Well, this post is only a month late for World Rabies’ Day…
But it hasn’t stopped being relevant.
I stumbled across this campaign, Afya Serengeti, Health for Serengeti, which aims to control the spread and eventually eradicate rabies in the Serengeti Plains (Kenya and Tanzania). The campaign is sponsored in part by Intervet/Schering-Plough, a subsidiary of Merck.
Photo from the project photo page
It seems that Intervet is promoting the campaign through US veterinary clinics. For every dose of an Intervet-manufactured vaccine administered (there’s a list on the website), the company will donate a dose of rabies vaccine to the project.
They also have a click campaign which anyone can participate in. For every 5000 verified clicks received via the button on the front page of the site (unique visitor counts apparently don’t matter), Intervet will donate an undisclosed amount of “resources.” Every click also enrolls you in a chance to win a $50 iTunes gift certificate if you fill out some information and include a photo of your pet as a “message of support” to the program.
I don’t know the details about the project’s management other than what’s on the site, but I agree with the motivating premise that rabies should be preventable in this day and age, and that we should have the resources to do something about it. The gravity of the disease is something I seldom considered while living in both the United States and Taiwan, the latter of which is a rabies-free island, achieved partially through the tragedy of massive dog culls in the 1980s — something that would not be feasible in parts of the world where dogs share as close a relationship to basic modes of daily life as they do in parts of Africa.
Q: How is the relationship between dogs and people here?
A: Dogs are worth a lot to us. First they are watchdogs. They warn us if something is wrong. They can also bring food to our home, when they catch an animal. Meat costs 3000 shillings per kg. The dog brings 10 kg for free.
(from Episode 5 of the website’s video presentations)
And these dogs belong with their people, and are both good with and good for them. It was previously assumed that there were far too many roaming strays to ever successfully implement a rabies vaccination campaign. However, as the folks from Afya Serengeti show, these dogs have names, homes, and humans who will happily bring them in for free vaccinations.
Photo from the project photo page
I found the video presentations to be most persuasive. Check the tab for Serengeti Movies for five well-produced clips (by Ten10 Films) on how the project is carried out at a grassroots, village level. I recommend watching at least the first episode with Sarah Cleaveland, who speaks cogently about the inception of the project and introduces the personnel involved, and the fourth and fifth episodes which contain lots of amazing footage of villagers and their wide variety of dogs. Okay, I liked episode two and three as well, for their presentation of the personalities behind the campaign and the vivid examples of old-school advertising techniques like loudspeaker jeeps, respectively. It’s all very inspiring.
The House of Two Bows baroos in support of the folks at the Carnivore Disease Project House!
Remember when ostrich was being touted as the protein source of the future?
I have yet to try it.
But the Two Bows can now say they have. That makes at least two protein sources they’ve eaten which I have not (kangaroo being the other one).
I picked up a sample pair of ostrich trachea from an open jar of Aunt Jeni’s Ostrich Medley at a holistic pet boutique we checked out last weekend. They smelled funky and looked a bit hideous, but that’s exactly why Bowdu and Bowpi seemed to enjoy the minute-and-some-odd-seconds it took them to scarf down their snack!
In this case, I forfeited my authority to taste test any of their treats first.
I encourage you to check out Aunt Jeni’s Home Made, this Maryland-based company that manufactures the treats. I find them interesting as a small company model (at least based on what I can tell from their website) and worth a look for anyone who might be looking for novel protein sources. They currently have a special on American alligator bites that is rather tempting, but we’ve already got many other bags of treats queued up for consumption. Other things they offer that I have rarely, if ever, seen elsewhere are goat liver, chicken’s feet (recently reviewed at Inu Baka), duck’s feet, and one item which won’t be entering the House of Two Bows anytime soon — rabbit’s feet with fur still attached. *shudder*
As for the ostrich treats, I would get them again, but not at $17.99 for a whole jar. I’ll probably just stick to onesy-twosies.
Here’s a story from the New York Times [online Sunday edition, print Monday edition] “Once Banned, Dogs Reflect China’s Rise.”
Xiangzi — Lucky, in English — is aptly named. A trim Siberian husky, his owner, a sports marketer named Qiu Hong, pampers him with two daily walks, a brace of imported American toys and grooming tools, $300 worth of monthly food and treats and his own sofa in her high-rise apartment.
Metaphorically speaking, Xiangzi is not just a dog, but a social phenomenon — and, perhaps, a marker of how quickly this nation is hurtling through its transformation from impoverished peasant to first-world citizen.
Twenty years ago, there were hardly any dogs in Beijing, and the few that were here stood a chance of landing on a dinner plate. It remains possible even today to find dog-meat dishes here. But it is far easier to find dog-treat stores, dog Web sites, dog social networks, dog swimming pools — even, for a time recently, a bring-your-dog cinema and a bring-your-dog bar on Beijing’s downtown nightclub row.
There’s a lot about this article that bugs me. For starters they appear to misidentify a bunch of puppymill Shiba Inu as “Akita” puppies, with no comment on their “caretaker” or the deplorable breeding practices this woman undoubtedly stands for (euphemistically described as “industries”). Make no mistake that when a social phenomenon is framed largely in terms of dollars, revenue, and status points, just as this article begins, it is being driven not by those with humane agendas in mind, but by profiteers more interested in a quick financial turnaround. This article might as well have appeared in the Business section, for all I know.
Secondly, don’t even get me started on my rant about dog-eating in China. I’m going to bracket that thought for now. Suffice to say, that whole line about dogs going from the wok to walks is typical boilerplate text that’s all too easy to slip into superficial reports on contemporary China. I hate how often dog-eating is recycled as shorthand for the persistent “primitivism” or “anachronism” of so-called “modern” Chinese society, even as I recognize that Chinese dog-eaters exist and they disturb me on some deep, unspeakable level.
Nevertheless the article doesn’t get to what I find to be most interesting about dogs in Beijing until halfway through: “Mostly, though, it appears that Beijing dogs have, as in the West, become objects of affection — even devotion — by their owners.” Even then, the article tries so damn hard to keep Chinese pet owners at arm’s length from the rest of the world, specifically the Western world, by emphasizing all the extremes and seemingly arbitrary legislation that converges on dog owners in China.
— Or rather, Beijing, as a city unto its own. If there’s one thing the article is clear about, despite its title, it’s that the phenomenon described is specifically a Beijing thing. One cannot generalize from the densely-populated, monied, well-trafficked and internationally-spotlit urban capitol to the rest of China. I don’t think the author is trying to overreach the geographic limits of his research, even if he gestures somewhat halfassedly towards historical breadth with those perfunctory factoids about imperial Chinese dogs. The few details offered from more contemporary times are more germane to the discussion, but still tantalizingly sparse.
As long as dog ownership in China continues to be framed as a “novel,” “curious” fad, driven largely by economic growth and market factors, writers will never get to the more interesting and enriching stories that explain the human-canine bond on a more genuine, significant, and enduring level.
It rained all weekend. For the first time since joining the House of Two Bows 7 months ago, Bowpi has actually been refusing to go on a walk. Strained back in her collar and resisted all leash tugs, she did.
Is it her Basenji nature? Or did she pick up that trick from Bowdu?
As much as I griped about my previous vet not being willing to work with online pharmacies, I know that Internet pharmacies are not above reproach, too. In the interest of equal opportunity bitching, today I will comment on my latest order from 1-800-PetMeds.
So my order, which included a prescription order of Soloxine, was placed last Tuesday. I received notification that it shipped Wednesday, after my vet faxed the prescription to their offices. I took one week, or five business days, to get from Pompano Beach, FL to California. No complaints about the efficiency of the process!
My order consisted of:
- Soloxine 0.2 mg tablets (250 @ $0.09 = $22.50)
- C.E.T. dental chews, size medium (30 count bag, $13.99)
- Diphenhydramine 25 mg, 100 ct. bottle ($7.99)
The dental chews arrived fresh. The generic Diphenhydramine they sent along is called Banophen, distributed by Major Pharmaceuticals (31778 Enterprise Road, Livonia, MI). Good enough.
The main reason for my order, Bowdu’s Soloxine, turned out to be a little disappointing. I ordered 250 as I understood the pills come in either 250-count or 1000-count bottles from the manufacturer. We did not get a sealed bottle from Virbac with the original label and packaging information, as I had hoped would come. Instead, the pills were shipped in PetMed’s own labeled pharmacy bottle, which means I guess they collected the quantity I ordered from loose bottles.
Okay, fine, I can deal with that. But what irked me was that the expiration date was listed as 10/13/2011 — as in exactly one year from when the order was fulfilled. I highly doubt that’s what was written on the bottle(s) from whence these pills came, and so I have no idea how fresh these pills actually are. In that sense, they’re no better than my previous vet, who was giving me pills set to expire in a month.
To PetMed’s credit, they did stick a note onto the pharmacy bottle that indicates the medication is to be taken an hour before or 2 to 3 hours after a meal, which is the correct way to dose Levothyroxine. So they’re at least two steps ahead of my previous vet in terms of price and providing correct instructions.
I’ve e-mailed to ask how I (and other customers) can know for sure that we’re not getting expired drugs, so we’ll see how they respond.
Meanwhile, Bowdu’s skin and feet are no longer swollen and pink thanks to the antibiotic shot and the Ketoconazole, but now his paw pads seem to be cycling through another phase of grodiness. This yeasty overgrowth really is hard to control! We wipe his ears every day with Novalsan Otic, and while there’s considerably less gunk coming out of those orifices, his ears still exude unpleasant odors. We’ve tried shampooing his feet with two brands of pet shampoo so far, but his paw pads get crusty again within days.
I just bought a bottle of Selsun Blue and bathed his feet with it today. There was a noticeable slickness to the texture of his bald skin where the shampoo had soaked for 15 minutes, so I hope that means the selenium sulfide is working.
He has about five days of Ketoconazole left.
The weather is finally turning autumnal.
He’s cone-free at the park again. When he can remain cone-free at home for 24 hours without inflicting any major damage to himself, I’ll finally be able to stop stressing over this… until the next allergy season.
Edit 24 October 2010: Also, as for this crap?
That’s not my dog, but a generic Shiba Inu picture that’s designed to look like any amateur’s digital snapshot. And it’s creepy when an automated text generator asks me how my dog is doing, by name. It’s even weirder and borderline offensive when your customer service representative asks over the telephone, in her most blase, this-is-my-job-and-I-don’t-really-care tone of voice, So, how’s Bowdu doing? and ends the call with Give Bowdu a hug for us. You really don’t know my dog at all, do you, if you’re suggesting that I give him hugs and kisses on behalf of a total stranger. The very thought — HA! I doubt most shoppers turn to online pharmacies for a “personalized” experience, because any attempts to make it seem so just come across as disingenuous. Please, don’t bother.
The day we got Bowpi, Bowdu awoke to find a wild turkey in the backyard.
He chased the bird up onto the neighbor’s roof, where it roosted and glared down for quite some time. Bowdu made sure it didn’t come back down, and the turkey eventually found another yard to occupy.
Bowdu’s biggest pet peeve is when any foreign creature invades his backyard. The first thing he does every morning is whimper to be let outside, whereupon he charges immediately towards the corner of the yard where a raccoon had once scaled the fence and landed into a direct tussle with Bowdu. That was about a month after we moved into this house, and since it had been uninhabited for some time, perhaps the raccoon was not expecting anything to be on the other side of the fence. The Doggy Daddy and I both happened to be standing in the backyard right when it happened. We both started yelling at each other to DO SOMETHING, but both of us were too panicked to interfere (not that either of us would fare any better against a wild raccoon!). Meanwhile, Bowdu and the raccoon chased each other in furious, snarling circles for a few agonizing seconds, but neither made contact. The entire scenario couldn’t have lasted more than 20 seconds. Just as the Doggy Daddy reached for a shovel that was propped up against the fence, the raccoon finally exited the yard the same way he entered. Luckily both domestic and feral beast escaped unscathed, but it ranks as one of the loudest, scariest, and apparently, most impressionable fights that Bowdu has ever been in.
99 out of 100 mornings, Bowdu will find his backyard unmolested, but somewhere in the back of his mind, I think he expects to find that his backyard turned into a sea of squirrel feces overnight or something.
When we’re elsewhere, Bowdu’s fairly indifferent to small, darting wildlife that crosses his path. The campus squirrels don’t even phase him, despite their abundance. Cool and sedate Bowpi, on the other hand, becomes a scrabbling, bulgy-eyed maniac at the sight of all that frisky LUNCHMEAT. These critters are often quite fearless. I’d go so far as to call them instigators.
This guy stood his ground and nattered away at Bowpi the entire time I was taking pictures. If he only knew how fast Bowpi is when unleashed, he might not be so cheeky! Yes, even the squirrels display my university’s reputation for fostering campus provocateurs.
Above is a screenshot of the Basenji(-type) dog shown briefly in the opening scene of The African Queen. This movie tells of a “crazy, psalm-singing skinny old maid” missionary, Rosie (Katherine Hepburn), and a shaggy, drunken rapscallion boat captain, Charlie (Humphrey Bogart) as they journey down the Ulanga River in a modest steamboat called The African Queen. After German soldiers kill Rosie’s brother (this is set during World War I), she slakes her English thirst for revenge by convincing Charlie (“Why, he’s Canadian — this concerns him too!”), to torpedo and sink one of the largest German military ships anchored downriver. Along the way, Rosie manages to sober up Charlie and reinvigorate her zest for life in the great outdoors. As the current brings them closer to their target, the two gradually fall in love.
It being 1951 when the film was made, I don’t think I’m surprising anyone by revealing that the Brit (and her subject) are victorious over their German enemies, and the film ends with an unambiguously happy ever after.
At any rate, I don’t mind spoiling the movie because I don’t recommend it. I was not very impressed.
Granted, it was an African safari/adventure story that managed not to totally mischaracterize the native population, despite the colonial cloud which looms so pensively over the entire film (but most directly over Bogart’s character, which was actually rather ironic). But it’s easy not to offend the locals when they’re hardly even shown at all. Rather, the geography of Africa was represented by nature, wildlife, iconic animals like crocodiles, giraffes, hippos… Too bad the domestic Basenji got barely a second of screen time, as its presence would surely involve real African people (OMG!) and diminish the sense of danger and the exotic that the film tried so hard to convey.
It surprises me that this ranks in the top 250 on the IMDB charts. It surprises me that this film has endured, mainly because I feel the nationalistic fervor that drives the entire mission is so poorly represented, as well as dated. But I recognize that it was quite a popular film in its time, given its star power and visual thrill factor. What really makes this film stand out, in my opinion, is its gorgeous scenery (though much was also obviously done in a studio).
It made me wonder if a film like this would have endured had the filmmakers taken a story like Fula, Basenji from the Jungle as the source inspiration. Granted, Veronica Tudor-Williams’ adventure takes place quite a bit later than this film, and their adventure is largely overland and satisfies a more niche market… but I bet a clever screenwriter could have made it work (not that James Agee was any chump!). Who doesn’t love a well-narrated dog story? At any rate, Fula’s story would’ve provided the alibi for a film that would satisfy the same kinds of visual pleasures, and more — it would’ve brought to the big screen a representation of Central Africa that might have traversed more backroads and given voice to more people, not to mention their dogs.
The very idea would have seemed absurd to mainstream film producers then, as in now.