Just a few steps up the road from Robert Burns’ first lodgings in Edinburgh on the Royal Mile are the offices of publisher Luath Press. Their name and logo are Burns’ own dog, named after a dog in Ossian’s epic poem Fingal, immortalised in The Twa Dugs, and responsible for bringing Burns and his wife Jean Armour together.
Described by Burns as a ‘gash and faithfu’ tyke,’ the dog was killed while out on his own for a walk. To compound the tragedy, this happened the night before Burn’s father died. The poem in which the dog is memorialised, The Twa Dogs, is a satirical study of inequality between the classes by two dogs discussing their masters. The poem was influential among radical poets, and is an important part of Burn’s social commentary canon.