Karnak Temple DogsI’ve been working on my spiritual travel memoir for over two years, and I think it’s finally ready! I’ll be publishing the book this fall under the Spirit Quest World publishing imprint – in the meantime, enjoy this excerpt from the chapter, The Dogs of Egypt

The first dog I met in Egypt didn’t want to have anything to do with me. That was a surprise. I am by nature an animal person, so drawn to them that I am distracted from anything else until I make friends with whatever critters are in my sightline (I will skip the embarrassing story about trying to chat up a wild mule outside a temple). We have three dogs right now, all strays, all found within a block of our home: a German Shepherd/Pit Bull mix who was badly abused by the asshole who owned him before we did, a Black Lab who worships me, and a butter-yellow Chihuahua mix who actually came running in the front door. You know how hobos make a mark on the entrance to a house that will give them refuge? Greg thinks our house has a hobo dog mark: the redhead’s a pushover.

I’ve noticed each temple has its own dog pack, except Philae, which is a haven for dozens of cats; I have never seen a dog in the years I’ve been coming. Since Philae is out on an island, someone must have brought the animals in originally (cats are not known for swimming). But now there are many, all flea-ridden and crusty; sweet, friendly creatures who will sit with you and be petted, and then are off to greet another visitor. On a visit to Philae, two cats accompanied us right into the sanctuary, and just as we started our ceremony, began yowling at each other in the most strangulated tones. It was hilarious, listening to a kitty cacophony as we were trying to do our ceremony to awaken the energy of the temple. You could almost imagine what they were saying:
“I got here first, dammit!”
“Temper, temper — you’re on sacred ground, remember?”
“But this group of legs belongs to me — you can take the next one!”

The dogs are different. I noticed my first temple dogs at Sakkhara. Despite almost starving, they kept their distance, wary. Greg and Lyra and I all had brought Power Bars with us — those so-called energy bars that are a cross between a Fig Newton and a Sugar Daddy. So we started feeding the dogs bits of Power Bars, which was the only way we could get them to come near us; Greg nicknamed it “Food of the Dogs.” Egyptian dogs are vaguely domestic, but half-wild and it appears that all have been mistreated in some way or another. Over the years I have seen guards kick dogs, throw rocks or sticks at them, yell and drive them off, but I have also seen others pet them or share their lunchtime sandwiches, even though that is all they (or the dogs) will eat during the day.

The energy of each of the temples may have something to do with the dogs’ behavior, (although possibly the guards’ as well). At the Temple of Horus I have only heard dogs, never seen them. They keep far away from the visitors, but they bark and howl at us. On my first trip, I found only one dog who would talk to me, and, like a little child with a black dog called Blackie, I named him Egypt. He was what I came to consider the typical Egyptian male of the species: medium-sized, the color of the desert, and popular with the ladies. I met Egypt the Dog at Karnak, which we visited at dawn…