In the Middle Ages, dog doo paid your wages…
It’s true; hundreds of years ago dog doo gave many an unemployable person
a career and actually became part of one of the most important manufacturing
processes of the time.
The Tanner is the guy who prepares animal hides to turn into leather, usually
to turn into shoes, clothes or even book covers. He has to prepare the animal
hide and to “cure” it, he has to first pluck it clean of all
hair and any spare chunks of meat that may be attached to it. Then he immerses
it in a vat which is full to the brim with human urine and dog poop. The
acids from the urine and the bacteria from the poop serve to toughen up the
hide and turn it into a workable form of leather that can then be turned
into Ye Olde Louis Vuitton Luggage Set.
The Pure Collector
Maybe you’re lower than the hovel living peasant. You might not even
have a sackcloth tunic to gad about in. You’d therefore probably end
up as the Pure Collector, who was the assistant to the Tanner. This really
was the lowest sort of low job, because a Pure Collector spent more or less
every day on their hands and knees trying to find dog poop which they could
sell on to the Tanner, just so they could feed themselves, though not sure
you’d want to have a sandwich at their house.
A historical cure all
Back then, as you probably all know, hygiene wasn’t uppermost in anyone’s
mind when tending to the sick or injured people who turned up to see their
local Doctor. To give you an idea of the lack of hygiene involved in medical
practices, Doctors back then also went by the name of "Piss-Prophets". You'd
turn up to their shop with some complaint or other. To diagnose, they'd make
you pee into a glass, they'd then taste your sample and come up with a medicine
that would cure you. Nice.
Crazy as it sounds; those mediaeval doctors also thought that dog poop would
make an awesome cure for all manner of different illnesses.
As a wound healer
In fact, they believed washing and bathing was malodorous and caused infections,
so it’s going to be little surprise to you to find out that they believed
dog poop could help heal wounds and infections in the skin and would plaster
it on to cuts and grazes as some sort of killer poultice of doom.
For the follically challenged
You’ve been lucky enough to survive to middle age in the Middle Ages.
Well done you. Men and women still had to deal with all the signs of ageing
that we get today; they just didn’t have all the lotions and potions
we can smear on our hair, scalp and faces to make us appear much younger than
we actually are. Men would still suffer from the common problem of balding
and they wanted help with it. Most amusing is the belief mediaeval physicians
held that dog poop (and poo in general) might be a cure for hair loss. Very
often it was prescribed as a curative tonic for men who were suffering from
baldness to rub into their scalps. That was, of course, if the previous treatments
of fox grease and goose droppings had failed. If nothing else it would have
made an unusual talking point at the Ambassador’s Reception.
Open wide and gargle
Finally, was their belief that it might help to cure a sore throat. Presumably
because you would be too busy gagging to think about the pain from your esophagus.
They recommended that to ease discomfort it was a good idea to take a dried
out piece of dog poop, crush it up and administer it as a powder to the affected
area. Those crazy guys also had a proper Latin name for this concoction;
they called it “Album Graecum ”.
These days the only practical use for dog doo is as a practical
joke, and civilized modern man knows to go to DogDoo.com to get the full effect
of gross-yet-funny dog doo without any of the mess. Now THAT's progress!