Photo ©1990/The Metropolitan Museum of Art/The Charles Engelhard Foundation Gift, 1989 (1989.233)

A baked-clay mastiff, which once guarded the entrance to a mid-second-millennium B.C.E. temple in the Mesopotamian city of Isin, shows the higher regard in which other ancient Near Eastern cultures held canines. This 16-inch-tall dog may represent Gula, Isin’s patron goddess and also the goddess of healing. Many votive plaques and figurines depicting dogs were found in her temple, and its approach ramp contained the remains of 33 dogs.