Thursday, June 11, 2009


The Cult of the Greyhound worshiped at the site of the grave of St. Guinefort, a 13th century greyhound whose gravesite was believed to have miraculous curing properties. The story goes something like this: Guinefort was left at home to watch over the Lord of the manor’s infant son while the Lord was out hunting. Upon his return, the Lord found the nursery in disarray, the baby gone and Guinefort covered in blood. Assuming the worst, the Lord killed the greyhound, only to find his infant son under the upset bassinette and the shredded remains of a snake nearby. Rather than killing the baby as the Lord had originally thought, the dog had protected the child from attack. Dismayed at the unwarranted death of such a loyal pet, the family put the hound's body in a well and covered it with rocks. They planted trees around the well, creating a shrine. When local townspeople heard the story of the noble greyhound that protected and saved the infant, they began coming to the site to pray for miracles to help heal their own children. Though not officially recognized by the Catholic Church, Guinefort became a saint to infants. The Cult of the Greyhound lasted through the 1930, to the consternation of the Catholic Church.

I’ve said on numerous occasions being a greyhound owner is sort of like being in a cult. A weird bond forms between greyhound owners, I guess due to the peculiarities of sharing your life with this spectacular breed. Imagine my surprise when I found out there really was a Cult of the Greyhound. I personally have not gone so far as to construct a shrine to my dogs and haven’t regaled them to saint status. Though, my Mom would argue that the whole house is a shrine just based on the number of dog beds covering the floors in each room and squeaky toy relics strewn about. I am thinking of looking up the requirements for sainthood.

The 3 princesses on their seats of power with relics in close proximity, just waiting for offerings; preferably snacky treat tributes.

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