Chiang Mai FeMail  by Elena Edwards
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Why dogs don’t live longer

What goes round, comes round...

Are mobile phones a cancer risk after all?

OPINION

 

Why dogs don’t live longer

Although this story isn’t part of Care for Dogs’ history, I still thought it was important to place here as a tender kiss from dogs to all pet owners who have lost loved ones. I was called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. I was his veterinarian. His owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for him, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up and said, “I know why.”
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life—like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t need to stay as long.”
With thanks to Care for Dogs for permission to use this lovely story.

 

What goes round, comes round...

Those of us who are old enough to remember (and who isn’t?), and even disapprove of the antics of Hugh Hefner, the original “playboy” and owner of that famous and not exactly PC magazine, may be amused to find out that it’s not only the credit crunch which is blighting the old guy’s life right now. Although it’s been announced all over that, in order to avoid the spectre of bankruptcy lurking at his left shoulder, he will have to sack a large number of his resident bevy of teenaged beauties, the recent discovery that several of his little favourites have been cheating on him is said to have caused him much more grief than the thought of losing his business. Show business and sport seem to have been the lure which persuaded his number one girlfriend to date a magician and another of his favourite “bunnies” to fall for a footballer. No choice there then, an octogenarian up against a pair of young studs, both of whom aren’t exactly poverty-stricken. Against that double kick in the ego, it’s hardly surprising that Hef doesn’t seem too bothered by a dramatic fall in his company’s share price, although a company spokesperson was understandably reluctant to discuss any of her boss’s present problems. So, there you are, ladies—what goes round does, occasionally come right back and bite!


Are mobile phones a cancer risk after all?

One of the most common sights here, in and out of schools, (and often on motorbikes being driven by youngsters), is a child with a mobile phone glued to its ear. Those of us who are ancient enough may well remember the initial questions which began to be asked when mobiles suddenly became less than brick-sized—will the use of this essential piece of new technology give me brain cancer? We may also remember the constant denials given by researchers, (possibly funded by the telecoms companies), that this could never happen. Contrasting reports continued up until the present time, with no believable conclusion reached—until now, with the publication of a very disturbing research result. A Swedish team’s study of under 16’s suggests that children who regularly use mobile phones are 5 times more likely to develop a specific type of brain tumour from the radiation emitted by the devices.
Youngsters under the age of 16, it seems, are more at risk from the tumour, known as a glioma, as their brains and nervous systems are still developing, with risk levels increasing dependent on the age at which they first began to use a mobile. The research team reported their findings at a conference on mobile phone use and health held in London recently; the findings were, of course, questioned by other scientists. However, the team are so convinced of the dangers that they are recommending that children under the age of 12 should only be allowed to use a mobile in an emergency, and other scientists were impressed enough with the findings to call for a re-examination of the risks. Another danger to health caused by using a mobile phone is known as acoustic neuroma, a benign tumour which can cause deafness by damaging the auditory nerve.
Arguments exist that mobile phones have not been in use long enough to be able to give an accurate prediction of the risks; however, if this recent research is even partly correct, an explosion in the number of brain tumour cases worldwide may be expected in the future, as children are spending a considerable amount of time on their use.
Many expats here, or their Thai partners, may have young or teenaged children. Perhaps it is time to restrict the use of a means of communication which may have devastating results in the future.


OPINION: Getting together

Since our publishing of the Chiang Mai Friends’ informal meeting with Immigration officials held on September 10 at the Shangri-la, this paper has received several enquiries about immigration matters, all of which have been sent on to be answered. Hopefully, by now, the enquirers’ minds will have been eased! We also hope that the other two organisations between whom it was agreed to act as conduits for such enquiries have also received requests for information. It’s good to know that an innovative idea which began as an attempt to bring together the two communities by helping expats understand the laws of their adopted country is actually working. Further meetings, it is hoped, will be planned, with the aim of getting together other heads of official organisations within the city, such as the various police departments. The more we expats understand Thai law and the way Thais live, the easier the tricky process of true integration between our two communities will be. However hard we try, we will never be Thai., (and Thais will never (we hope) become Western), but the middle ground between the two cultures is, surely, a great place to explore!