Dogs in ancient Mesopotamia were considered powerful and healing. Gula, the patroness of herbs, healing, and life, was a Sumerian deity, known as goddess of dogs. Gula’s cylinder seals portray her always with a dog, sometimes seated, and surrounded by stars.
Dog figurines dedicated to the goddess were found in the Kassite temple at Isin and in temples at other Babylonian sites. People noticed that when dogs licked their sores, they seemed to heal faster, and so dogs became associated with healing and Bau transformed into a healing deity.
A collection of dogs were found at the city of Nineveh in the 19th century CE by the famous archaeologist Austen Henry Layard. Ishtar, also known as Inanna, was shown with her dogs held on leashes. They were her companions and protectors.