chapter  13
“A dog will come and knock at the door, but remember to treat him as a human”
The legend of the dog in Sámi tradition
ByNuccio Mazzullo
Pages 16

In this chapter, the author describes that the dog was indispensable in all the activities and it has been highly appreciated as a co-worker and companion by Sami reindeer herders. Sami livelihood is commonly associated with reindeer herding, although this practice has developed alongside other activities. Probably around the seventeenth century – the exact time frame is debated among scholars – the Sami people increased the number of reindeer they kept to tame and train, while also hunting wild reindeer. The dog had played an important role in the lives of Sami people long before this transition from hunting to herding. Near the beginning of the seventeenth century, the dog was co-opted into the new way of life, and has since then kept a central position in reindeer herding. The dog's long relationship with the Sami is evident in historical sources. The legend provides a mythical explanation of the relationship and the important position the dog keeps in Sami families.