"I Stand Firmly On My Practice" — Muslim Vet Explains Why She Treats Dogs At Her Clinic

"Not everyone can understand what I actually try to fight for."

Cover image via @drima_vet (TikTok)

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Muslim veterinarian Dr Salehatul Khuzaimah, or simply known online as Dr Ima, has recently gone viral on TikTok for her take on treating dogs at her clinic

The video, which was posted to her TikTok account on 9 October, illustrates Dr Ima explaining her duties as a veterinarian, and the responsibility she has undertaken to treat and tend to animals. 

Covered by dog media company, MyForeverDoggo, the two-minute feature has since garnered more than 60,000 views and 6,000 likes on TikTok thus far.

"Not everyone can understand what I try to fight for, in terms of our Ihsan to the dog," she said in reference to showing kindness through her faith.

Opening the video, Dr Ima immediately addresses the question on everyone's mind: how can a Muslim vet treat dogs?

"Being a vet [and] treating animals is my passion," she began.

"As a Malaysian, as a Malay, as a Muslim, we have been taught [that] touching dogs or having dogs is forbidden. If I [wasn't] in this field, I probably would still have the same stigma as other people."

Candidly expressing her take as a Muslim vet, Dr Ima stated that she gets scared sometimes too, but calms herself down by getting into the process. "I observe their body language, and if [the dog]'s not welcoming, then I won't approach them."

Dr Ima carries on by explaining the biggest challenges she has faced as a Muslim vet — and they've been tough

Using the context of religion, Dr Ima states that she consults various religious figures to help assist her through understanding what she should do as a result of treating dogs. "I will refer to other Ustaz or other Ulama, so I don't stick to one. I will stand firmly on what I practise."

Dr Ima washing her hands with earth after tending to dogs.

Image via @drima_vet (TikTok)

Despite her good deeds, Dr Ima was forthright about the criticism she has received as a result from catering to dogs at her clinic. "What we know is, for example, if you're scared of dogs, you'll have a tendency to harm them."

Going on to provide examples in the form of other articles, Dr Ima cited people who have battered dogs, in the form of throwing rocks, and in extreme cases, shooting them.

Among some of the criticism she has received personally include people asking her to change her job because she handles dogs. "They say that my job is haram, and ask me why I don't [seek out] other jobs, or choose your patients," she said.

Standing firm on her beliefs, Dr Ima goes on to clarify her stance, "Being a vet is not just [about] choosing your patients. In certain situations, if there is an emergency, we have to attend to the dogs."

Some of the inappropriate messages Dr Ima has received, critiquing her choice to treat dogs.

Image via @drima_vet (TikTok)

Moving into the future, Dr Ima expressed her hope for other Muslims in their perception towards dogs, and what dog owners can do in caring for our pups

Speaking on the displacement of dogs in Malaysia, Dr Ima explained with candour, "We need to improve education and awareness in controlling the overpopulation. If we have dogs, or if you can't afford to have more dogs, spay and neuter them, so that they don't end up straying on the street."

Dr Ima also expressed her hope in seeing more Muslim vets in time to come, to join the fight for animal welfare. "We are trying to educate our future generation. I hope I can be one to inspire people to at least show care to the animals. If you don't like animals, it's okay, but please don't harm them."

Ending her video with a very important message, Dr Ima encouraged all those seeking a pet of their own to "Adopt, don't shop!"

Dr Ima (left and right) with an associate (centre) at her clinic.

Image via @drima_vet (TikTok)

Since sharing the video, a slew of Malaysians from every race and creed displayed their support for Dr Ima

While a few proclaimed Dr Ima as their inspiration, a few commended her for her duties, and encouraged her to forego the naysayers.

One commenter, however, was curious as to how Dr Ima's parents reacted to her choice to treat dogs in her clinic, to which her short and sweet reply warmed the hearts of plenty, "They are my number one supporters!"

In a brief conversation with SAYS, Dr Ima hopes her story will be used for the benefit of others when understanding how everyone should treat animals.

Watch the TikTok video below:

@drima_vet Ihsan to every animals including dogs. Thank you @myforeverdoggo for the awesome coverage #vetlife #drima_vet #TikTokGuru #LearnOnTikTok #fyp #foryoupage #JomBelajar #dog original sound - Salehatul Khuzaimah

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