All posts in the Animals category


Published December 27, 2019 by tindertender

It is my belief that dogs are outlawed in many religions because they try to stop males from being abusive.

My dogs would die trying to protect me from harm. Many others who have dogs will say the same thing.

They tend to put a damper on the actions of those who control through fear and abuse.

Long live DOG! Faithful companion and protector.

Since a young girl, I have had a dog, or sometimes two, as now. They are my family. They warrant much respect by me, and some in my life have even saved me from serious harm, if not death.

I pledge allegiance to this gentle, and when necessary, ferocious creature I call sister, or brother.

May they always be well, nurtured in lovingness, and honored as the royal guardians they are.

They would willingly die for you, in fact, many have … that’s really something in a world that seeks to crush the spirit of people.

If it weren’t for the unconditional love of this particular animal, many people would believe Love does not exist.

Some people in this world would like very much for others to believe this to be true, to trample the spirit of them thoroughly.

DOG will never let you forget Love is here for you, always, no matter what.

Jews don’t own dogs? Says who?

Published December 27, 2019 by tindertender


“A Jew with a dog? It’s either not a Jew or it’s not a dog.”
— Yiddish proverb

I heard these words uttered on the Israeli TV show “Shtisel,” but they hit home, just as if they had been uttered in my very own house.

I grew up in a dog-less household. As a child, I was afraid of dogs and instinctively believed they were dirty, wrong to have inside a house. No one taught me this. I did not live in a religiously observant household. I just “knew” dogs were no-goodniks.

But in that moment of watching “Shtisel,” I realized I had unwittingly inherited cultural and religious teachings that even my own nonobservant parents might not have realized they had passed down to me.

In the “Shtisel” episode, a young ultra-Orthodox student, expelled from his yeshiva for hiding a small, adorable stray dog, arrives awash in tears — pup in his arms — at his grandfather’s apartment. The grandfather, a big, hulking man, is horrified at the sight of this “unclean” animal, and vigorously supports the yeshiva’s position. It is in that scene he recites the proverb about “A Jew with a dog … is either not a Jew or not a dog.”

To understand the religious and cultural context for Jewish attitudes about dogs, I spoke to Rabbi Yoni Regev of Oakland’s Reform Temple Sinai.

“There certainly seems to be a deep ambivalence, going back to the Book of Exodus,” Regev said.

While there are no express prohibitions against keeping dogs as pets, there are multiple references to them as unclean and undesirable, he explained.

“Within the ultra-Orthodox community, there is this notion that dogs are synonymous with pigs, ritually unclean even though they are not specifically called out as such,” he added.

In the Torah and the Book of Prophets, dogs are spoken of unkindly several times. Foul-tempered, barking dogs scare off beggars,which prevents those within the homes from performing the mitzvah of giving tzedakah. Also, concerns are voiced that dogs can cause women to miscarry.

And in modern times, the use of dogs by Hitler’s SS during the Holocaust led to additional negative associations.

But I knew none of this growing up.

My two oldest brothers, 18 and 21 years older than I, both had dogs in their own homes. While I adored my brothers, I viewed their pets with distain and disapproval. It didn’t seem right. It didn’t seem Jewish.

I also contacted Jo-Ellen Pozner, assistant professor at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business, to discuss the foundation of my judgmental childhood views.

“Culture determines norms. We learn by observing others and by receiving feedback about how we’re behaving,” said Pozner, a faculty scholar at the university’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. “‘Make eye contact. Be polite.’ There are phrases or reactions or ancillary behaviors that we don’t process consciously, but we absorb them because we see our parents or grandparents do them.”

She added: “What’s interesting about Judaism is that many people say, ‘I’m not religious, I’m not observant.’ They mean that religion is not an overt intentional habit. But what also makes you a Jew is certain norms and attitudes and beliefs about the way the world works, and those are transmitted as cultural values.”

My non-Jewish husband loves dogs. He grew up with a wire-haired terrier named Poco, and to this day speaks wistfully about him. But throughout our courtship, Jon never expressed a desire for another pet.

However, once we had children, dog drama quickly ensued. The first thing my children in tandem asked for was a dog. This, I blame on their non-Jewish genes.

For 10 years, the highly (maternal) allergic genes of one child prevented pet ownership. Eventually, however, the siblings and their father wore me down with a cunning age-old stratagem (i.e., lie) – “We’ll get an outdoordog. We’ll never bring the dog in the house.”

We lived in Las Vegas at the time, so this seemed a formula for animal sunstroke and abuse. But they built a solar-powered air-conditioned doghouse, and so, we got the outdoor dog.

Instantly the sneaking and scheming began. When my back was turned, in came the dog. Before I knew it, the dog, Lady Shakespeare by name, was sleeping on the floor by the children’s beds. Then the dog was in one of the children’s beds. I cringed and groaned, but I’d see their happy (and somehow non-allergic) faces, and I caved. We had an indoor dog.

I had to admit it. Shakespeare, a 3-year-old rescue black Labrador Retriever, was sweet. When you’d come home, she would vault three-feet straight up in the air for joy, ears flopping wildly, and our “coming home” could consist of something as simple as stepping back into the house from getting the mail. Who could resist such unadulterated love?

The children claim they saw me kiss Shakespeare twice on the top of her head. They were wrong. I kissed her three times.

When she died eight years after joining our clan, this Jew, now without a dog, cried nonstop.

The moment in history when Muslims began to see dogs as dirty, impure, and evil

Published December 27, 2019 by tindertender

By Alan Mikhail July 27, 2017

Dogs in Islam, as they are in Rabbinic Judaism, are conventionally thought of as ritually impure. This idea taps into a long tradition that considers even the mere sight of a dog during prayer to have the power to nullify a pious Muslim’s supplications. Similar to many other mistakenly viewed aspects of Islamic history, today both most Muslims and non-Muslims think that Islam and dogs don’t mix.

There is, however, quite a different unknown strand of thinking about dogs in Islam, a long history of positive interactions between Muslims and dogs that goes back to the religion’s very beginnings. According to several authoritative accounts of his life and teachings, Prophet Muhammad himself prayed in the presence of dogs. Many of his cousins and companions, the world’s first Muslims, raised young puppies. In the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina, the second holiest site in the world for Muslims after the Kaaba, dogs were regularly seen frolicking about during the prophet’s life and for centuries after as well.

It’s no surprise that the first Muslims had so many dogs. Most of them kept large flocks of sheep and goats, and dogs helped to manage and protect these other animals, preventing them from running away and scaring off would-be thieves and predators. Sheep and goats were these early Muslims’ food and capital, and dogs helped to protect these investments.

Canines were also crucial companions during hunting expeditions. Long before Islam, dogs were depicted in stone carvings from ancient Egypt and Iraq running alongside their human owners. Muslims continued this use of dogs.

As Islam spread throughout the Middle East and the world, it moved from being a religion of nomadic peoples to one centered in cities. Many of the world’s largest cities in the millennium between 700 and 1700 were Muslim cities. As they did in the countryside, in cities too dogs played vital roles. They of course continued to protect property and shoo away intruders, but in cities dogs served an even more important function—they ate garbage. From Damascus and Baghdad to Cairo and Istanbul, urban authorities supported dog populations as consumers of waste to keep city streets clean. Muslim leaders built watering troughs for dogs, many mosques threw out food for them, and butchers used them to keep away rats and other vermin. Humans who committed violence against urban canines were often punished. Muslim cities were much cleaner and more pleasant places with dogs than without them.

All of this meant that Muslims throughout the world were in regular daily contact with the many dogs in their midst. They recognized how useful canines were as guards and cleaning agents and, we can only presume, developed quite intimate relationships with them built around regular contact and the kind of affection bred from codependence.

Given this history, where then did the idea that Islam is only hostile to dogs come from? The short answer is disease. About two hundred years ago, ideas about contagion began to change. Still very far from what we would today recognize as germ theory, people in the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere started to notice a correlation between outbreaks of plague, cholera, and malaria and the physical proximity of victims to places like cemeteries, garbage heaps, and swampy lakes. City planners and governments throughout the Middle East therefore started to excise these sources of disease from the increasingly crowded districts in which their people lived. As they collected and then pushed garbage outside city walls, they also unwittingly removed the dogs that ate this trash. Dogs used to keep streets clean. Now humans did.

The historic connections between dogs and trash did not serve the animal well. Not only was there simply less garbage to eat in cities, but the garbage that did remain was now seen as a threat to public hygiene and soon too were its canine consumers. Indeed, in just a few decades in the early nineteenth century, dogs came to be seen as both economically useless and hazardous to public health. The results? Several large-scale dog eradication campaigns, far fewer dogs in Middle Eastern cities, and a change in attitude toward the animal. No longer useful and productive urban residents, dogs were now seen as dangerous, disease-ridden, and expendable.

This relatively recent sea change in Muslim attitudes towards dogs explains the dominant view of the animal today. While of course opinions vary and the elite in many Muslim countries keep dogs as status symbols, the majority of Muslims see dogs as dirty, impure, sometimes even evil. As with so much in the Islamic past today, the history of dogs is thus misunderstood by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Most don’t know and many would likely not be open to the idea that dogs were treasured by the Prophet and millions of Muslims after him.

For those of us—Muslims or otherwise—whose most regular interaction with a living nonhuman animal is with a dog, the story of dogs in Islam offers another lesson as well. Humans did not always keep dogs for affection, love, or cuteness. For most of history, they were not pets. They were laborers, economic necessities, hunters, and street cleaners. Apart from dogs that sniff drugs, aid the blind, or chase criminals, very few of us today experience dogs as anything other than that joy that licks our face in the morning. However, throughout history they’ve been much more. Knowing this past not only gives us a fuller picture of the most ubiquitous nonhuman animal we welcome in our midst, but it also helps us to understand how our histories with other animals have shaped our current world.

Alan Mikhail, Professor of History at Yale University, is the author of The Animal in Ottoman Egypt and, most recently, Under Osman’s Tree: The Ottoman Empire, Egypt and Environmental History.

This post first appeared on OUPBlog. They welcome your comments at

Are You Ready?

Published December 24, 2019 by tindertender

Are you ready to bend to the will of others? Those who see you as ‘property’ to dispose of as they see fit? Murder, sacrifice, call it what you want, it is not of love to anything but the greed and need to control everything around them.

Are you ready to submit everything you have ever loved due to it being consider ‘sacrilege’ in their eyes, in their religion?

It is not a game. It is quite serious. And all is about to come to a head.

Who do you pledge your allegiance to?

Mine goes to Dog.

Dog has loved me faithfully, unerringly, unequivocally as time progressed. To this point, no one has loved me as purely as those who have laid at my feet in utter vulnerability, loving me despite a bad mood, loving me even when I was not perfect in my care for them.

I will fight for them with everything that I am.



Woman Finds An Incredible Bug Who’s Almost Too Beautiful To Be Real

Published December 10, 2019 by tindertender


The other day, Margaret Neville was strolling through the garden on her farm in South Africa when something remarkable caught her eye.

There, on a branch in her lavender bush, was an insect unlike any she’d seen before: “I was amazed at first sight,” Neville told The Dodo.

And it’s easy to see why.

The beautiful bug almost looked like a delicate glass sculpture. Her wings of white and green were accentuated with an elegant swirl, while the rest of her body was adorned with tiny, purple flower-like structures.

Neville shared the photo with her friend, Kerri Martinaglia. She was equally impressed.

“When I saw her, I thought she was an exquisite work of art,” Martinaglia told The Dodo.

Neville and Martinaglia came to learn that the insect she’d found was aptly called a “Flower Mantis,” a type of praying mantis perfectly suited to camouflaging themselves in floral settings.

And thanks to that trick, the mantis Neville happened upon was clearly thriving. Before placing her back in the lavender bush, Neville gave her a name: Miss Frilly Pants.

“She has spent the entire month of September living on my lavender,” Neville said. “She is still there now.”

After Martinaglia shared photos of her online, the remarkable mantis has earned plenty of admirers from people stunned to learn such an animal is real. But not all of her new fans are human. 

Recently, Neville spotted Miss Frilly in the company of a suitor:

Though mantis relationships are notoriously short-lived (as are, in some cases, the males involved in them), with any luck, this one will result in many more Miss Frillys adding their beauty to the world. 

And the prospect of that alone is enough to be grateful for: 

“What a blessing,” Neville said.

The Story of Corn and Medicine

Published December 10, 2019 by tindertender

This is a synthesis of several stories from the Cherokee, who were the native people of northern Georgia and Alabama, western North Carolina, central and eastern Tennessee, and Kentucky. The stories were told to James Mooney of the Bureau of American Ethnology in the late 1800’s by older Cherokee men in western North Carolina. The principal story teller was Ayúnini (“Swimmer”), who was born in 1835 and never spoke English, although he served as sergeant in the Confederate infantry in the Civil War. He died in 1899.

Painting by Kevin Chasing Wolf Hutchins;

When the plants and animals first came to earth, they were told to stay awake for seven nights, as in the Cherokee medicine ceremony. The animals all stayed awake the first night, and many stayed awake the next few nights, but only the owl and the panther and a couple of others stayed awake all seven nights. They were given the ability to see at night and so to hunt at night when the others are asleep. The same thing happened among the trees, and only the cedar, pine, spruce, holly and laurel stayed awake all seven nights, which is why they can stay green all year when the others lose their leaves.

Humans came after the animals. At first they multiplied rapidly, and the first woman give birth every seven days. Eventually there were so many of them that it seemed they might not all survive, and since then to this day each woman has been able to have just one child each year. Among these early people were a man and a woman name Kanáti and Selu, whose names meant “The Lucky Hunter” and “Corn”, respectively. Kanáti would go hunting and invariably return with game, which Selu would prepare by the stream near their home. She also would always return home with baskets of corn, which she would pound to make meal for bread.

Kanáti and Selu had a little boy, and he would play by the stream. Eventually they realized that he was playing with another little boy who had arisen from the blood of the game washed by the stream. With their son’s help they caught the other boy, and eventually he lived with them like he was their own son, although he was called “the Wild Boy”.

Kanáti brought home game whenever he went hunting, and one day the two boys decided to follow him. They followed him into the mountains until he came to a large rock, which he pulled aside to reveal a cave from which a buck emerged. Kanáti shot the buck and, after covering the cave, he headed home. The boys got home before him and didn’t reveal what they had learned, but a few days later they returned to the rock. With a struggle they pulled it aside and had great fun watching the deer come out of the cave. They lost track of what they were doing, however, and soon all sorts of game animals – rabbit and turkeys and partridges and buffalo and all – escaped from the cave. Kanáti saw all these animals coming down the mountain and knew what the boys must have done, and he went up the mountain after them. He opened four jars in the cave, and from them came fleas and lice and gnats and bedbugs that attacked the boys. He sent them home, hoping he could find some of the dispersed game for the supper. Thus it is that people must now hunt for game.

The boys went home, and Selu told them there would be no meat for dinner. However, she went to the storehouse for food, and told the boys to wait while she did so. They followed her instead to the storehouse and watched her go inside. She put down her basket and then rubbed her stomach, and the basket was partly full with corn. Then she rubbed her sides, and it was full to the top with beans. Watching through a crack in the storehouse wall, the boys saw all this. Selu knew that they had seen her, but she went ahead and fixed them a last meal. Then she and Kanáti explained that, because their secrets were revealed, they would die, and with them would end the easy life they had known. However, Selu told them to drag her body seven times around a circle in front of their house, and then to drag her seven times over the soil inside the circle, and if they stayed up all night to watch, in the morning they would have a crop of corn. The boys, however, only cleared a few spots and they only dragged her body over it twice, which is why corn only grows in certain places on the earth. They did sit up all night, though, and in the morning the corn was grown, and still it is grown today, although now it takes half a year.

In these early days, the plants, the animals, and the people all lived together as friends. As the people multiplied, however, the animals had less room to roam, and they were either slaughtered for food or trampled under the humans’ feet. Finally the animals held a council to discuss what to do. The bears experimented with using bows and arrows to fight back, but they concluded that they would have to cut off their claws to use the bows. The deer held a council and decided to send rheumatism to any hunter who killed a deer without asking its pardon for having done so. When a deer is shot by a hunter, the fleet and silent Little Deer, leader of the deer, runs to the blood-stained spot to ask the spirit of the killed deer if the hunter prayed for pardon for his affront. If the answer is no, Little Deer follows the trail of blood and inflicts the hunter with rheumatism so that he is crippled.

The fish and reptiles likewise met, and resolved that the people would suffer from dreams in which snakes twined about them. The birds and smaller animals and insects all met too, and talked long into the night about how they had suffered from the humans. Eventually they created all sorts of new diseases to afflict humans, which have since become a scourge to the animals’ oppressors.

After this the plants met, and they resolved that something must be done to counteract what the animals had done. That is why so many trees and shrubs and herbs, and even the mosses, provide remedies for diseases. It was thus that medicine first came into the world, to counteract the revenge of the animals.

James Mooney, 1900, Myths of the Cherokee: Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology for 1897-1898, Part 1, p. 1-576. (J84.SI2.1 pt. 1 1897-98)

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