Dogs have been with humans for a very long time. Around 23,000 years ago, in what’s now Siberia, humans and gray wolves were hemmed in by the encroaching glaciers of the last Ice Age. No one knows for sure exactly how the two species started their relationship, with the leading hypothesis being that the friendlier wolves got used to people who gave them scraps or let them raid garbage piles, but that was the crucible in which the first domesticated dogs were born.
From there, the history of people and dogs was intertwined. Genetic evidence of both humans and dog suggest that they left Eurasia together as people and their pooches crossed the Bering Land Bridge to the ancient Americas together. The Smithsonian Magazine reports that ancient DNA evidence from an unassuming shard of bone reveals that it belongs – at 10,150 years old – to the most ancient dog yet found in the Americas. The close association between people and dogs so far back in time underscores an important point. ‘The movement and locations of ancient dogs are proxies to the movement of people, and vice versa, because our histories are closely linked because not far from where the 10,150-year-old dog bone was found, archaeologists have discovered 10,300-year-old human remains in a cave called Shuká Káa on nearby Prince of Wales Island, underscoring that people and dogs were here together’. In other words – Where people go, dogs go.
Over the centuries, they have played essential roles in our society. They are our mentors, companions, partners in work and play as well as our teachers. DNA research has also led to the deciphering of the genetic code of the dog, which makes the choice of the dog ideal as a ‘power animal’, in view of the study carried out by the Institute for Genomic Research and the Centre for the Advancement of Genomics. The study has identified 974,000 common variations in the dog’s genetic code, which will be crucial for understanding the genes that contribute to canine disease, and shedding light on human diseases, too.
An article in the Science Journal reveals that many of the 360 inherited dog diseases have human counterparts, and that the genetic code of the dog is spelt out by about 2,500 million ‘letters’, compared with the 3,000 million that describes their owners. “Dogs and humans share 650 million ‘letters’ and scientists have found an equivalent dog gene for three quarters of known human genes,” explained Dr Venture. “The fact that they are so similar, despite millions of years of evolution along separate tracks, suggests that they are important.” And, this fact should not be overlooked by magical practitioners when searching for a compatible power animal.
In general, ‘dog symbolism’ is a reminder that kindness will often get us a lot further than criticism. In other words, dog-meaning prompts us to allow ourselves to be gentle with those around us; moreover, we should accept that their paths are not necessarily similar or conjoined with ours. In some cases, dog-meaning can also be a reminder that we should always be loyal and truthful to ourselves. Therefore, we should make a point of being our own best friend. Furthermore, by having self-respect and self-value, we can love ourselves first, because when we have self-esteem, it will assure that others will respect us.
According to spirit-animals.com dog-symbolism can represent confusion about our loyalties, beliefs, and commitments. In other words, when we try to be everything for everyone, we end up losing sight of ourselves. The only way to resolve this is to put ourselves first and foremost. Thus, by letting go of everyone and everything else, we will be able to piece together what is right for us. When a hound comes baying into our life, it is a reminder that running with the pack is not always the right way for us to make progress. Moreover, we should step back a bit and sniff out something a little bit different for ourselves. If everyone is reaching for the same prize, what’s the point of having it?
For the most part, however, dog-power focuses on life’s purpose. All of these animals have work in the fields of rescue work, protection, and actual physical labour. People with the dog as their totem also have a great spirit and an enormous capacity to love and it takes a lot to break their spirit. Folks with the dog-totem are usually helping others or serving humanity in some way. They embody the loving gentleness of best friend and the fierce energy of the protector. People with this spirit animal will have a deep understanding and empathy of human shortcomings and have compassion for unconditional acceptance and love.
Dog-totem people are fiercely loyal to their pack and stick with them through thick and thin. They are unquestioningly, supportive, committed, and trustworthy. These folks will never abandon, undermine, or betray those close to them. People with dog-totem also have a passion for justice and fair play. As a result, they love to champion causes while being open-minded and willing to listen to others’ reasoning. They also have a great deal of wisdom, and are willing to share that knowledge generously. These folks have a lot of influence among their peers and have excellent insight into human nature. They are independent thinkers and know how to cut to the truth of matters.
Dog-people can learn from their four-footed companions how to tread this ancient path and follow in the footsteps of both their ancestors …
Shaman Pathways : Aubry’s Dog: Power Animals in Traditional Witchcraft by Melusine Draco is publishing by Moon Books www.moon-books.net : ISBN 978 1 78099 724 7 : UK£4.99/US$9.95 : 84 pages : Available in paperback and e-book format.
Dogs pictured: Noel and Gertie (racing greyhounds); Poppy (whippet); Harvey (mongrel) and Ferrero (Thai street-dog).