Dordzhi Nandyshev, about Kalmyk beliefs connected with the dog

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Terbish, Baasanjav 

Dordzhi talks about Kalmyks’ love for their dogs: My maternal uncle, Jaajan Mandjin Oradyk, was a hunter. Although I also go hunting, I do not collaborate with other hunters. That is why I do not know much about hunting customs. The only thing I do before setting off on a hunting trip is to pray to Tsagan Aav. Kalmyks care for their dogs. My mother used to tell me that after death people get reborn in various worlds. Before being reborn as a human though, everyone has to be born as a dog. Kalmyks showed such a respect to their dogs that new brides were supposed to feed them by putting food on their dresses. After a dog dies, its corpse is left on the steppe with butter and fat so that it has plenty of food in the next life. We have a custom of giving a child’s milk teeth to a dog while uttering the following incantation: ‘Dog, dog, take my bad tooth and give me a good one in return’.

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