Valkyrie Bestiary

Doing Our Best to Care for the Fae

Canines of many colors

November 22, 2076

I happened upon a pet adoption event at Abbott’s Agora today. A local animal shelter was showcasing its adoptees at the market. Since my apartment is tiny and already packed with cages and critters, I had to pass up the chance to adopt. But it was a close thing. So many cute puppies! Maybe one day, when circumstances allow, I’ll get myself a little dog—one of those fuzzy-slipper-with-eyes kind of dogs. For now, I have to be content to window shop at pet stores. 

Looking at all those wonderful and needy faces got me thinking about our love-fear relationship with canines. It has always struck me as a little odd that mythology is riddled with stories of evil canines—from hell hounds to werewolves, black dogs to monstrous wolves—and yet the lowly dog is supposed to be man’s best friend. That makes me think that many old tales sprouted from fear but also maybe a grain of truth. 

I grew up running with hell hounds and can attest that they can be gentle, loyal creatures. They can also rip out a man’s throat if needs be. And since their coming-out party, werewolves have proven to be no more or less evil than anyone else. 

There is one hound whose very name still makes my bones shiver. That is Garmr, Hel’s pet and guardian of the gate to the underworld. Maybe it still affects me because my older cousins took delight in scaring me with tales of Garmr. If Ragnarok really happens, Garmr will be the one to open the gates and let the demons loose. But what really makes me sad is the legend that evolved around his offspring. It was said that the blood from a pup of Garmr’s seed could cure any illness, bring fertility, prosperity and wisdom. Too many dogs were killed in the Garmr’s name, both on Terra and in other lands. So many innocent dogs lost to human and Aesir foolishness. I think that’s why his legend still sticks with me.

What are some of your favorite canines—real or imagined? 

Comments (4)

There’s an Abenaki myth about Azeban, the trickster dog. I may have some literature on it, but the Abenaki are from up your way. 
cchedgewitch (November 22, 2076)

     Good to know. I’ll look it up in Montreal’s archives.
     Valkyrie367 (November 22, 2076)

Blood sausage will get you through any cold winter. Don’t knock it til you try it. 
HomesteadingWhizard (November 23, 2076)

     You spelt wizard rong, dum-ass.
     Peeky00you (November 23, 2076)