Sofyan-e Thauri was born in 715 at Kufa and attained high proficiency in Traditions and theology. In 775 he collided with the authorities and was compelled to go into hiding in Mecca; he died in 778 at Basra.
One day Sofyan was eating a piece of bread when a dog happened along. He gave the bread to the dog, bit by bit.
“Why did you not eat it with your wife and child?” he was asked.
“If I give bread to the dog,” he replied, “he keeps watch over me all through the night so that I can pray. If I give it to my wife and child, they hold me back from my devotions.”
From: Muslim Saints and Mystics: Episodes from the Tadhkirat al-Auliya (‘Memorial of the Saints’) by Farid al-Din Attar, translated by AJ Arberry.