How can we mention all of the animal superstitions surrounding cats without mentioning the beliefs and notions surrounding man’s best friend? Dogs have been the subject of superstitions, but do you know which instances will provide you with a fresh batch of good luck and which ones are simply signs of something bad coming your way?
Dogs and a Newborn
When a newborn comes home, it’s a natural instinct not to let your dog come close, but in some circles, being licked by a dog is said to bless a baby with the ability to quickly heal. Those not licked by a dog are believed to grow to become slow healers.
Spirits of the Dead
The disturbing sound of a howling dog may mean that the wind god has summoned death and that he is ready to collect the spirits of the departed. Others believe that a dog that howls at night is a sign of bad luck and that someone close to you may become very ill, suffer a drastic accident, or death.
A Connection with the Supernatural?
Many people feel that dogs are equipped with the ability to sense the supernatural, such as seeing ghosts, spirits, deities, and even faeries , all of the entities that humans are unable to detect with their eyes. When a dog starts to bark uncontrollably, whimper or howl, you might be in the presence of an impending supernatural occurrence. In Wales, dogs were the only animals thought to sense the hounds of Annwn, which were thought to bring death. During ancient Greek times, it was thought that dogs could sense when Hecate was standing at a crossroads , foretelling a death.
In Suffolk, Norfolk, and the Isle of Man, the concept of black dog ghosts were thought to haunt bridges, crossroads, footpaths, lanes, and gates.
Throughout Britain, packs of ghostly hounds have been documented , often being heard (and not seen) during storm-riddled nights. Usually, people believe they foretell death or a disaster coming in the near future. If you should ever spot any, it’s recommended to drop your face downward and avoid having any eye contact.
Wicked Souls or Friendly Guides?
Black dogs have also earned a reputation as being the restless ghosts of wicked souls, but in some cultures, they are viewed as protectors and helpful guides to travelers.
If you’re sick, keep a howling dog away, as it was believed to be an omen of death or misfortune. Some believed if a dog howled close to a sickly person during a dead-quiet night, they would die.
If you’re interested in more dog superstitions, check out the second installment of this article, which takes a look at beliefs that center on rabies, curing the sick, and the different superstitions concerning black and white canines.