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Anthony SB ThanasayanAnthony SB Thanasayan is a wheelchair user who is powered by his service dogs who help him stay on top of life. He is president of Malaysia's first and only animal-assisted therapy society called Petpositive.
Published: 28 September 2015
And I'm sure that by now you have heard it all.
The war of views between the veterinary and health experts and animal welfare groups. There is no need to bore you and repeat it here. However, I did jot down several points of interest which I thought was worthwhile for some of us to think about. They are listed in no particular order:
Of course, it was terribly upsetting to realise that all strays in the affected states would need to be killed in order to try and stamp out rabies before it took root and turned into an epidemic within three weeks.
The reason to include so-called "healthy" strays in the target list was because it was virtually impossible to say which dogs are affected and which aren't. And with no sufficient rabies vaccines available for now, there was really no time to lose.
In fact, the WHO in Geneva supports it - along with the World Organisation for Animal Health or OIE in France. They both apparently already possess a working relationship with our Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) in Putrajaya for some time now.
However, it must be pointed out that the culling they are speaking about is "humane culling". This specifically means by way of euthanasia. The culling methods these organisations condemn are poisoning dogs, electrocuting and bludgeoning them to death. These have been employed by several countries including China in the wake of rabies.
The way I see it, we are very lucky here because with an army of more than 200 veterinarians deployed to the northern region, the strays are all being put to sleep in a humane way. And that, I think, is the best thing that any animal lover the world over can be thankful for in a situation where there is no other pathway than to take this horrible road to hell situation.
The bottom line with all this is, I am happy and confident with how the DVS and the three affected local governments have been handling the matter under their supervision.
Animal welfare groups should get out of their high chair and build a working and lasting relationship with local councils. They should stop criticising them all the time and establish common grounds where they can work with them in order to help improve the quality of lives of all animals under their jurisdiction.
Feeders of strays should now rethink their practice in focusing how their efforts will not create vulnerability among the strays they want to help. Perhaps now they can better appreciate the reason why local councils have always warned them about feeding strays instead of having them rehomed.
Animal lovers are also likely to understand the role of dogcatchers now – and why they catch strays off the streets, risking their own lives as they do it.
Animal lovers and groups need to also look beyond themselves and their dogs to understand the rights of other citizens who wish to walk in a park without being attacked by strays, stop blaming children when strays bite them and pay attention to all the local council laws when keeping a dog or cat.
In the company of an angel on four legs
By ANTHONY THANASAYAN
This week, two international day events are taking place a few days from each other. Today is the 25th anniversary of the United Nations International Day of Older Persons.
On Sunday, pet lovers will be getting their furry and feathered friends together to celebrate World Animal Day on Oct 4.
My column today touches on both topics.
S. Gopalasingam, 82, has been a dog owner for over 30 years. His first canine was a German Shepherd named Jackie.
Gopal had always wanted to get a dog but his wife, A. Anjiee, was not comfortable with the thought of having one in the house. However, she changed her mind when their house in Shah Alam was burgled.
So in came Jackie, at eight weeks old. At first, the pup’s bedroom was in the garden. However, he was so adorable that by the third day, he was “promoted” and allowed to sleep in the couple’s bedroom.
Gopal and Anjiee weren’t the only ones who were blessed to have a four-footed angel around. Their neighbours were equally enthusiastic about the pup.
Jackie not only kept the home of his loving new family safe from prowlers, the fierce fellow also barked at any suspicious characters in the neighbourhood.
Jackie was the perfect companion for the couple. He shared in every activity in the family. He even had his own special mattress in the bedroom.
Jackie became even closer to Anjiee when she developed a heart problem and needed a bypass surgery.
Anjiee and Gopal were devastated when Jackie suddenly died of a heart attack after 10 years. Initially, the couple decided not to get a replacement. However, when Gopal realised how heartbroken his wife was – and it was beginning to affect her health – he decided to get another dog for her.
In galloped another German Shepherd named Maxi, who was barely five months old. The canine wasted no time in assuming his new role. The smile on Anjiee’s face confirmed that Maxi couldn’t have been a better choice.
Through his playful antics, Maxi kept Anjiee cheerful and motivated about life and the challenges before her.
With Maxi around, Gopal could confidently go to work, knowing that Maxi would be the best company for his wife.
The German Shepherd helped Anjiee to forget her worries as she took the dog for walks and fed him.
When Anjiee suffered a stroke in the early hours of the morning, it was Maxi who woke Gopal up and led him to his wife who was sprawled on the bedroom floor.
Gopal visited his wife at the hospital every day, until she passed away. Whenever Gopal returned home, Maxi would head to the passenger side to check if Anjiee had returned.
Today there is another Maxi in Gopal’s life – Maxi II. (Maxi died after an unsuccessful surgery to remove a growth in his body.)
Maxi II is a Golden Retriever who was given to Gopal a month after Maxi died. Gopal says Maxi II is now his best friend and companion.
Gopal was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 50. But he keeps himself fit through regular exercise and diligently follows the diet prescribed for him. He never misses any medical appointments. The secret to his good health is his dog, he says.
“By looking after Maxi II, I am motivated to keep myself from ending up in hospital – and I have my Golden Retriever to thank for that,” says Gopal. He looks after Maxi like a son. He cleans his eyes and ears, cuts his nails, brushes his fur regularly, and bathes him.
Gopal takes Maxi II for his yearly check-ups and vaccinations.
On the current rabies outbreak in the northern states, Gopal points out the importance of taking preventive measures, no matter which part of the country you are in.
Maxi II is always on a leash when they go for walks. He is never left to roam on his own outside the house.
“I think the Department of Veterinary Services and the local councils are doing a great job of handling the rabies crisis and they need our support as dog lovers,” adds Gopal, as Maxi II jumped up and licked his face.
PET+BLOGSPOT is the ONLINE BLOG of the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association or Petpositive. Our stories are CURRENT, ACCURATE and RELIABLE. We offer both local and foreign news on animals, disability and the elderly. PET+BLOGSPOT was first established in October 2007. Our hits since then are now 250,000 and ever increasing! PET+BLOGSPOT is updated daily. Kindly note that views expressed in PET+BLOGSPOT are not necessarily those of PETPOSITIVE. You may also visit our Webpage by browsing: www.petpositive.org You can also find us in Facebook under PETPOSITIVE EMPOWERMENT. Please sign up as a FOLLOWER of this Blog if you haven't done so already in order to show us your kind support for our work. Thank you!
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