Why are Orthodox kids scared of dogs?
I have a better question: Why do dog-owners get offended when Orthodox kids are scared of their dogs?
Here’s the answer to the first question; dog owners will have to supply the answer to the second:
Orthodox kids typically do not grow up with dogs as pets. Their relatives and classmates typically do not either. Therefore, they are not used to them. Therefore, they don’t know how to read their signals or distinguish from pit pull to golden retriever (did I get that right?). When a huge doggie leaps up and is larger than said child (or not), it can be frightening.
Which begs an even better question: Why don’t Orthodox people typically own dogs?
1. They have more kids instead of pets. Me, if I ever thought I had the time and mental energy to handle caring for an animal, I’d say to myself: Self! What is stopping you from bringing another child into this world?
2. For kids of Holocaust survivors, dogs were a no-no, as the Germans used them for crowd control, and worse.
3. There are some Halachic issues with caring for a pet on Shabbat and holidays. Yes, yes, I know that they can all be surmounted, but some people would prefer to avoid this issue in the first place.
4. Part of Jewish philosophy is the stressing of the distinction between human and animal. I don’t know if or how that relates, but I sure find it interesting, especially as society as a whole tends to humanize animals and animalize humans. Think Curious George all the way down to the Berenstein Bears, to the zoo telling us we are simply cooler primates. Jewish philosophy disagrees.
5. Due to the above and possibly reasons I’ve never thought of, it has become culturally unusual for Orthodox people to own dogs – which drives its own resistance.
Nevertheless, I want to stress that it is not AGAINST Halacha (Jewish law) to own a dog, and if an Orthodox person wants to, he most certainly can, and all the power to him, and that’s awesome.
And if it could please not lick my face, I’d be decidedly grateful.
Any other hypotheses out there?