Rav Avigdor Miller on The Goldfish and the Dog

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Q:
What should a parent say when his child wants a pet like a dog or a goldfish?

A:
If he wants a goldfish, that’s just like getting him a toy. Nothing wrong with buying him a toy. But a dog; he doesn’t need for that. A dog is a symbol that he identifies with the goyim of the neighborhood. I’m not saying that every child wants it for that reason, but that’s what a dog means.

What is a dog for? Some people say that a dog is for the purpose of protecting them, but actually, it’s not so. Some people have these little dogs – tiny fragile things – and the dogs themselves need protection. For these tiny, little dogs – anyone can give it a good kick and kill it. What a dog really means in most cases is, “I’m a goy like all the goyim.” That’s what it really means in most cases.

Some people, unfortunately, pick up their dog in their arms and kiss it like a child. They use it instead of a child. Instead of having any children, they have two dogs in the house. I once saw a family saying farewell to their married son and daughter. They bent over and first they said goodbye to their son and daughter. Then they bent over and kissed their daughter’s dog goodbye, like a member of the family.

So when people sink so low that they accept animals on the level of human beings, then you have to know that they’re sinning against the Torah, sinning against Hashem and sinning against common sense.

And therefore, I’m very much against having dogs. But goldfish are no harm. It’s a hobby, a toy, for a child, so let him have a goldfish if he wants.
TAPE # E-37