Dogs are great for many things. They provide companionship, they greet you when you get home after a long day at work, and if you’re in India, they abolish the caste discrimination.

In the A V Halli village, situated in the Ramnagaram district of India, the Karnataka villagers of South India have taken to worshiping “Sri Naayidole Veerappa,” also known as “dog God.” The temple of the dog God is located right next to the temple of “‘Sri Veeramasti Kempamma,” a local village deity, and the villagers believe that the dog serves as the god’s lieutenant.

According to Rajesh, a devotee of Sri Naayidole Veerappa, ‘‘People come here and make wishes. They return to pay respects after their wishes are fulfilled.”

The dog God, in addition to serving as a sort of local fortune teller, seemingly warning the villagers of bad events to come, as proven to be a bit of inspiration for the naming of newborns. In an attempt to prove their devotion to the dog God, many families have taken to naming their children after the dog God. If it’s a boy, the child is named Veerappa or Veeranna; girls are named Veeramma. Give it a few years and it’ll become the new “Steve” or “Jennifer.”

Beyond this, however, is the abolishment of caste discrimination that the dog God has brought to the village. The dog God’s priest is a member of the dalit caste, the Sanskrit of which means “broken to pieces.” In essence, they’re outcasts. Given the dalit status of the priest, the dog God’s significance in the village is incredibly important within the context of the Indian caste system.

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