Sometimes the bark is worse than the bite. Sometimes its not…In the tradition of Greek mythology, Cerebrus, a triple headed canine, guarded the entrance of the gate of the dead, and served as a protector for those crossing over.Generally, the dog is a symbol of loyalty, fidelity and caution as well as protection ,domesticity and home life.Greek mythology also tells the myth of hunter Orion’s dog, Sirius and Egyptian mythology has a nether world god with the head of a jackal called Anubis. Chinese mythology reveres the hybrid Fu Dogs which are part dragon and lion.
Great Britain has the folk legend of Black Angus,” who also went under the alias the “hound of hell” whose visit foretold an approaching death. These mythological figures are embodiments and clues to an interpretation of the dog as multi-faceted dream symbol. So, dogs have always been used as symbols since antiquity. It is one of our most complex relationships since the dog exists, outside functional reasons, for what they actually express about ourselves.
Psychologically, it represents the voice of reason. But the dog is descended from the wolf, which symbolically, depicts opposing forces. A wolf represents the primitive parts of our psyche and the dog symbolizes the rational. The dog howling at the moon metaphor is a reminder that we must be conscious of both parts of ourselves, our inherent duality, which is a predisposition to being susceptible and vulnerable to inner conflict and an absence of equilibrium.
White Fang, from Jack London’s novel is a study of this seeming contradiction, with the white connotation in juxtaposition to primitive and aggressive meaning of the fang. This could mean that this soul torn between two impulses while being influenced by all. In the end, the fang loses its instinct and the hate and maliciousness is removed by an almost divine intervention of Weedon Scott. This is metaphor for many things, including capitalism and other modes of social organization. There is also the contrast between a bulldog Cherokee, and the concept of death, and escaping from it. When Cherokee had White Fang between his jaws, it looked over until Scott intervened to rescue. The symbolism being evil and tragic death can be overcome with goodness, a perhaps a bit of luck. But before London’s complex allegories and narrative, Thorstein Veblen saw the dog in the jaws of larger, equally complex forces:
“In this system, people buy things they can’t use to prove their status. Veblen argues that this comes from ancient and Medieval societies, where hunting and warfare were generally the realm of the nobility (the leisure class of their time period). Owning hunting dogs and weapons that one may never use was a sign of one’s status. In industrial societies, the rising middle classes also took to using possessions to signal status. People buy things to show that they are on the way up in the world, not because they are useful. It’s why people buy brand name clothes. It’s why people buy sports cars. It’s called conspicuous consumption. The term is Veblen’s own invention, although it is almost never attributed to him….
…It’s also why people buy “useless” dogs. It is no coincidence that the rise of purebred dogs and the mass production of family pets happens just as the industrial revolution begins to take off. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the dog everyone had to have was a Newfoundland. The dogs had a romantic history as working dogs on their native island. There were many stories of these dogs saving people from drowing, and how wonderful they were as ship’s dogs. Read More: http://retrieverman.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/veblens-theory-and-chinese-dogs/
Lassie ‘s creator, the British-American writer Eric Knight, knew about dogs. As a boy in Yorkshire, he had heard many dog stories from his uncle. He also knew about the difficulties of life in that area of England and later mentioned that “Lassie Come Home” was never so much a story about a dog as about a man and a boy: a father who accepted fate and a son who still had faith in miracles and believed in dreams.
After appearing in the Post the “Lassie” story was enlarged to book form and went through countless printings in more than 25 languages. The book spawned a popular movie Mat galvanized the career of 14-yearold Roddy McDowall and introduced the young Elizabeth Taylor. The movie’s sequel, Son of Lassie, was even more popular, and after that came a TV series that carried Lassie’s name to the far corners of the globe….
…The TV Lassie sometimes remained true to Eric Knight’s creation and sometimes went ridiculously beyond anything Knight would have approved. For Lassie was based on reality. The real Lassie was a collie named Tools that Jere Knight, the author’s wife, described as Eric Knight’s shadow. Read More: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-7002146.html a
Edgar Peters Bowron: Not all depictions of dogs in the Renaissance were lifelike or the result of firsthand observation, however, because many artists viewed animals as merely a vehicle for conveying a bewildering variety of complex and often contradictory symbols. Just as often as dogs were shown in Italian paintings as the companion of the young Tobias, protecting the youth as he wandered far and wide in search of the fish that would cure the blindness of his father, Tobit, they also carried the ancient burden of pariah, or scavenger, dogs, associated in the Old Testament with evil and unclean things, and in the New Testament with Christ’s persecutors. The dog was the faithful attribute of Saints Dominic, Margaret of Cortona, and Roch, as well as of the hunters Diana, Adonis and Cephalus, but it was also a symbol of sexuality and promiscuity. Yet church fathers, scholars, poets, and humanists were symbolized and accompanied by dogs. In Dürer’s engraving of Saint Jerome in His Study (1514; Bartsch 60), the saint works on his letters or translations, while his dog sleeps quietly nearby, a vivid symbol of the contemplative life. Read More: http://www.thebark.com/content/renaissance-art a