Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why do you need pet animals?

Why do you have a pet animal? This is probably one common question that is put to me quite often. I am sure I am not alone here. Many people having pets face this question at some point in their lives! Well, on most occasions my simple answer would be, "I love it, that's why!" But more often than not the questioner would repeat the question and during these times I will have to resort to giving more appealing answers. I will say I have pets for two reasons: one, for recreational purposes and two, for psychotherapeutic reasons. This would open up more arguments and would obviously require proofs to support the second reason more than the first one. And I am writing this exactly for this purpose.

I am sure you would agree that pet animals make great friends. It is a friendship that lasts for a life time. Invariably, pet animals give us so much joy, fun and above all physical and mental peace and happiness that we tend to overlook their priceless contribution in our lives. The last part of the above sentence is perhaps debatable. But like everything other belief and concept, there are proven cases to support that animals and pet animals in particular help in fighting diseases.

Let’s start with something very common: Stress. Almost every one of us continues to experience stress at some point in our lives. Some seek the expert guidance of medical practitioners to fight stress and are made to undergo various tests and examinations before a course of anti-stress drugs are prescribed. Some prefer to do yoga some just go out to enjoy nature to beat stress!

All these might be effective but animal behaviorists and veterinarians opine that having a pet at your home can be one of the easiest and best ways to de-stress after a long day’s work. Stress is something that is responsible for production of harmful chemicals in your body like cortisol and norepinephrine that could affect your immune system, and clog up arteries leading to heart attacks says a research at the Research at the University Of Texas School Of Public Health. And playing with a pet dog for example can help your body increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine the nerve transmitters and calm you down. Research also shows that even patients, preferably males with a history of heart attacks can live for longer when they have a pet with them as pets help in lowering the cholesterol and triglyceride levels in these patients.

You can literally feel the love of your pets when you come back home. And 25 years of research endorses this. The research results have shown that pets help in relieving stress, lower blood pressure and steady your heart beat. And contrary to the popular misconception that having pets with fur could cause allergies these pets can actually help build your immunity. Yes! There are numerous studies that conclude that kids growing up in homes with pet animals like dogs and cats develop stronger immunity and are less prone to allergies and respiratory disorders like asthma, eczema and even help treat Alzheimer’s disease.

A study by a school of veterinary medicine at the University of California has revealed that the presence of a dog at the of home of a patient having Alzheimer’s disease could actually lessen the frequent instances of anxious outbursts that is generally associated with the disease. You might have heard about therapy dogs that actually help people with certain health conditions overcome them with their unconditioned love. Cats, on the other hand are equally effective as they require less care than dogs. In fact, there is an insurance company in the U.S that prefers providing insurance cover for old people over the age of 75 who have pet animals with them. The logic here is having a pet at home provides more opportunity for the old people for physical exercises and maintaining healthy mind.

Similarly, studies have shown that pet animals assist people afflicted with the killer disease AIDS in gaining marked improvement in their emotional levels and fight depression. The unconditional love of a cat or a dog or any other pet animal for that matter does a world of good for people. And studies on the impact of pet animals among people involved in jobs and businesses with high degree of stress levels like stockbrokers and event managers for example have shown manageable levels of blood pressure.

All pet animals are great but experts single out dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, fish, parrots and birds, and dolphins (not in this part of the world, though) to be man’s best friends. I certainly agree with the list but I know of some not-so-usual pet animals sharing very good friendship with people. During my college days I remember one of my friends bring his pet squirrel to college! I always admired her for her intelligence and her love for my friend and her friendliness towards strangers! We used to take turns to hold her and place her on our shoulders. She was playful and used to nibble our ears. She jumped all over the desks, delicately took nuts from our hands, roamed over the trees in the college campus and obediently returned to my friend’s hands whenever he called out to her. It was such a pleasant sight to see them sharing a special bond. There was so much of unconditional love in the air when you visit places like that!

George Elliot once wrote: “Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions and they pass no criticism.” How true! Having a pet dog or a cat or any other pet animal for that matter is a sure shot recipe for unlimited fun, joy, unconditional love and not to forget the health benefits. You might disagree with me but I would only suggest this: Help animals. Help yourself.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's dark times for animals & birds during and after Diwali

This is my first post here and I am wondering what to write. It’s not that I don’t have choices, believe me there's plenty and that’s exactly my dilemma. To choose is to give priority; I know it is good to prioritize but when it comes to pets and animals I guess every issue, every fact and every story enjoys high priority! It is like there’s so much to share, to start, to sustain, and to achieve but there is so little time left!

Starting today, my posts here will focus more on what you and I can do to make a change in our lives, in our pets’ lives and for all our animal-friends around us! I will also share some interesting news about animals and animal welfare that I read! My first attempt will be a series of posts on pet care during and after festive seasons. I know this should have come early before Diwali time but for practical reasons I couldn’t do it! I think I’d still do it for two reasons: One, there are a couple of festivals coming up and during these days there should be special pet care particularly when crackers are burst! Two, I still hear about the tough times the pet animals and birds go through even weeks after Diwali. So, here it is the first in the series of pet care during festive seasons.

Diwali is over, but…
Diwali celebrations are over, there are no crackers, there is less pollution but the ordeal of pet animals and birds is far from over! I still hear many stories from some of my animal-loving friends about how their pets are still petrified even 10 days after Diwali! But I fail to understand the ‘logic’ of some of my friends who go to their friends’ houses where there are no pets to burst crackers on Diwali day! I really cannot understand this! There may be no pet animals in their friends’ houses, fine! But what about the rest of the families living there? They might have pet animals! These so-called animal lovers do not want their pet animals to be scared of crackers sound so they go off to another place but what they fail to understand is that every street in every city has a good population of stray dogs’ and by bursting crackers they turn the lives of these tiny little cute friends into hell!

I personally stopped bursting crackers! For me I just don’t see any point in celebrations that give you thrill but at the same time put everything and everyone else around you into trouble! But some of my friends still don’t understand the logic behind this! They can’t imagine a Diwali without crackers!! And for those who cannot separate Diwali and crackers I share with them this beautiful piece of news that I read in one of the newspapers.

The residents of a tiny area near Sivaganga district, 90 kms from Sivakasi, the crackers capital of India, celebrate Diwali in a unique way. For over 30 years now, the 500 families in the two villages of Kollukudipatti and Vedankudipatti celebrate Diwali by wearing new clothes, distribute sweets but they don’t burst crackers at all! I was pleasantly surprised when I found the reason for this. They fear that the crackers sound will scare off the exotic birds that come from far off countries like Siberia, Russia and the Europe to nest in the Vedankudi bird sanctuary that is situated very close to their villages. Even shops in these villages do not sell crackers! And the children in these villages are so understanding and concerned about the exotic birds and their chicks that they follow this rule to not to burst crackers even during Diwali! How sweet of them!!

Every festive season and Diwali in particular when crackers are burst turns out to be a nightmare for not only the old and sick people but equally for animals and birds! The sound of crackers leaves the animals and birds in a state of shock! Pet cats and dogs just don’t move out of the house, they hide beneath the beds or wherever they think will be a safe place for them. The worst thing is that even after a few weeks after Diwali some pets refuse to get back to their normal routine. They are in a psychological shock, their food pattern is disturbed and they quiver in fear! Even the auto horns that they were used to before now scare them!

One of my friends give pet tablets during Diwali and other such occasions so that her pet cat could de-stress, feel safe and calm amidst the sound of crackers! But I guess it is not the right thing to do! Animal behaviorists and vets say it is always better to leave the pet animals in their favorite zones in the house and check upon them regularly. Never leave your pets in a closed room; make sure someone is there by their side to comfort them. They are just like your babies and they need care. Just your small pats would do them a world of good! It’s a kind of reassurance that everything is going on fine and you are always there for them! Shut the doors and windows to reduce the noise levels! But if you are still concerned you could use cotton ear-plugs which are relatively a safer option for your pets.

Animals can be conditioned right from their childhood days to the varying decibels of sounds with the help of animal behaviorists. One of my friends plays his cat’s favorite music when there is the sound of crackers, dims the lights in the room and ensures that he is safe. Animals when they are under stress do not take food and the key is not to force them during such situations. Do not scold them for their odd behavior during these situations, all they need is your understanding and extra care.

Managing stress levels is important and if your pet dog shows increasing stress levels it is important to seek an expert’s help in dealing with it. Some of the symptoms of stress could be trembling, non-stop barking, and shivering and there are harmless herbal/homeopathic medicines/Bach flower remedies available for this.

I end this post with this request: Please do not burst crackers; it might thrill you but remember it might kill the environment, and our canine friends around us. There are many reasons why you shouldn't burst crackers: one, you are encouraging child labor as many children are employed at crackers making industries, two, you are harming the environment, noise pollution and air pollution touch the peaks during festive seasons and three, your thrill might kill the animals and birds around you. Just one of these reasons is enough to stay away from crackers. Teach yourself and your kids to be responsible to protect everything around us.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pets for adoption - October 23rd, 2009

Dear all,

4 Gorgeous pups are up for adoption at AWPT.
Also about 10 to 15 kittens of equal age & growth are ready to find a new home & sweet heart (s) to care for them..
Adoptions are all free at AWPT & you are welcome to get in touch with AWPT if you wish to take home a new family member.
Contact Numbers
Mahalakshmi Parthasarathy

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Welcome to our New Blog !!!!!!!!!!!!

On behalf of AWPT, I welcome you all to our official blog, which henceforth is going to serve as another platform to share our news, requests & appeals. We have just started our first blog, we are sure to update you very frequently about things that are going to happen around us here. We are planning to include a section called “Pets for Adoption” which will we updated once a week or as & when the need arises that will feature our recently rescued pups, dogs, cats & kittens who are ready to find a new home. We’ll also have sections to talk about the news at AWPT, our appeals & requests, so please visit us regularly for more updates. AWPT requests your support for this initiative too, as you always do. Please spread a word about us, help us help the animals. Feel free to post your comments, feedbacks & questions, we would be glad to hear from you!

Mahalakshmi Parthasarathy