According to Wikipedia ... straw dogs were used as ceremonial objects in ancient China. Chapter 5 of the Tao Te Ching begins with the lines "Heaven and Earth are heartless / treating creatures like straw dogs." Su Ch'e comments, "Heaven and Earth were not partial. They do not kill living things out of cruelty or give them birth out of kindness. We do the same when we make straw dogs to use in sacrifices. We dress them up and put them on the altar, but not because we love them. And when the ceremony is over, we throw them into the street, but not because we hate them."
Of course the website name also came from the local Straw dogs (belonging to the McAllisters? Pat Miles? the Jamie Mick Kellys? the Jim Joe Kellys?) I used to hear howling at the Angelus bell or, less frequently but more appropriately, at the slow, mournful, funeral bell, pealing out over the Whitewater vale from the chapel in Straw, Ballinascreen, Co. Derry, Ireland, back in the 1950's. You can sniff around this website using the tabs at the top of the page or take your chances by clicking on any one of the Strawdogs below and let him/her lead you on a walk to parts unknown. Howl on!
Fionn - Frank Kelly's/Mary Vallely's
Puddy - Jim Joe Kelly's (1950s)
Sandy - Jim Joe's (1940-50s)
? Un-named Strawdog in front of McAllister's pub and shop. (1960s)