The Werewolf & Your Dog
Does your delightful, playful puppy, or your gentle dog, at times behave more like a wild, untamed beast than a domesticated pet?
Not to worry, for the ancestral wolf that lives in your beloved dog will at one time or another emerge – most likely around the full moon.
Venturing into the realm of legend and superstition . . . is it possible that a werewolf lives inside of your favorite canine?
I have always loved the supernatural – witches, warlocks, mermaids, vampires, shape-shifters, ghosts, and extra-terrestrials, but the werewolf was not one of my favorites.
However, after living with my beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniels for over a decade, I have discovered that they share the combined traits of both human and wolf, better known as the werewolf, and I have come to appreciate the many legends passed on through the ages about the werewolf.
Dating back to antiquity, people have believed in the existence of the werewolf. Ovid writes of men who roamed the terrain of Arcadia in the form of wolves, and Virgil wrote of humans transformed into wolves.
Folklore throughout Europe, Russia, Asia, and the Americas, embellished the myth of the werewolf, with each culture marking their own stamp on the legendary beast.
But what percentage of these the stories are myth, as opposed to reality?
I ponder this question for a few reasons.
The first falls in the realm of science.
Let me give you an example. If you and I were living in Europe during the 13th century, and we expressed our ideas to a trusted member of the church about how someday people would be able to turn a knob on a wooden box and a voice could be heard; or if we had said that someday a man would walk on the moon; or even if we had said the earth was not flat, but rather round, I fear that we would have been branded as possessed, crazy, or worse, we would have been tortured and killed.
Yet a “short” time later, in the scope of human existence, all of these ideas would be realized, and we humans would marvel at our own ingenuity and creativity, as well as look back in time and ponder the simplistic and narrow minded ideas of our ancestors.
Contemporary doctors and psychiatrists have also discovered a disorder called Lycanthropic Disorder, which is a mental condition where a patient believes that they are a werewolf. Of course the patient does not change shape, or grow fangs, however doctors have discovered that if a patient suffers from this condition they are capable of acting out, and being as dangerous as a mythical werewolf.
I believe that science can help us understand, and prove all of the ideas and concepts that we still find mysterious.
The second reason that I entertain the myth of supernatural beings, in this case, werewolves, is the experiences that I have had with my own dogs.
While they have not shifted into a human form, they have exhibited human behaviors and emotions. They express the need for affection, love, caring, kisses and caresses; they exhibit fear and anxiety; they know when they have been naughty; they charm me into giving them a few extra treats; and they seek comfort like sleeping on the softest pillow, and clawing at the sofa until I lift them up and delicately place them on a pillow (the wooden floor is no place for a ‘king’).
Yet, I have also experienced and noticed the primitive wolf inside of them.
C.C. Belle has clearly crowned herself the alpha dog in our pack. At the water bowl she pushes Lulu Belle and Riece out of the way so that she can drink first.
When she was a puppy, she would aggressively lunge for a treat that had fallen to the floor, or if I had accidently dropped a treat, she would pounce on the morsel, pinning it under her belly while she finished the treat already in her mouth. She would even store treats on the inside of her mouth, while waiting to gobble up her brother’s and sister’s treats.
Over the years she has become more territorial. She does not want the other two dogs near me when we are sitting on the sofa or lying on the bed. She growls, barks and snaps at her brother, Riece, so that he knows to stay away from me.
Riece, usually a gentle, sweet soul, is now larger than C.C. Belle (although she either does not recognize the size difference, or she is truly fearless). While he has never hurt her, he pins her to the bed, growling back at her in a deep guttural tone. He rarely barks, so it takes me by surprise. She does not give up and fiercely growls back, even while pinned down by his paws.
C.C. Belle also aligns herself with the strongest member of the family. When we are all together, watching a movie, she curls herself around my partner. When he is not present, she lays on my shoulder. When I am not around, she plops her body right down next to Lulu Belle, and finally if Lulu Belle is not near, she cuddles with Riece.
Riece, a quiet, gentle dog, has become increasingly more aggressive when we take our walks. If another larger, male dog approaches, he begins to growl and lunge toward the dog. I believe that he is protecting me . . . but who knows for sure.
My experience with my own dogs, mini-werewolves, has given me a better understanding of them but also the human condition, and thus helped me to be a better person.
While our canine companions may not change their physical forms, their dual nature suggests a mirror image of our own human existence. While most people are neither all good nor all evil, we do fall somewhere within the spectrum. Even the nicest person on a bad day could be cruel, and conversely, the nastiest person on a good day may show a great act of kindness.
Our dogs, like the mythical werewolves, help us to balance, temper, accept and appreciate the dual sides of our human nature, and for this I am grateful.
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