Philip Reid’s small dog, Paolo, is hardly the kind of animal to strike fear in the hearts of children. Yet two African Muslim girls were anything but delighted as Reid walked the Boston terrier-pug blend on a leash at his culturally diverse, mixed income neighborhood.
“The girls were running by, and they screamed when they Saw him, and I said ‘He’s not going to hurt you'” recalls Reid. “They said it’s a religious thing, and I was kind of Shocked.”
Reid did his homework and learned, sure enough, many Muslims avoid dogs, believing them to be unclean animals. In fact, Muslims who come into contact with dog saliva are obligated to go through elaborate cleansing rituals.