Someone recently suggested to me that I blog about my dog some. (Okay, it was my fiance asking.) So I think that's what I might do. He's kind of cute--a chihuahua named PJ. We got him way before I became Muslim, so I guess my parents have had him a little while now. My mom had a chihuahua growing up, and after our last dog died (a labrador/cocker-spaniel mix), she wanted to get a little chihuahua to sit in her lap. Since her dog as a kid was named Pete, this new puppy was called PJ, maybe short for "Pete Jr."
Now, before someone starts on about the having dogs in the house issue--no, I really don't think it's okay, based on some authentic hadith. This dog belongs to my parents, and since right now I am living with my parents, the dog comes with the territory. There are a few particular concerns I need to make sure of, Islamically, namely for prayer, and that alone is an inconvenience enough to maybe discourage folks from keeping dogs, especially in their houses. But if it's not, there are authentic hadith to the effect that a person's reward drops every day just for keeping a dog in the house. I do know this, and yet it's not going to bring me to my parents telling them that if I live here the dog has to go--that's not gonna happen. Right now there are several benefits to living with my parents, which I am taking advantage of. That they keep a dog is just one of the costs. So before anyone decides to attack me for the impermissibility of keeping dogs--just know that I already know, and he's my parent's dog, and still living here is my best option for many personal and private reasons.
Now, domesticated dogs are generally sweet and loving creatures, who are very excited when their owners come home. PJ is no different--he usually perks up when I come home, or rushes to greet me. Today, however, when I came in the door after a grocery trip, he was nowhere in sight. That's strange, since usually he sleeps right by the door so as to know if anyone comes home. But sometimes he sleeps in a back room and it takes him a minute (he has to do the yoga stretching) to come out once he hears someone come in. But I waited and came in and put all my stuff down, and no sign of him. So I went looking.
And I found him hiding in the doorway to my parents' bedroom, ears back, tail between his legs. Generally this posture is indicative of bad behavior. In his case, it's usually peeing or pooping in the hallway outside my bathroom. So I go look down that way, and sure enough, he's peed. So he goes about looking as pitiful as possible, climbing onto the sofa to sort of hide himself among the blankets.
I'm never sure what to do. My dad will sometimes get very mad at him, and proceed to "punish" him. I don't think that's worth very much--he's just a dog after all. And I do know that Islamically it's not correct to disgrace the face of even an animal, so I won't hit his face or spray his face with water--something my dad and brother-in-law do to their bad dogs. But I've gotta say, it's pretty frustrating when he keeps doing it. (Peeing on the carpet, I mean.)
What I think is kind of interesting is his overall behavior, when he's ashamed. I mean, he was ashamed before I even knew he did anything. He gets as low to the ground as possible (or he jumps on the sofa and crouches down there), and won't make eye contact with me.
It's kind of how humans act, isn't it, when they're really ashamed of something?
Have you ever felt like that in prayer? Oh Allah, I know I messed up when I could have done better, so please forgive me, pardon me and have mercy on me. Just a thought.