In my apartment building lives a family that keeps dogs and cats as pets. I sometimes meet the lady when she walks with a couple of her dogs and we chat for a few minutes. The dogs are very friendly and are used to my petting. Most of my neighbors are terrified when they see a dog, so they can't understand how I can be so friendly with the dogs. The lady once told them, "If you are scared of dogs, they know it and react accordingly". 

One neighbor, a Muslim, said to me, "You must have been a dog in your previous life". I was surprised, as I thought only non-Muslims like Hindus believed in reincarnation. Of course I don't think it is possible, mainly because there is no scientific evidence to prove it. 

For instance, if a man is morally corrupt he will be re-born as a dog or any other animal. But how does a dog turn into a man? Does an animal know the difference between good and bad? What good deeds would a frog have to do to be reincarnated as a human?

I should explain why I'm not scared of dogs. When I was growing up, keeping dogs as pets was not frowned upon. No one came and told us that we would not be allowed to enter Paradise if we had dogs in our house. As the years went by and the fundamentalists became powerful, most people stopped keeping dogs as pets. Since we had dogs, cats and even birds (like peacocks) in our bungalow, I and my siblings grew up being very friendly with them. I don't pick up a stone to hit dogs, which most Pakistanis do. The other day, a stray dog walked along with me and my wife in our compound for forty minutes. When I mentioned this to my neighbors, they were alarmed. "You should have shooed him away", said an old lady. "Why didn't you shoot him?" said someone else. I'm surprised that such people exist in a posh locality like ours.