Garth Stein says that he got the idea for The Art of Racing in the Rain from a documentary about Mongolia. This documentary claimed that there is a common belief in Mongolia that a good dog can reincarnate as a human. Here’s some other myths, legends, and bits of folklore about dogs. Once again, my super-reliable source is Wikipedia – this is fun background info, not academia here.
1. Some Hindus believe that taking good care of a dog can get you into Heaven.
2. The second day of the Chinese New Year is considered to be the birthday of all dogs.
3. Saint Roch, also known as Saint Rocco, is the patron saint of dogs (in Catholicism). His feast day, celebrated in Bolivia on August 16, is known as the birthday of all dogs. If different countries provide different dates, should dogs get multiple birthday parties every year? Seems fair to me. As my husband points, out, by rights they should get seven.
4. The Black Dog, a supernatural portent of death, may be seen during thunderstorms in the British Aisles. The legend of The Black Dog was the inspiration for The Hound of the Baskervilles.
5. The maned wolf, which lives in South America, eats fruit, especially a species of tomato called a “wolf apple”. Over half of its’ diet comes from fruit. The red pigment in tomatoes, lycopene, is named for the wolf that finds it so appetizing.