Malaysian “I Want To Touch A Dog” Event A Surprise Success
In our culture, dogs have long been welcomed into our homes and considered members of the family. We let our dogs sleep in our beds, give us kisses, and habitually rub their bellies. But that’s not common in all areas of the world. Traditionally in Muslim culture, dogs have been considered unclean and are not typically kept as pets.
The “I Want to Touch a Dog” event was held on October 19, as a way to encourage the people of Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, to get close to dogs and dispel some of the common myths and fears. The event drew over 800 people, and there were a variety of dogs in all shapes and sizes available for petting. It began as a small gathering, organized in only three weeks, but it quickly surpassed the expectations of organizers.
The event was color coded to keep the people attending comfortable. Handlers of the dogs wore red, the people interested in petting a dog wore yellow, and the people just interested in observing wore orange. The reason for this was to keep the dogs away from people who were scared or nervous around them.
The event began with Ustaz Mohd Iqbal Parjin, a religious teacher, giving a religious talk on dogs. Sertu or samak, the Islamic method of hand cleansing after dog contact, was also taught to the people in attendance. Afterward, they were shown the proper way to approach and greet a dog.
This event is just the first step in overcoming the fear of dogs commonly found in Muslims. It was designed to encourage people to ask when they had questions about animals.
We love any event that brings people and dogs together, and fosters education, care, compassion and understanding. And we hope that this is the first of many events like this to come.
[Source: Asia One]
Rachel Leavy lives in Rochester, New York with her dog, Maria, and her gecko, Nigel. She has loved animals all her life, and has owned her own dog training and walking company for five years. When she's not playing with puppies, she can usually be found writing short stories, riding horses or out at a play.
More by Rachel Leavy