Dogs are regarded as members of society in many cultures. In this case, a dog was elevated to the role of god.

I am Anubis, Absolute Ruler of the Underworld. I am Egyptian. My face and arms are black, and my ears stick upright out of the top of my head. I have thick legs that taper to a fine, upright heel, with paws that allow me to pivot in my work. Some people have referred to me as a jackal, or a wolf. Those canids could not withstand the rigors of my job.

I am an embalmer. A mummifier. In ancient times, I raided cemeteries and dug up freshly buried corpses to consume them. But no longer. I now preserve death.

In addition, I judge the dead. In fact, I am the Guardian of the Scales. No one else has such an important role as me. When a dead person is brought before me, I take my instructions directly from the Book of the Dead. I am told to follow Ma’at, or truth. Ma’at involves the propriety of the person’s life, and it is symbolized by a feather. I place the feather on one side of the Scale of Judgment and the person’s heart on the other.

If the feather is heavier, I ascend with the dead person to further existence in Heaven.

If the heart is heavier than the feather, then at once the person is consumed by a female demon, Ammit, who is known as “the devourer of the dead.”

Thus the dead are an example to the living. This is my role.

I also protect the tombs of the dead. Those that inhabit the tombs carve my likeness into the walls where they wish protection. They write prayers to me so that I may better fulfill my role.

How, you may ask, did I leave the role of desecrator of corpses and take on the role of protector?

Simply, the Gods asked for my help. Let me be specific. There were two brother gods, Osiris and Set. Osiris was the oldest, and he became King or Pharaoh. But Set never forgave his brother for taking the throne rather than letting Set become ruler. The younger brother therefore transformed himself into a monster, and slashed Osiris to bits. Then he scattered the parts of his body all over Egypt………..

In the Company of Dogs
By Jeannette Barnes