The Romans were a group of people who lived a long time ago and had a funny way of keeping count. They also had a penchant for crucifixion. Crucifixion was the best idea at the time for making people suffer and die. If you did it right, crucifixion could take four days to die from. Roman soldiers used to stab people who were already suffocating on the cross because it hurried things along. You see, a Roman soldier couldn’t go anywhere until the misery finally ended. Imagine stabbing someone because you had better places to be! The Romans crucified a lot of people, including a man named Jesus. Jesus was stabbed, too, because someone had something better to do. People would make a big deal out of that one crucifixion.
The Romans also crucified dogs. Yes, dogs. Another group of people, called the Gauls, snuck in and ransacked Rome because they didn’t especially want to be Romans. To enter unannounced, the Gauls fed the starving guard dogs outside the Roman walls. In return, the dogs didn’t bark. The people with the funny numbers never let dogs live it down. Every year, in ceremony, dogs were nailed to dog-sized crosses and paraded through the streets.
Supplicia canum. Punishment of the dogs.
I’m universally against crucifixion. No one should be nailed to planks of wood. If I could fit into a swimsuit, I would tell America that I’m against crucifixion. We had our modern selves a convention in Geneva where we drew lines between miseries like that. The Romans didn’t have a Geneva convention.
But let’s be honest, that man Jesus was a rabble rouser. He had funny ideas about God. For one, he thought he was God. The dogs just wanted to eat. Jesus promised to return. Dogs never left. Jesus promised love. Dogs give love unconditionally.
Now, people sit in big buildings with pointy roofs and pray to that man Jesus. That’s ok if that’s how they want to spend their Sundays and they don’t get too crazy over it. But dogs humbly sit next to us and watch patiently as we type into glowing rectangles. We’ve played make-believe with their genetics and still, dogs keep our beds warm and our pillows soggy.
Dogs don’t ask us to pray to them but maybe we should.