According to 13th century French legend, Guinefort the greyhound was owned by a knight who lived near Lyon. One day he went hunting, leaving his infant child in the care of the dog. When he returned, the cradle was overturned, the child was nowhere to be found, and Guinefort's teeth were dripping with blood. The knight took out his sword and stabbed the dog, who let out a dying yelp. He then heard the sounds of his crying baby, and found the infant safe, next to the remains of a viper. Guinefort had killed the snake to save the child.
Mourning the loss of his loyal companion and regretting his misdeed, the knight laid Guinefort at rest at the bottom of a well, and covered the well with stones, creating a shrine for the selfless canine. Over time local villagers began to revere the deceased dog as a martyr, and brought sick infants to the grave to be healed. Some of the pagan Christian rituals involved in curing the infants had deadly consequences:
They then put the naked baby through the opening between the trunks of two trees, the mother standing on one side and throwing her child nine times to the old woman on the other side, while invoking the demons to adjure the fauns in the wood of "Rimite" to take the sick and failing child which they said belonged to them (the fauns) and return to them their own child big, plump, live and healthy. Once this was done, the killer mothers took the baby and placed it naked at the foot of the tree on the straws of a cradle, lit at both ends two candles a thumbsbreadth thick with fire they had brought with them and fastened them on the trunk above. Then, while the candles were consumed, they went far enough away that they could neither hear nor see the child. In this way the burning candles burned up and killed a number of babies, as we have heard from others in the same place.
- Stephen de Bouborn De Supersticione (d. 1261)
The grave of St. Guinefort was dug up and the grove of trees surrounding the shrine was burned along with the bones of the dog. The orthodox Christian friars preached against the superstitious rituals and forbid people from gathering in the area for that purpose. But the story lived on - in the 17th century a chapel was built on the original tomb site and today he is remembered by locals in Dombes, France.