Elamite Dog Amulet of the goddess Gula, Circa 3rd Millennium BC
In ancient Elam, the significance of the dog was related to the goddess Gula, since they were her sacred animals. As the goddess of healing and patroness of doctors, these gold amuletic dogs may have been thought to have healing powers. Gula’s principle shrine was at the é-u-gi7-ra (“Dog Temple”) at Isin, but she also had temples at Nippur, Borsippa, and Assur. Particularly notable in Isin are more than 30 dog burials discovered below the ramp leading to the temple.
Elam was an ancient civilization centered in the far west and southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq. In classical literature, Elam was more often referred to as Susiana, a name derived from its capital, Susa.