The Corner

Canine Civilization

My NR Canine Civ. piece is done, but it had to be way too short for me to get into the argument in depth. Instead, I argued that owning dogs as pets is a staple of westernization and development around the world, perhaps even more so than women’s liberation. Regardless, I found a whole bunch more stuff about how the West is inherently pro-dog unlike the Middle East (dogs are “unclean”) and Far East (dogs are tasty).

According to one Islamic tradition, for example, every day you own a dog a big chunk of your good deeds are subtracted from your spiritual ledger. Last August,

an Iranian cleric summed up the attitude nicely when he exclaimed that dog owners are “evil people” and that “Happy are those who became martyrs and did not witness the playing with dogs!” Contrast that with the West, where we’ve long debated whether dogs themselves get into heaven. In fact, a majority of Americans with an opinion on the subject, according to one poll, believe dogs get through the Pearly Gates. And Pope John Paul II declared that animals do indeed have souls.


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