Dogs play a role in all aspects of human history. They are part of our history, lore, our ancient belief systems, and our families. Dogmen, black dogs and hell hounds, werewolves, skinwalkers, shapeshifters, Ancient gods.. By no means, extensive, this short list provides a glimpse at the doglike creatures with which our imaginations and experiences are replete. If you sniff around long enough, it’s easy to catch the scent of truth that canine-like creatures and cryptids permeate our history.
Modern anthropology has often attributed this fascination with wolf and dog like creatures to be the mythologizing and anthropomorphizing of the dominant competing predator to ancient humans. Embracing what we fear to make sense of it. Archaeology has also weighed in on the role of dogs in advancing human civilization through evidence of domestication and interaction as far back at 16,000 years ago and perhaps even farther. This modern view creates a dichotomy of perspective. We simultaneously fear the canine for the threat it provides, while we also embrace it for the unique bond and relationship it holds with humans. This is all well and good, but can that strange balancing act of love and hate actually explain our fascination with these dog-like creatures that exist in every facet of our storytelling and experiences? Or, is there more to mankind’s history with our faithful four-legged companion than we realize? Something that might make us more connected and more alike than we readily acknowledge today. One thing is certain, this episode has truly gone to the dogs.
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