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8 Superstitions About Dogs and Their Meanings

Cindy is an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.


1. Black Dogs

Statistically speaking, black dogs are the least likely to be adopted from shelters. Much like their feline counterparts, they are victimized to this day by antiquated notions of the past.

One of these sentiments asserts that if you are walking outside after dark and discover that you are being followed by a black dog, you'd do well to quicken your step. Supposedly, if such a creature sets its sights on an individual during the twilight hours, this means that their soul has been marked for collection by the ruler of the netherworld. These hellhounds, as it turns out, are not dogs at all but rather servants of the devil.

This superstition took hold centuries ago in parts of Europe when vagabonds and drunkards began disappearing in the dead of night. In order to explain this phenomena, rumors began to circulate purporting that black dogs sent from the depths of Hell were roaming the streets and outlying areas in search of vulnerable souls.

Viewed as undesirables who were obviously up to no good, the victims were often blamed for the circumstances that led to their untimely demise. As a result, the threat of mythical black dogs was used to keep wayward husbands, and those who didn't know when to say when, in line lest they fall into the clutches of Satan's soul collectors.


2. A Friendly Stray

Most of us have encountered a stray dog at one time or another. While some of these four-legged wanderers are shy and fearful, others act as if they have known us their entire lives. It is the latter that inspired a pair of superstitions rooted in the canine's remarkable insight into the human condition.

If a dog you have never seen before runs up to you with a lolling tongue and furiously wagging tail, this is purportedly a sign that a long-lost love is thinking of you and will reenter your life in the near future. The dog, anticipating the emotions this joyous reunion will bring, cannot conceal its enthusiasm.

It is also believed that a stray dog who smothers a stranger with attention is acting on behalf of someone who has completed their journey into the afterlife. The exuberant canine is simply relaying to the living that a loved one for whom they still grieve has made the transition and is at peace.

3. Faithful Guardians

It is believed that dogs not only possess the ability to see specters, but can also drive them away if need be. Unlike most humans, canines are pure of heart, making them sworn enemies of those with ill intentions. This includes, but is not limited to, the nastiest entities the dark realm has to offer.

While spirits seldom pose a threat to the living, they can, and do, wreak havoc if given half a chance. Dogs, sensing the presence of these supernatural interlopers, will often alert their owners that something is amiss. Unfortunately, these warnings aren't always heard or understood. When this miscommunication occurs, the family pet is tasked with taking care of the problem themselves.

Since most earthbound spirits go out of their way to lay low, being outed by the family pet is a complication they neither want or need. Realizing that they have been seen, and not wishing to be confronted by an angry dog at every turn, these put-upon entities will usually retreat rather than face the unflinching devotion of an overprotective dog.


4. A Limping Dog

Seeing a pitiful dog limping along on a street is a sad event in and of itself. As lore has it, to witness the animal's plight and do nothing will result in a spate of bad luck befalling the person who turned their back on a soul in need.

Fate's punishment for this act of indifference is to hobble the careless observer, metaphorically speaking. Much like the limping dog, the individual will soon find that the world they once knew is no more. Any success they had experienced in the past will be wiped away; replaced by failure at every juncture.

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Divorce, financial hardship, health scares and even homelessness are said to await those who ignore a dog that cannot touch all four paws to the ground. If, however, they offer the animal comfort and medical attention, their show of kindness will be rewarded tenfold.


5. The Power to Heal

A long-standing superstition has it that if a dog licks a wound, yours or theirs, it will heal faster. While some canines take this to extremes, it has been shown that the action does indeed have curative properties.

The simple exercise of rubbing an injury can hasten healing since it acts to manipulate the area, sending an army of antibodies to the rescue. Unlike humans, who have notoriously dirty mouths that would put a Komodo dragon to shame, dogs' saliva contains enzymes known to hasten healing. Along with this natural antibacterial cleanser, the licking itself helps to clear away any debris or dirt that may have gotten trapped in the wound.

So, the next time Fido wants to go to town on a bothersome scratch or bruise, don't be afraid that he or she will make things worse. On the contrary, your canine caregiver might be just what the doctor ordered.


6. Bringers of Life

Infertility is a painful reality for scores of hopeful parents all over the world. While medical intervention can make conception a reality, superstition holds that couples in search of a miracle need look no further than the family dog.

It is said that if a dog lies across the belly of a woman who has tried in vain to conceive, she will learn soon afterwards that she is with child. Along those same lines, it is believed that canines can sense pregnancy in its earliest stages. If a dog suddenly begins treating its female owner as if she is a fragile object that could break at any moment, this is taken to mean that a baby will be joining the family. Even though the mother-to-be may not be aware of the new life that is forming, the dog will be exceedingly gentle in order to protect not only her, but the embryo she now hosts.

7. Seers of Death

If a dog refuses to enter a room despite their owner's best efforts to coax them across the threshold, this indicates that something tragic has occurred in the space or will in the near future.

The fact that dogs have an exceptional sense of smell is undeniable. It is this keen ability that is used to explain their aversion to certain rooms within a home. Capable of detecting scents that are imperceptible to humans, they often know what has transpired in a dwelling simply by sniffing the air. As a result, if someone has died in a residence, regardless of how much time has passed since the incident, a canine will pick up on this and avoid the area; not because they are afraid, but out of reverence for the deceased.

If a dog gives a wide berth to a room that has not yet been touched by death, this suggests that the Grim Reaper has set his sights on one of the occupants. Sensing that a life will be coming to an end within the confines of the room, the dog will steer clear. It would appear that the stench of death, whether realized or predicted, is something that few dogs will suffer willingly.


8. A Howling Dog

Some dogs seem to bay at just about everything. For instance, we discovered soon after adopting one of our canine companions that he has an unnerving habit of howling every time he hears a siren. We eventually learned that his former owner had been taken away in an ambulance after suffering a heart attack from which he never recovered. From then on, his dog, now ours, would mimic the sound that pierced through the night as the man who had raised him from a puppy was taken away, never to return.

According to superstition, to hear a dog howling for no apparent reason means that death is approaching. Rather than merely announcing the harsh reality, the canine is actually believed to be calling it forth. Whether this is done maliciously, which is doubtful, or as a merciful act is up for debate. In the end, as with everything else involving dogs, it's best to trust their judgement. They are, after all, angels on earth.






This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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