When I visited Bukittinggi, a small, beautiful town in West Sumatra, last December, I noticed an unusually large amount of dogs being walked around by their owners.
Why unusual? The majority of local residents are Muslims, who normally don't keep dogs as pets. For the unenlightened, a dog's saliva is considered haram (in a dirty kind of sense) in Muslim teachings. Not that we'd be so eager to kiss those dogs in the lips if we were taught otherwise.
This phenomenon piqued my interests enough to ask around. And I got a straight and simple answer.
Apparently, they use dogs to sniff out and hunt for wild boars. These boars might attack people and destroy crops. And using attack dogs is the most efficient way to hunt them down, since using firearms is illegal. Fighting wild boars head on with sharp weapons like spears may sound cool. But not if you know that it will make your chance to survive become lower than doing Russian Roulette.
For your information: boars are also considered haram. So in a way, it's like choosing a lesser evil.
Okay, that answered one part of the questions. There was this other part that still haunted me: but why so many dogs around? Are there also that many wild boars? A native answered, "No." Why, then?
The answer proved to be simpler:
Photo credits: the ever observant Adhi Rachdian.