you carry on with the provocations, will you actually end up getting bloody.
The last similar miscalculation..
NO, All Dog Bites Do NOT Cause Rabies!
Cases of patients with Rabies fall under the ‘very rare’ category in India which statistically is fewer than 100 thousand cases per year! The dogs you see on the street are not rabid. Rabid dogs don’t live long enough to become a statistic. Rabies kills the dog within a week or maximum a fortnight.
The surprising actual rabies reservoirs:
Also, more than 90% of all rabid animals reported to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) each year occur in wildlife. The animals that have rabies the most are raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. All pets, can cause rabies. In the United States, bat bites are the most common source of rabies infections in humans, and less than 5% of the cases are from dogs! Also rabies is reported in cats more than in any domestic species! Although fatal if left untreated, a vaccine can prevent rabies both before or soon after an animal bite.
For source and more details click here.
And with that I’ll call it a day. ‘Like’ my article ‘Dog myths, superstitions and fallacies debunked’ if you enjoyed it. Thinking of another point I might have missed? Just ‘comment’ below. Know someone who might need/want to read this? ‘Share’ it with them and help me reach more people, and appeal to their reason in order to make this world a better place for dogs. In case you want to get notified every time I post some new content, simply ‘subscribe’ for free to my newsletter.
Stay dog blessed!