Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

cultural impressions of dogs/animals

raingirl
July 5th, 2005, 09:15 PM
I was talking with a few friends of mine about this. I have quite a few friends who are muslim. They have explained to me on several occasions how certains "sects" of the muslim faith teach bad things about dogs, and teach their kids to fear dogs. I could only take their word for it, but it has also made me more aware of people around my dog. I live in a culterally diverse apartment building, and I beleive that it is proper to respect someones fear of a dog. If they are afraid, and want to wait for the next elavator, fine. If they were there first and back away from the dog, I will wait. Makese sense. I always just assumed it was just a fear of the dog, not something taught. It somehow boggles my mind though. And it's not just certain muslim sects. Having an Anthropology degree, I have studied so many cultures around the world (from an anthropological view) and fears/abuse of animals can be a common occurance. Not so much now though, as animal rights has come a long way in the last few 100 years.

I know any given person has a right to practise what they want, and you can't always necessarily choose what you get taught (as a child) and sometimes it's hard to change as an adult. But sometimes I wonder that in this day/age with all the globalization and generalization of culture, why don't some things change?

For instance, a former co-worker of mine is REALLY afraid of dogs. It is because her mother taught her to be afraid of them. She explained it all to me once. She is of african heritage (I forget but I think she came from Botswana?). She explained that you have to accept what you mother teaches you, and the area she came from, dogs are not kept as pets, they are sacrificed in rituals, as they are beleived to be vessels for the devil. She has learned a lot here in Canada, but still has these views. She explained that it's not so much religious but tradition/cultural. She would never do it here, but she teaches her children what she has learned herself. I asked her why she would not teach them to love animals and understand them, but she was not sure she could after being ingrained with the thought of them as the devil.

The reason i was thinking of this today, is because a group of kids freaked out at my dog, calling it a pit bull, and practically trashing my car (they tried kicking it). Part of me wants to be objective and think maybe they are just taught in their culture not to like dogs and really have no choice. Nature or Nurture?? I hate to stereotype, but what if they came from the same area as the woman I knew? (they were also of african heritage) what if they were taught to hate dogs as well? Then I could feel better because maybe they don't know better. But what if they are just being stupid and uneducated? What if they know better and are just being stupid teenagers?

This is what erks me. When do you decide it's cultural and acceptable, or ignorant and stupid. When do you respect someone's fear of a dog because they don't know better, or loathe someone for putting you down just because they don't like your dog? Do you generalize based on a person's appearance? Again, I hate stereotyping, but I am starting to fear certain "gangs" of kids near my area where I live because they appear to hate all dogs, and have on occasions hurt people/their dogs either out of what they have been taught, or just plain stupidity.

There is one kid in our building who is afraid the dog will go near him. They recently came here from Somalia, she explained they don't really have dogs there, but he is learning in school about them. He will run away from the dog if it moves (he is still 5 feet away) but he is still at least curious about it and will say "hi doggy" and "bye doggy" when he sees him (from hiding behind his mother).

I'm not really sure what I'm saying here...just ranting mostly. I just feel for all the people who have been falsely accused of having pitts, and I also feel sorry for all the persecution for those who do. It's uncalled for. I just don't want to have to fear further persecution if I stand up for what I beleive in, I don't want to be called a racist if I tell someone that my dog is not a pit bull (it happened before already...I didn't say anything and they person called me a racist and the only reason I was saying anything about it not being a pit was because he was black... I totally didn't get that! All I said was I'm sorry, it's actually not a pit bull, it's an english bulldog and he freaked out).

Sorry..long day. I need to get some sleep.

Daisy's Owner
July 6th, 2005, 06:01 AM
The reason i was thinking of this today, is because a group of kids freaked out at my dog, calling it a pit bull, and practically trashing my car (they tried kicking it). Part of me wants to be objective and think maybe they are just taught in their culture not to like dogs and really have no choice. Nature or Nurture??

Are they taught in their culture to trash someone else's property? I highly doubt it. Are they taught in Ontario that it's ok to trash someone's property if they own a pitbull? You betcha.

When do you decide it's cultural and acceptable,

Was 911 culturally or religiously acceptable? I know that is an extreme example, but it was the first thing I thought of when I read that line. To those that were responsible, they thought they were well within their cultural or religious right to kill thousands of people.

Violence is never acceptable.

It's great of you to respect that there are cultures and people out there that don't think the same way about dogs that we do. And that you respect the individuals enough to not subject them to your pooch. Respect should go both ways, I think.

chico2
July 6th, 2005, 06:56 AM
In Canada we bend over backwards to accomodate different cultures,which is fine and dandy,but it is a two-way street.
Most people come here for a better life,better future for their children..it cannot be achieved if you as a parent are still stuck in old-country teachings.
Anyone wanting to be a Canadian,enjoy the freedom,has to respect the laws and teachings of Canada.The country they left behind,maybe out of fear and persecution should not influence their new life in Canada.
Raingirl,I would not let the fact that these kids are from a different culture stop me from defending myself,my dog or my car...in this case,you are the one being persecuted....the colour of the culprits is not what matters,their lawlessness is.....I would not hesitate to talk to the parents or if this continues,call 911.

toby's tracy
July 6th, 2005, 07:05 AM
a group of kids freaked out at my dog, calling it a pit bull, and practically trashing my car (they tried kicking it).

When do you decide it's cultural and acceptable, or ignorant and stupid. When do you respect someone's fear of a dog because they don't know better, or loathe someone for putting you down just because they don't like your dog?

As soon as someone turns violent I would NOT consider it to be culturally acceptable! There's a big difference between backing away when meeting a dog on the street and attacking the dog and its owner!

my two cents... :)

pags
July 6th, 2005, 07:15 AM
I've run into a bit of the cultural divide here in the Southern US in regards to German Shepherds. It has been this way since I was a child -- and it still seems to hold true quite broadly down here. Among those in some of the more impoverished areas -- particularly among African Americans of those areas -- all German Shepherds are 'police dogs' and a fear of these dogs spills over from a fear of the police in general. When given the chance to talk to people about this they tell me that they honestly believe that all GSD's act as spies for the police.. and if one is in the neighborhood - they will have trouble with the law. As a result -- it's never wise to leave your GSD outside unattended for any period of time for fear of the dog being poisoned. I have had friends and coworkers who came home to find their dogs shot to death in their yards -- one even in their own living room -- the house broken into and nothing stolen.. just done to kill the dog. Growing up we had two of our dogs poisoned (unsuccessfully after extensive medical treatment) and one of my own GSD's was spared this a few years ago when I actually caught the teenager trying to feed him hamburger meat laced with rat poison. When the police arrived and questioned him he simply answered "We don't need your police dogs around here." Amazing.. as if my dog wasn't MY dog.

A much older black man who lived next door to me a couple of years later owned a GSD mix... But he told me he was terrified of my 'police dog.' I asked him why he was not terrified of his own mix then and he explained that mixed GSD's were very popular in his neighborhoods because it was believed that they could 'talk' to the pure police dogs and keep the police away.

nymph
July 6th, 2005, 12:08 PM
Anyone wanting to be a Canadian,enjoy the freedom,has to respect the laws and teachings of Canada.

Agreed, and as far as I know, the majority of immigrants do just that.

The country they left behind,maybe out of fear and persecution should not influence their new life in Canada.

Disagree. I'll use myself as an example. When I left China 16 years ago, it was not for fear or persecution or anyting like that, it was simply a willingness to experience a different kind of life, cultural-wise. I was 15 years old when I left China, old enough to remember the language and the culture. However that culture has never been left behind me, it is part of me, and I don't think that's going to ever change: I am who I am because of that. I don't know if I'm making myself clear, as much as I cherish Canadian values, I also treasure my Chinese heritage. Why should I abandon my Chinese heritage to cater to the so called "mainstream" (BTW, what is "mainstream" anyway)?

This "dual-culture", for the lack of the better word, has made me more aware and more acceptable to all other cultures/things/ideas/etc., it has helped to shape my entire value system:
1. Be nice, whenever possible
2. Be as much open-minded as possible
3. Be assertive, but respect others

raingirl: I would not tolerate any kind of violence, whether it is physical, mental, virtual or otherwise. Violence is never acceptable, PERIOD!

chico2
July 6th, 2005, 12:25 PM
Nymph,that is absolutely not what I meant,I myself am an immigrant...of course you should keep your culture,I will always be Swedish in my heart,but at the same time a very proud Canadian.
But you should not keep your culture to the point you are ignoring Canadian laws and way of life.

nymph
July 6th, 2005, 12:55 PM
Sorry chico, I guess I misunderstood what you said. :sorry:

Now if I go back and read your comment again, I would have to say that I agree with some, i.e. "obey Canadian laws", but have to disagree on the "Canadian way of life" part. I'm probably splitting hair here, but I want to stress the importance of differences in cultural values. For instance, it's probably very acceptable in Canada to send your elderly parents to a nursing home, but it would be considered heartless to do so in China. While I respect and accept for the most part the "Canadian way of life", I also acknowledge other culture's way of life. That's what I meant.

Again I'm sorry if I sounded preaching. I totally understand where raingirl was coming from. It's all good.

doggy lover
July 6th, 2005, 12:57 PM
Chico 2 I understand what you are trying to say my daughters school has a lot of musslim children and they are changing things in the school system to accomindate them, what happened to the other kids in the school. Yes everone should keep their own identy but how can we accomindate for so many cultures, it seems to be causing alot of clashes in our society. My son had a friend that his parents told him the devil spat on the dog so it is bad, some cultural belief he was terrified of dogs, would run if he seen one and I seen dogs chase him for running which would panic him more, the parents caused this phobia, should have just told him to stay away from dogs. He was never welcome in my house as I would not lock my dog away for him to come and visit, so they would just play outside away from the dog.

nymph
July 6th, 2005, 02:05 PM
As an immigrant country, Canada has adopted multiculturalism to deal with cultural diversity, whereas the US has adopted the "melting pot" approach. Personally I have mixed views on this topic, but I can certainly appreciate the thought behind the multiculturalism practice.

I wish people would remember the Canadian heritage: this whole country was built on immigrants, earlier immigrants and newer immigrants are in fact all immigrants. If earlier immigrants had to deal with cultural clashes during the days of fur trading, wouldn't it be totally understandable for newer immigrants to deal with current cultural differences? Our society is much more tolerant than it was, because we know better.

Copper'sMom
July 6th, 2005, 02:06 PM
a group of kids freaked out at my dog, calling it a pit bull, and practically trashing my car (they tried kicking it).

I've said it before and I'll say it again "this goes to show how ignorant and uneducated our society is today"
This is sick. How can you mistake a Bull Dog and a Pit Bull??
But what if they are just being stupid and uneducated? What if they know better and are just being stupid teenagers?
This would be my best guess.

Were these teens of a different culture?

SarahLynn123
July 6th, 2005, 03:12 PM
It is because her mother taught her to be afraid of them.

This is really interesting. I live in a neighbourhood that has alot of muslims and Ive noticed that when we walk past them with our dogs they are clearly terrified. When we pass anyone on the street we are sure to walk almost on the road so the dogs are far far away from them, a lady the other night still covered her head and ducked against the fence when we passed.

About 90% of the muslims we pass on our walk try very hard to muster up a smile for Wolf (Pom). After reading this It must be very tough for them to do even that!

We walk through a small park quite often and a young boys bike was on the sidewalk, we were going to walk around it and he came flying up leaned over my German Shephard and started yelling in her face! I was about to say something but then his mother called him and told him to stop. It was much to late though. Shadow just looked straight up at my bf for some direction, didn't even give this boy the time of day.

I was wondering about these incidents for a while now, thanks for posting raingirl this cleared up alot of questions for me!

melanie
July 6th, 2005, 05:22 PM
i live in a mulitcultural world, i respect others beliefs but i expect them to respect mine, and one of those beliefs are that animals are the closest things to gods i will ever meet and i treat them as so.

in australia most dogs are considered lesser beings to an extent, yeah its fine to have one, but it should not be inside and such, it is considered kinda dirty to live close with a dog. so many ppl openly judge me, how many times have i heard the saying 'if you lie with dogs you wake with fleas' (im so sure thats only a metaphor, how dumb are some ppl :eek: ). but in my house i expect charlie to be respected as i do her and if a person does not i will happily kick them out on their rear... i respect others and they shoudl respect me.

but then again i live in a silently racist country with ohhhhh soooo many rednecks :eek: so you cant really expect to much (ohhhh loosers :eek: )...

not to mention i have a GSD. to many ppl in australia i have an alsatian, not a germ shep... one day i asked hubbs grandma why (her husband was POW in ww2), she said because germ sheps were too closely related to the 2nd world war, and during that time they were often poisioned in this country. so many ppl prefer the name change, but it is more common in older ppl.

look many ppl hate and fear for some really dumb reasons, its sad but it happens and we must tolerate them, i would say these kdis were little #$%^ and were not doing it based on their religion.... but more the fact that their little mongrels. did they damage the car???

chico2
July 7th, 2005, 08:33 AM
I'd just like to say and try not to be missunderstood...I feel the onus seems to be only on"us"to be accepting and accomodating(Sp?)...
We can only learn about different cultures if we have an opportunity to get to know people,but the attitude in Canada"each one stick to their own kind"does not bring anyone together,it only causes frictions and differences,instead of bringing us together.
I personally know only 2 muslims,one wonderful young man(Pakistan),who is raising pigeons,another who is married to a Canadian girl,I found their lost cat and we became friendly..
Many people come from countries where caring for animals is not high on their agenda,staying alive and getting food for their children is their main objective,which is understandable..here many animals eat better and more than most third-world countries and it will probably take a couple of generations for attitudes to change.
However,if like in Prins case,anyone does harm to any of my animals,because of cultural differences,they will not get any respect from me...but maybe this incident had nothing to do with culture,but plain nastyness..

chico2
July 7th, 2005, 09:22 AM
Nymph,no Canadian way of life is asking you to "dump"your elders in a nursinghome,it's to me very admirable of the Asian community to care for their elders,but I do believe I and most Canadians would do the same,if possible..sometimes it just is not.
Those qualities is not what I am questioning...

Luba
July 7th, 2005, 10:14 AM
Some of the things discussed her are extremely sensitive to others. It also appears there are far too many speculations and suggestive undertones.

Whether you think it may be said in a soft way about a specific topic, it still comes across as racist.

ILoveMutts!
July 27th, 2005, 06:02 PM
We have muslims in our neighbourhood and when I walk past them on the sidewalk with my dog, they jump away as if they'd seen a rat. At first I thought they were scared of dogs, but one day one of them explained to me that their religion forbids contact with dogs and that it would be "bad" for him if my dog touched him.

Another day at the park, a husky pup approached two muslims who were sitting on a bench. Their reaction was to start kicking the air, threatening to kick the puppy.

My opinion is that everyone is entitled to their cultural and religious beliefs as long as they respect the culture and the laws of the country they live in. So if a muslim jumps away upon sight of my dog, it's his right to do so and I don't care. But if he tries to hurt my dog or becomes insulting, he is stepping on my civil rights and is showing disrespect for my country, its laws and its culture, and therefore shouldn't be allowed to live here.

Tigger
July 27th, 2005, 06:56 PM
This is a topic that would be best not to revisit. :)