If you go back through paintings from as far back as the 1600s, you can find dogs holding lit flares in their mouths!
Some of the paintings feature good-sized dogs, others have small ones.
In some images, the dogs are holding thick flares; some show thin ones, like sticks of incense.
A piece on Artnet calls it the “smoking dog motif.”
These are not actually smoking dogs.
They’re also not trying to commit arson or lead Indiana Jones through a dark cave.
This is religious imagery, and it helps to explain that today, August 8th, is the feast day of St. Dominic.
He’s known in some parts of the world as Santo Domingo and he was the founder of the Dominican religious order.
There’s a legend that Dominic’s mother, Joan, had a dream about having a dog with a torch in its mouth that would light the world on fire.
The dream signified that Joan’s son would change the world.
Supposedly Dominic’s name was even a reference to the dream (Domini canis is Latin for “the Lord’s dog”).
The dogs are known as the “hounds of St. Dominic.”
And they usually show up in paintings that represent Joan or Dominic himself.
So if you see one of these paintings and spot a dog, don’t worry that they’re trying to light anybody on fire or do anything nefarious.
The dogs know what they’re doing.
It’s International Cat Day.
A few years ago YouTuber Mathieu Stern came across a time capsule in the basement of his home.
What he found inside was film dating back to the year 1900.
He carefully developed the film inside and found pictures of cats.
Some things never change!