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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Chinese New Year Post: Mandarin Oranges

If someone told you that Chinese New Year is over just because Chap Goh Mei has passed, then I think it’s ironic..How can the new year be over so fast?  By right it has just begun isn’t it? Impossible the new year is over in 2 weeks. (Wow..that’s a short year).  LOL..ok fine.. Not messing with words. I got the context there.

Speaking about what’s right and wrong, this year’s CNY made me to do some homework. To make long story short; I was a guest at this CNY open house of some VIP, and there I was sitting among people whom I don’t know. I was killing time, until this group of ladies with toy breed dogs sat at the next table. Soon, this Silky Terrier was gobbling the Mandarin oranges one after another as the owner ( lets name her Miss D) kept peeling the fruit and feeding them as treats. The twist came when one of her friends who just arrived, saw what was going on and asked Miss D if dogs can eat oranges. Miss Friend told Miss D that oranges are poisonous to dogs. Miss D was somewhat offended and became very defensive. She said her dog never had a problem after eating oranges, adding that even her cats at home love oranges. To top that, she said they (her cats and dogs) can finish two boxes of oranges during CNY. Miss D also explained that the ONLY fruit dogs and cats can’t eat are grapes. Miss Friend insisted that oranges are toxic to some extent. Miss D argued strongly that oranges are safe.

*Suddenly the CNY open house became very interesting as I watched the drama*

Drama continuous……..

After exchanging some arguments, Miss D took out her iPad with an annoyed face and said "Let's Google it.."  and she Googled..( suspense background music) .. Miss D effortlessly  found the websites she needed and proudly brought down Miss Friend. I couldn’t see what website she was showing, and I don’t need to. Simply because Miss D was reading out loud the contents and comments, so that others at the table who were passively involved in the argument get the message too. She read out the points and so called facts which apparently say that oranges are not toxic to dogs and cats. Miss Friend was clearly embarrassed.
 I swear Miss Friend looked like this when reading the Google search results 

I must say I was surprised too and I didn’t like the way Miss Friend (whom I don't even know) got embarrassed in a gathering like that..The manner of which Miss D pointed out that she was right was rather offensive and rude.  Maybe I felt that way because mentally, I had the same opinion as Miss Friend. Nevertheless, Google search sealed the argument. Google is the modern era's "High Court of Who's Right". I was quietly dumbfounded from a distance.

I was thinking about it as I drove home. I knew very well that oranges can be harmful to pets to some extent, especially the seeds and the amount of intake. I reached home and I Googled. I found the websites that Miss D cited.  And let me tell you something..Not everything that you find in Google is true. The art of looking for something in the internet involves common sense. You don’t take everything from the internet as the gospel truth.

.....because according to the Fur God of the internet.....

Oranges CAN BE toxic to pets like dogs can cats. Oranges contain toxic element in the form of essential oils and Psoralens. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and photosensitivity.

Grapefruit, lemons, lime, oranges contain Psoralen (ficusin) - Toxin naturally occurring in some plants.

When feeding oranges, your pet eats the seeds as well. This was definitely the case for Miss D. Research suggests that most fruit seeds in general contain the toxin cyanide that can harm your dogs and cats. Signs of cyanide poisoning include vomiting, heavy breathing, apnea tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, coma and skin irritation.

Here's an extra info from a couple of vets I purposely interviewed for clarification: They said oranges are also acidic. It can acidify the urine to form crystals and cause bladder stones.

I remember word for word, the “facts” which Miss D read out from the websites… After browsing the net sourcing from where she took the advice, I actually found them. The truth is, those “facts” were opinions given by people and she only read and showed the part she wanted to. Here look at this. Some of the pages and the comments she used to defend her argument.

Another website she referred

This input was from a Veterinarian. Here she says that citrus fruits are perfectly safe. The other things she labelled as toxic are spot on. ( Credit where it's due). However, info such as this you find in Google can easily confuse and influence your practice. When a VET says citrus fruits are beneficial, people get encouraged and feed them in abundance without ambiguity.  They think, the more vitamin C, the better.

Well you may have a cat or dog that probably ate oranges before and is doing fine. Now that challenges this fact right?  Yes that’s how subjective this matter has become. When people say poisonous or toxic, it doesn’t mean your pets will instantly fall motionless to the floor and foam at the mouth. No it’s not like that.

For example, my dogs had mistakenly ate chocolates fed by my neighbour’s children. I had friends who unknowingly fed grapes to their cats and dogs. Although it wasn’t fatal, grapes and raisin are known to cause irreversible damage to the kidneys. Now this is what meant as poisonous and toxic. While your pets may look O.K from the outside, you won’t know the effects of all these toxic inside their bodies, in the long run.

Next, it is vital to take anything in moderation, regardless it is safe or not. Even something supposedly safe like protein for example. If you feed your pet with extremely high protein food, they’ll have diarrhea and kidney issues. If it goes untreated, it can be fatal. That was protein, something that's supposed to nourish the body. The same scenario can be worse if the food is classified as toxic. Like garlic for instance. It may not harm your pets if they eat one clove of garlic. However it can be dangerous if the whole bulb is consumed. Too much of anything is not good. Too much of anything toxic is DEFINITELY NOT GOOD. Always consume with moderation.

So the conclusion is, just because you picked up something from Google search, it’s not always right. Yes, the internet is a sea of information. However, it requires you to judge without bias and not only pick up what you want to see and hear.You have to carefully screen through what you were looking for and evaluate with common sense. More so when it involves the health of your loved ones. A lot of these Question & Answer thingy in Google are so dumb. Sometimes you even get trolled. Look at this..

The answer is epic WTF..*stab die me*

And sometimes you key in and search for a particular thing, and you'll get something close but totally different. For example, here's a person looking for..................

See? How misleading..LOL

Coming back to the crux of the matter, mandarin oranges are definitely a no-no food for dogs and cats. At least for me. Even if after this someone shows me an article saying they're safe, I will still refrain from feeding it, because it's so subjective. Why take the risk when it's easier not to take it?

If you ask: "So what am I going to do with all these leftover oranges in my house? They'll go to waste".  Number one, your pets are not there to compensate your guilt for food wasting. Number two, you can go to the nearest 5-foot way and give them to the homeless.You can pass them to your neighbours. If you're an animal lover, feed the birds, the squirrels, the elephants, the Godzillas, whatever. At least you'll exchanges the oranges for kindness and not for vet bills later in life.

And last but not least, pet health issues are proven to be rather perplexing. Even with the help of Google. So I suggest, why not you pick up something like PETSTER magazine to enrich your knowledge about pets, as they do all the hard work, homework and research for you. And don't think I'm selling a product at the end of a blog entry here. WHY SHOULD I SELL, when the magazine is given out FREE ? Subscribe to get it delivered to your doorstep. Get free education, and save money on your vet bills. Happy Skinny Chinese New Year everyone.
(I wanted to say Happy Fur-ry CNY, but too bad it's the year of snake...aisehhh doink...)

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Papa Hero's Fur Corner - It's The Parents

Tanggungjawab Sebagai Ibubapa & Pemilik Haiwan: oleh Papa Hero

Pertama sekali saya ingin mengucapkan jutaan terima kasih kepada pihak pengurusan Petster kerana telah sudi memberikan peluang untuk menjadikan majalah dan blog yang disukai ramai ini sebagai platform untuk saya menyampaikan risalah perjuangan saya sebagai seorang aktivis dan pencinta haiwan.

Untuk penulisan kali ini, saya ingin menulis serba sedikit tentang betapa pentingnya kita menyemai sikap sayangkan haiwan di dalam diri masing-masing dan juga kepada anak-anak. Setiap makhluk yang bernyawa sudah pastinya mempunyai roh tetapi ia dijelmakan di dalam jasad fizikal yang berbeza. Kita sepatutnya bersyukur kerana roh kita telah dijelmakan di dalam jasad makhluk yang bernama MANUSIA. Tuhan telah mengiktiraf manusia sebagai satu makhluk yang paling sempurna di atas muka bumi ini. Di antara keistimewaan manusia yang tiada pada makhluk lain ialah AKAL. Dengan akal, manusia mampu berbuat apa sahaja sama ada ia mendatangkan keburukan atau kebaikan kepada makhluk lain. Dengan akal jugalah kita sama-sama dapat mewujudkan sebuah komuniti hebat yang boleh membaca artikel ini

Sebagai manusia yang mempunyai akal yang waras, kita sepatutnya menggunakannya untuk berbuat kebaikan, seperti menjaga kebajikan haiwan. Ramai juga di kalangan kita tidak berputus asa memperjuangkan hak haiwan ini, kerana mereka sedar bahawa haiwan ini juga mempunyai hak untuk hidup.  Justeru, peranan ibubapa adalah sangat besar dalam usaha menerapkan nilai-nilai tertentu untuk mecapai matlamat ini...

Saya tidak nafikan, ada ramai di kalangan ibubapa yang tidak sukakan haiwan, namun begitu ia tidak bermakna mereka boleh mengajar anak-anak mereka untuk turut membenci haiwan juga. Sebagai ibubapa yang bertanggungjawab, mereka sepatutnya memberikan kebebasan kepada anak-anak untuk memilih makhluk apa yang ingin disayanginya. Menyayangi kucing atau anjing adalah satu permulaan yang sangat baik. Bak kata pepatah, seribu perjalanan hanya akan bermula dengan SATU LANGKAH.

The twins - one year old
Dengan mendidik anak-anak kita untuk menyayangi haiwan, ia banyak memberikan kesan yang positif. Anak kecil yang dididik untuk menyayangi haiwan biasanya akan bersikap positif, berdikari dan selalu menghargai nyawa walaupun nyawa seekor semut. Ini secara tidak langsung akan meninggalkan satu kesan yang sangat baik untuk negara kerana kita bakal melahirkan modal insan yang berkualiti.

Saya mempunyai dua orang anak kembar perempuan. Sejak dari kecil, saya bawa mereka ke mana sahaja aktiviti yang melibatkan misi menyelamatkan haiwan haiwan. Apabila saya minum di mana-mana restoran, saya akan membelikan beberapa ekor ikan dan menyuruh anak saya sendiri yang memberikan kucing-kucing jalanan makan. Anak saya juga tidak takut dengan anjing kerana saya telah mengajar mereka bahawa anjing adalah seekor haiwan yang sangat baik dan setia. Saya selalu memberitahu kepada anak saya bahawa kucing adalah seekor haiwan yang patut kita lindungi, bukan untuk kita pukul. Hasilnya, anak-anak saya menjadi seorang yang sangat berkeyakinan tinggi walaupun mereka hanya berusia 5 tahun.

Saya selalu berharap agar suatu hari nanti anak-anak saya bakal menjadi seorang yang sangat prihatin kepada manusia. Tetapi pada masa yang sama, saya perlu melatih mereka untuk menjadi prihatin kepada haiwan juga. Tujuannya adalah supaya ADA KESEIMBANGAN di dalam hidup mereka apabila dewasa nanti. Mereka akan menjadi seorang manusia yang sayangkan manusia dan haiwan. Barulah hidup mereka akan menjadi lebih sempurna dan kehadiran mereka akan lebih dihargai oleh masyarakat.

The twins taking part in every rescue mission. Probably the youngest animal 'activists' in the country.
Perjuangan saya untuk membela nasib haiwan jalanan ini sebenarnya adalah untuk disambung oleh anak-anak pada generasi masa depan. Untuk menjayakan matlamat ini, kita perlu didik anak-anak kita. Kadangkala, untuk mendidik orang dewasa lebih sukar dari mendidik anak kecil. Sebagai ibubapa juga kita perlu merancang yang terbaik untuk keluarga kita agar ianya mendatangkan manfaat kepada seluruh masyarakat.  Sekiranya setiap satu keluarga di Malaysia berjaya mendidik anak-anak untuk menyayangi haiwan, saya pasti bahawa masalah pembuangan kucing dan anjing jalanan dapat dibanteras di Malaysia. Mungkin ada di kalangan anak-anak kita bakal menjadi doktor veterinar. Kerjaya sebagai seorang  doktor veterinar juga adalah satu kerjaya yang mempunyai masa depan yang sangat cerah.

Saya mengambil contoh mengenai diri dan keluarga saya sendiri. Kedua ibubapa memang selalu mengutip kucing-kucing jalanan dan membawa mereka pulang ke rumah. Dari sinilah saya mula mempelajari bagaimana untuk menyayangi haiwan. Saya melihat sendiri bagaimana kedua ibubapa saya merawat kucing-kucing yang sakit dengan cara tradisional. Mereka menasihati saya agar kucing juga perlu disayangi dan dihormati kerana mereka juga mempunyai hak untuk hidup di atas muka bumi ini. Sejak itu, saya mula menaruh minat untuk bersama-sama mereka untuk membesarkan kucing jalanan yang dibawa pulang.

Untuk menjadi ibubapa yang cemerlang, kita perlu membuat satu ‘standard’ di dalam proses pendidikan anak-anak. Di antara ‘standard’ yang saya tetapkan kepada anak-anak saya ialah beri kucing jalanan makan setiap kali ia menghampiri mereka. Setakat ini, ia berlaku tanpa gagal. Kini, anak-anak saya pasti akan memberikan kucing jalanan makan apabila berjumpa dengan mereka tanpa disuruh. Mereka sudah mula mengenali erti tanggungjawab sejak mereka berusia 6 tahun. Saya juga menggunakan menggunakan kaedah membiarkan anak-anak saya menonton kartun yang bertemakan haiwan seperti Doraemon, Lion King, Madagascar dan Ice Age. Saya mendapati cara ini sangat berkesan.

Sudah tentu kita ingin melihat anak-anak kita bahagia, kan? Tetapi bagi saya kebahagiaan itu tidak akan sempurna sekiranya mereka tidak diterapkan dengan nilai-nilai positif terhadap haiwan. Ibubapa adalah tempat rujukan yang paling berkesan untuk anak-anak. Jangan sesekali kita melakukan perkara-perkara yang negatif di hadapan anak-anak kita seperti menyepak kucing dan memukulnya. Ini akan mendatangkan kesan yang sangat tidak baik di dalam perkembangan mental dan fikiran mereka. Sebagai seorang bapa, saya mengajar semula anak-anak saya, apa yang diajar oleh ibubapa saya sendiri. Saya mahu mereka membesar dengan sempurna. Maksud sempurna di dalam konteks ini ialah membesar sebagai seorang yang tidak kenal diskriminasi dan sayang kepada semua benda hidup. - PH

Blogger's note: Dear Fursians, if you've been following my column in the PETSTER Magazine, this was what I promised earlier. Every month from now onwards, there will be a piece of entry from the renowned animal activist Papa Hero (from Kakimotong Fan Club), sharing his thoughts and views on animal welfare. This segment is also dedicated to a section of A Fortress of Fur followers who may feel comfortable reading in Bahasa Melayu :) (thanks to popular request). So now with this in place, you have no excuse to miss out on education and awareness due to language barriers. The summarized English version can be found in our January edition magazine, in a two-page spread. If you didn't manage to get a copy, read it online on page 45-44.
Click here for the English version from PETSTER mag ----> http://bit.ly/VcbDVw  

Yours Furly,
L'Shawn Tanis

Monday, 4 February 2013

Emotional Attachments (Part 1)

I believe we all have sentimental places and objects that evoke memories. Those strong memories about something or someone. It’s like a scent that unknowingly teleports you to the past. Long ago, I heard from a friend that her uncle in Wales, ( about 30 years old at that time) goes to a park every weekend, where his late wife and him used to date. Apparently it was the park he first met the wife. She told me that the man couldn’t accept the fact that his wife was dead. It seems he finds some peace of mind going to places where he and his late wife used to spend happily.

Not the best recipe to move on with life. But this is us, humans. We’re born with emotions. With emotions come emotional attachments.  And this is what supposed to give our time on earth that sprinkle of meaning and significance. What's more astounding is that emotional attachments, sentiments and feelings are not just made for humans..... Animals have that too...here's a story..

Nikonarte Fotografia

Two months after his owner died, a heartbroken dog in Italy keeps turning up each day at the church where the owner used to attend.

Tommy aka Ciccio, a 12-year-old German Shepherd, waits in vain in front of the altar of the Santa Maria Assunta church in the village of San Donaci. He heads to the church as soon as the bells begin to ring each afternoon, just as he did for years when his owner was alive.

The owner, 57 year old Maria Margherita Lochi died suddenly in November 2012. Tommy attended the funeral. He followed his ‘mother’s’ coffin as it was carried into the same church.

The villagers say the dog is missing the owner so much that, he is attending services at the Italian church ever since. The villagers believe Tommy knows that Maria is gone, but this is best he can do, to remain in touch with his best and last memories together with his owner. The church was where Maria’s funeral was held and some other villagers believe that, Tommy has been patiently waiting for her to return.

Nikonarte Fotografia

A few years ago, Maria adopted Tommy when she found him abandoned in the fields close to her home. Maria had in fact adopted several strays she found, but friends said she developed a particular close affection for Tommy. She would walk to church with him from home every day - where the priest would allow Tommy to sit patiently by her feet.

Father Donato Panna said ''He's there every time I celebrate Mass and is very well behaved . Tommy doesn't make a sound, I've not heard one bark from him in all the time he has been coming in. 

“He used to come to Mass with Maria and he was obviously devoted to her. I let him stay inside as he was always so well behaved and none of the other parishoners ever complained to me.

Nikonarte Fotografia

“He's still coming to Mass even after Maria's funeral. He waits patiently by the side of the altar and just sits there quietly. I didn't have the heart to throw him out.  I've just recently lost my own dog, so I leave him there until the Mass finishes and then I let him out” he said.

Although Maria is gone, Tommy has been a regular at the Church.  He’s never missed a day, nor he’s been late. Tommy arrives on time when the bells ring out to mark the start of services.  Nevertheless, he is clearly shattered, mournful and broken. It shows in his face and they way he behaves. Tommy can never forget his ‘mother’ Maria.

The story of Tommy’s devotion had been circulating in the media all over Italy over the last few weeks. According to an Italian friend of mine, people who have been reading the story have offered to adopt Tommy and give him a new life. But again, in doing so, they are afraid this will take away his comfort, fondness and emotional attachment to the place.

Tommy is now being fed by church visitors and I hope he will be slowly attached to any one of them. He needs a new real home and a family. Perhaps it's better, if the family is someone from the same village and one who travels to the church like he used to everyday.

Tommy also reminds me of Capitan -- the entry I did few months back about a dog which has been guarding the master’s grave ever since his death.(CLICK). A devotion of this magnitude puts animals like dogs on par if not better than humans, when it comes to perseverance to continuously love what they always loved. On top of that, a dog like Tommy was not bought from that expensive pet shop. He was an abandoned stray and he was adopted. This should give you all the more reason to adopt and as to why adopted dogs are so special.
As I write this, it is hair-raising.........

..........More updates about Tommy in PART 2...........(CLICK HERE)