Becoming Kosher and Orthodox in Budapest and NYC

Can I have a Kosher Dog?
2010/07/20, 7:48 pm
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Shalom! In another (slight) departure from the themes of this blog, this entry is about a dog. Our dog. We adopted our greyhound C. in January 2010, from  a local shelter here in Budapest. He was beautiful and we fell in love with him as soon as we saw the picture of him.

This dog has a Ruach (spirit) that is more human than most people. He has survived not only the surgeries but some bitter conditions. Here is a brief history, although no-one is really sure of many of the details:

Given his injuries the Doctors and the Shelter people thought he was hit by a car last year, and that he was wandering around for weeks with a leg broken in several places. Can you imagine? He was found in the town of Hegyeshalom (having nothing to do with peace) and rescued there and sent to Budapest for medical care. By that time it was too late to re-set the bones, so he cannot set that foot down on the ground. Those of you with a strong stomach can ask me for the xrays, to see what the poor guy went through.

Then, the Eastern European winter set in, and C. was sent to the municipal shelter in Budapest, where if nobody adopted him after several months, he would be put down.A rescue organization in Budapest, formed by several Norwegian Veterinary students, got C. out of the city kennel and found some foster parents for him. this way C. was fed and kept warm instead of freezing in the outdoor kennels.  That’s when we found and got him. His handicap has not limited him.  It has not prevented him from lunging after birds, or even running with other dogs (he is a greyhound)!  He is faster on three legs than most dogs on four.

He has given us infinite more love than we thought possible. Not only that, he has that spirit I mentioned before, that just lights up everybody around him. On our walks, people just gravitate to him to pet him and to speak to him. He loves people and goes up to familiar shopkeepers and vendors in the streets to say hello.

C. is coming to New York with us. He is such an important part of our lives that we consider him our child and will make some accommodations in our pattern of religious observance for him.

I am curious about Talmudic discussions regarding household pets. I don’t mean the pages devoted to a cow dying on a neighbor’s property, I mean a pet:

-If your pet is very sick on a Shabbat or Yom Tov, should you be allowed to drive to the vet? Given my comments above, what do you think I would do? 🙂

-Is picking up your dog’s poop on Shabbat considered working?

-If you train your dog to turn the light switches on and off, is that permissible on Shabbat? Don’t laugh; quad/paraplegics have dog helpers to do just that.

What do you think? Care to vote in the poll?