The kids found great delight in petting the dog and talking to him.
It made me realize that you never see religious Jews walking dogs. I think it is not customary for them to have such pets. Although Jewish law does not forbid keeping a pet, it does raise many complications for the owner.
Showing sensitivity to people's feelings the Talmud does, however, say that it is forbidden to keep a pet that will scare other people and specifically mentions a barking dog.
This week's parasha (Torah portion) is Ki Tetseh in which many be-kind-to-animals commandments are given. Deuteronomy 22:10 says, "You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together" (because having two animals of unequal strength and size yoked together would be a hardship on them).
Deut. 22:4 says, "You shall not see your brother's donkey or ox fallen down by the way, and withhold your help from them; you shall help him to lift them up again."
And the most well known is Deut. 22:6-7, the mitsvah of Shiluach haken שלוח הקן
"If you chance to come upon a bird's nest, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting upon the young or upon the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; you must first chase away the mother, but the young you may take to yourself; that it may go well with you, and that you may live long."
The reward is great, the same one that is promised for honoring your mother and father.
The Ramban wrote that one reason for the giving of this commandment was so that we do not develop within ourselves a trait of cruelty by grossly causing discomfort to the mother bird by allowing her to witness the taking of her young.
The weekend Camera-Critters meme is underway.
Visit the animals at http://camera-critters.blogspot.com/.