The Lady and The Dog
Dian Herdiany | Indonesia | 2018 | 5 mins
“Being a Muslim means we love and preserve God’s creation.”
This is the love story of a lady and her dog. She has a different way of being an obedient Muslim: not wearing hijab and loving and keeping a dog as her companion. Their relationship is believed by some others from the Muslim community in Indonesia to be haram or forbidden, because dogs are thought to be a representation of demons. This is a story of companionship between human and animal that is beyond the restriction of religion.
Emily, a blind Muslim woman, and her dog Louie Jay are best friends. Emily’s family adopted Louie when he was a puppy. The lady and her dog share the same passion—they love being in nature. They spend time together and their favourite place is a beautiful garden near Emily’s family house. They enjoy being in nature so much. As a Muslim, it’s forbidden for Emily to keep a dog. But Emily has her own understanding of Islamic faith. She believes that the essence of being Muslim is compassion. She loves all kinds of animals especially Louie, who had been a guardian for her over the years. Louie helps her to explore and to have mobility. For Emily, keeping and loving Louie is a representation of her faith.
About Dian Herdiany
Dian Herdiany has been working in the documentary filmmaking industry for more than 15 years. After working at In-Docs, a program created by Yayasan Masyarakat Mandiri Film Indonesia (YMMFI), for four years, Herdiany founded Kampung Halaman Foundation in 2006 with others who believe in the power of youth and diversity within Indonesia. A non-profit organisation, Kampung Halaman works with various local partners to strengthen the role of youth in their community through community-based media.
Her interests include children and youth policy, public engagement, community business, youth coop, participatory media & research, all of which are reflected in the work she pursues as director of Kampung Halaman. Produced while participating in the See Me Hear Me project, which was funded under the Australian Awards Fellowship, "The Lady and The Dog" is Herdiany’s first foray into fictional filmmaking.
I’m a Muslim but I also love dogs. Being a Muslim in my country, Indonesia, means I’m not allowed to keep dogs. Since I was a child, my parents told us that our religion forbids us from keeping dogs. Dogs are haram.
After living separately from my family and moving to another city I started to keep a dog at my office for Kampung Halaman Foundation. Some of them love dogs too, but the others were anti-dog. Luna was our first dog. We adopted her when she was 5-days-old. We raised her as a Kampung Halaman member. For me, it was a strategy to keep a dog, because it was double trouble for a women who lived alone in an anti-dog society to own one. Still, one of our neighbours said that we are not allowed to keep a dog because we live in Muslim majority community. She was found dead, poisoned, in our office’s yard one morning. Luna was our guardian and a very happy dog until our neighbours poisoned her. We were expecting Luna's babies and were happy before that tragedy. It broke our hearts. My heart is still broken.
After I did a research on how Islam sees the dogs, the concept of haram and history of dogs in Muslim communities, I understood that the idea dogs are haram is an interpretation of the Qu’ran based on the context within Indonesia. I Believe God is good, and God is kind. Humans, animals and plants are made for God’s purpose. As a Muslim, I believe no humans, animals or plants should be killed. Dogs, especially, are such lovely, smart, loyal and friendly animals for the human.