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
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
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!