On Community, Pride and Safety

My morning walk with Daisy has prompted me to write out of anger, sadness and a question as to how change can be achieved. Let me paint you a picture for context. The area in which I live is primarily populated with social housing and ex-council housing. The area in itself is lovely, with plenty of green grass, and a choice of 4 woods within a 5 minute walk! The people are generally decent and friendly, and usually quite helpful. At the moment, there are a lot of building works as the housing associations work to improve flats and houses. This is great as it has greatly improved the appearance and feel of the area. But (there had to be a but!), along with this change, has come rubbish, rubbish and more rubbish.

It wasn’t until I got Daisy and took her for walks, that I really appreciated rubbish-free ground. I started noticing more and more the extent of the problem and it evoked lots of emotions. Not only does it look awful, but I was more aware that the rubbish created a safety risk to dogs, especially the ones that like to scavenge and wander!

Back to today. Daisy is very quick at spotting food on the ground, and before I knew it, she had a cooked rib bone in her mouth. Now, if it was anything other than a bone or chocolate, I wouldn’t be too worried, but I knew I couldn’t just let her gobble it up. Luckily she gave it up without too much fuss, just a couple of growls. Looking over my shoulder I saw a pile of food in the middle of the grass, like someone had just dumped the leftovers instead of using a bin. At this point, I should point out that there was a line of wheely bins right next to the pile. I rolled my eyes and carried on.

Just outside the woods, there are two rows of houses facing each other. I looked in disbelief at the amount of rubbish outside their houses, on the grass, leading into the woods. I felt angry. My thoughts were along the lines of ‘why, just why?’, ‘why can’t people be bothered to use their bins!?’, ‘my dog is at risk because of people’s apathy and laziness’. As I went into the woods and walked round, my feelings then changed to sadness. What was it that makes people treat their homes and area like that? Why is there no pride? I was trying to put myself in their shoes and think about how they might see things. I’m afraid I didn’t come up with much.

I’m sure there are many factors that contribute to littering and lack of pride in homes and community. I don’t pretend to know or understand what goes on in people’s homes or minds. I could stay angry at the individual people for littering the ground and areas in which I walk my dog. While anger is important in fuelling motivation, I feel there is something else going on at a wider level. Where did community go? What would it take to give people a sense of pride and concern about their community and homes? I could go and pick up all the litter, the santa signs, the food, the polystyrene, the deflated footballs. But that wouldn’t help anyone. People need to be empowered and motivated. Community needs to become important again.

I will leave you with your thoughts and feelings, and I will continue to ponder the issue. Whether I come up with anything remains to be seen. Meanwhile, you can make small differences in your area, make sure you throw your rubbish in the bin, don’t be too proud to pick up litter you see on your walks, and if you’re that way inclined, challenge people when you see them littering. If you want to go even further, why not start a community project, or gather a few friends and residents to get litter picking in your area, maybe ask people why they think littering happens and what they think would help.

Judging others is part of the human condition, we can’t help it. Use it to help, not condemn and who knows, change may happen.


On Kennel Cough Vaccines and Cowboy Builders

So what is with the title of this post?
Are there any similarities between kennel cough vaccines and cowboy builders?

Both are useless, take you for your money and potentially cause more problems than before.

The above statement is quite controversial and potentially scaremongering. However, read the facts below and make your own mind up.

So what is kennel cough? It is a dog version of the human common cold caused by the virus bordatella. It is very rare for dogs to become seriously ill with kennel cough, with symptoms lasting for about 7-12 days. You will find that kennels, boarding facilities and training clubs require the kennel cough vaccine before the dogs can stay. However, the vaccine sheds, meaning that in the weeks or so after the vaccination, the dogs will be spreading the virus around anyway.

The most common method of administering the kennel cough vaccine is a spray up the nostril. The vaccine causes a release in the chemical interferon, which is responsible for suppressing respiratory viruses. The injectable form of the vaccine does not release this chemical so is not effective.

World-renowned vaccination scientist, Dr. Ronald Schultz, says: “Many animals receive “kennel cough” vaccines that include Bordetella and CPI and/or CAV-2 every 6 to 9 months without evidence that this frequency of vaccination is necessary or beneficial. In contrast, other dogs are never vaccinated for kennel cough and disease is not seen. CPI immunity lasts at least 3 years when given intranasally, and CAV -2 immunity lasts a minimum of 7 years parenterally for CAV-I. These two viruses in combination with Bordetella bronchiseptica are the agents most often associated with kennel cough, however, other factors play an important role in disease (e.g. stress, dust, humidity, molds, mycoplasma, etc.), thus kennel cough is not a vaccine preventable disease because of the complex factors associated with this disease. Furthermore, this is often a mild to moderate self limiting disease. I refer to it as the ‘Canine Cold.’”

Here is what the British Medical Data Sheet says about the vaccine;

Contra-indications, warnings:  Particularly in very young susceptible puppies, mild discharges from the eyes and nose can occur from the day after vaccination, sometimes accompanied by sneezing and coughing. Signs are generally transient, but in occasional cases may persist for up to four weeks. In animals, which show more severe signs, appropriate antibiotic treatment may be indicated.”

Common sense would tell you that the vaccine here has actually caused the virus.

If your dog develops a fever, then it is wise to get your dog to the vets for treatment as it could be canine influenza.

Don’t take my word for it, do your research, talk to your vet. Talk to many vets. Unfortunately, the way licences are regulated in the UK means it makes it very difficult to not vaccinate your pet if you are going on holiday.

To find out more see:

Peter Dobias – Kennel Cough Vaccine Exposed

Dr Jean Dodds – Information on Vaccines