Dear Lord Dog:
What is it with you Fereldans and dogs? I've heard you let your dog sit on the Council! Isn't that a bit absurd? It's just a dog. It's not like it can think!
-- Wary of Barking
My dog, like the dogs of many Fereldans, and in fact most of the dogs in Fereldan art, is a Mabari. Now, that may not mean anything to a Marcher like you, but we're not talking about those little Orlesian lap-yappers. The Mabari are war dogs, if dragged down to their most base, but they are, as any Fereldan can tell you, far more than that.
There are two stories about the Mabari, and I'll let you pick the one you like best -- it's so far back, we'll never be sure. The first story, the one told in every home in Ferelden, is that the Mabari are the children of the hero Dane's wolf friends -- which is to say that, like Dane's own sons, they're descended from werewolves. The second story is the one told in Tevinter, that the Mabari were bred with magical enhancements to aid in the invasion of the Alamarri lands. Personally, I don't think Mabari look enough like wolves for the first one to be true, but it is with the willing aid of the Mabari that we drove Tevinter back out of our lands.
Either way, they're almost as smart as you or I! My dog plays a mean hand of Wicked Grace, and can tell a cheater faster than anyone at the table. Which, let's be fair, puts Mintaka a head, shoulders, and tits above the De Launcets, as potential members of the Council go. But, alas, the Council has only twelve seats, all of which are filled, so Mintaka merely accompanies me to meetings, and has no vote.
Editor's note: We here at the Gazette have lost several sovereigns to that dog. This editor would venture that it plays a better game than its supposed master.