As an animal lover and proud ‘owner’ of 2 dogs (I don’t really own them, I just love them and take care of them), my affection for my pets (AND the affection they give me) has helped me go through the difficult period of lockdown and isolation. I also read that some people think of pets when practicing metta meditation.
On the other hand I heard that in Thailand, a Buddhist country, dogs are considered lowly beings and apparently calling someone a dog is a really bad insult.
So do EBT have anything to say about pets? Would the Buddha recommend having pets or practicing metta for them? (I read about the metta practice towards pets from a contemporary teacher, not the Buddha).
Also, monastics are not allowed to have physical contact with humans, but are they allowed to have physical contact with pets (in other words, is such contact considered wholesome and praise worthy)? For example this video shows how much affection a pet can give you, which can be therapeutic. Is this kind of contact to simply give affection to be encouraged?
One of the reasons I am asking this, is also because I would like to know whether dogs are allowed in monasteries or encouraged to live there.
I am thinking of adopting a new dog, but due to health reasons I do not know whether I will be able to look after her for the whole of her life. So having a dog when you are not reasonably sure that you will be able to care for her is a bit selfish. Unless I can make sure beforehand that I find somewhere very wholesome like a monastery where I could leave her (and my other 2 dogs) in case I am no longer able to care for them.