Announcements have been made across the media today that a canine tooth has been found at an archaeological dig in Wiltshire. It is approximately 7,000 years old; 2,000 years older than nearby Stonehenge. What’s more, analysis has revealed that the dog had drunk water in the Vale of York, meaning that it had travelled 250 miles.
The tooth is a major piece in the jigsaw that enables us to conjure a picture of the life of Mesolithic man but also a reminder of just how long dogs have been companion animals.
The size of the tooth is a clue to the fact that this dog would have been quite large and probably similar to a northern breed. We can only speculate on the relationship between man and dog, how they perhaps hunted together, kept each other safe, kept each other warm.
One thing is certain: we should pause to consider the life of this dog and compare it with an obese, pop-eyed, brachycephalic “handbag” dog born by Caesarean and consider long and hard what we have done in the intervening centuries.