Cats might rule the internet, but dogs come a close second. The same is true in Medieval manuscripts. Well, it might be a photo finish with the monkeys, snails, and rabbits (yes, snails), but more on that later.
You can find dogs doing lots of things in Medieval manuscripts: playing instruments, reading books, working as scribes, break-dancing, and riding goats into battle (don’t ask). They’re also portrayed as frequent and faithful companions on the hunt and in battle. The devotion of the Medieval dog to his master is never in question.
But, you can also find dogs doing regular dog things.
For example, they never really did accept the cat. However, my money is still on the cat to kick all their asses.
There’s also you traditional domestic standoff. Dog wants to play. Cat wants no part of it. Dog gets huffy. Cat prepares to kick ass.
The dog on the right is clearly just waiting for the cat to leave the safety of the bench, and then it’s ON.
Dogs will be Dogs, Mostly.
Has your dog ever given you side eye? Like when you need to take them outside in the rain to do their business or mentioned the b-a-t-h or the v-e-t? Or even worse, asked them to move from their (your) spot on the couch? These hounds clearly disapprove of you, the monks who drew them, and whoever is reading the manuscript.
You know that sound? *That* sound? The glunngh glunngh glunngh that comes right before dinner is reproduced all over the carpet/bed/sofa? Medieval peeps were apparently familiar with that sound, too. To the point where they were moved to show these dogs vomiting in manuscripts.
Mostly, though, dogs spent the Middle Ages just being dogs. Doing the things they do best…like…
Begging at the table.
Being annoyed by/chasing insects.
Fighting over bones.
And, the perennial favorite, hogging the bed…
Which leads to the other favorite, being kicked out of the bed.
But the best things that dogs have always been – and will always be – are a girl’s best friend.***
See more fun dogs on my Pinterest board: Marginal Dogs.
***This post is Denny Basenji-approved.