The dogs of the Viking Age were both working animals and beloved companions.
That’s quite unlike your common or garden variety Maltese who has never done a lick of work in his life.
We know Viking dogs were considered devoted friends because they were frequently buried along side their masters.
Ancient runestones show Viking warriors entering Valhalla and being greeted by a Valkyrie with a horn full of mead while the warrior’s faithful hound waits patiently nearby, no doubt hoping for a chunk of wild boar jerky.
The Norse afterlife was not complete without the pooch.
Frigga, wife of Odin and goddess of marriage and fidelity, was believed to travel in a chariot drawn by a pack of dogs, perfect symbols of fidelity and faithfulness.
Yes, with a wife named Frigga, the jokes just write themselves. Behave yourselves.
Dogs did not play a big role in The Vikings, the 1958 “Norse Opera” that was a big box office hit starring Kirk Douglas, Janet Leigh, and Tony Curtis . If you haven’t seen the flick, follow Kirk Douglas’ advice and keep an eye out for it.
Despite a paucity of canines, the movie taught us much about Viking feasting and bad table manners fueled by copious quantities of mead and an occasional monster-sized turkey leg.
Who could forget Ernest Borgnine as the fearsome Ragnar?
Well, I forgot, but here’s a little factoid you probably don’t know: Ernest Borgnine played Ragnar, the father of Einar, played by Kirk Douglas but in real life Borgnine was born almost two months after Douglas.
Other famous Vikings include those that hail from Minnesota. They include a group of Valkyries known for their, um, pom poms. Yeah, that’s it.
The movie also made the Viking funeral a familiar meme, replete with flaming arrows that set the longship on fire as friends and neighbors cry out “Odin!”
I requested this kind of funeral in my Last Will and Testament.
If you hear of a flaming ship off Waikiki and a bunch of guys kicking back in the sand and quaffing mead, you’ll know I have passed to Valhalla and I’m probably already scamming on my Valkyrie.
There is absolutely no justification for putting a Viking helmet on our long suffering Malt. One daughter begged us not to embarrass Max with a costume so of course we lied to put her at ease. Sorry, hon, it was a random act of dog abuse.
As to choice of costumes, well, we are not the most imaginative of couples. I mean, we named the pupster “Max” which is the most common dog name in America. I guess that is better the second choice “Tofu” but it’s not imaginative.
So when it came to Halloween we opted for the lowest common denominator of dog outfits – the Viking hat.
The AJF calls this a case of father-son silliness. She doesn’t realize Max and I fully intend to go out in public like this and try to cadge some free candy.
Categories: Max's Stories