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Poodles, Puddles and Protein

Here’s a couple of snippets on dogs – for those of tender disposition, look away!

In Meso-America (the earliest societies of the Maya, Mexico and the Peruvian Andes) it seems they were rather fond of their dogs. Other domesticated animals appear to have been few, and dog meat their main source of protein in a diet that otherwise consisted of maize, pulses and root-crops.It’s a strange consequence of that fact that they had no large animals for pulling heavy objects, and therefore had no vehicles or proper roads. It appears too that although they understood the principle of the wheel, it was only used for amusement and playthings.

And for another doggy fact: never bathe your pooch in a public drinking fountain, as one of the Cardinal of Carcassonne’s retinue did on September 5th 1367. They were passing through Viterbo (a Papal state about 50 miles north of Rome) when it was decided that the Cardinal’s dog, Cagnolino, needed a wash. Someone dunked the little poodle into the public drinking fountain, whereupon a local woman shouted out a very reasonable objection - health and safety and all that - only to be run through by the man’s sword for her trouble. Which was when things really got out of hand, as her screams brought other people running, and the crowds soon rioted, unrest spreading exponentially through the whole of Viterbo, from city wall to city wall. Many people died as a consequence, both locals and visiting church dignitaries, and seven of Viterbo’s citizens were subsequently hanged.

You wouldn't eat me, would you? And have to say, not that keen on being washed either...

Clio Gray, author of historical novels including the Scottish Mystery Series

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