It’s 3 a.m. and I was awake. I feel the warmth of a body on one side and the same on the other. I know who is who The one who is breathing heavily is Gus the Pug and the other with a smooth, silky coat and no excess skin or hair is Spades, also known as the Big Boy.
This might read like a script from a steamy movie, but no. Just an ordinary night with the “boys”. I find myself nailed down when they put each side of me on top of the Doona and I’m under it; more like a straitjacket. I think I’ve had a couple of bad dreams where I was a prisoner, pinned down, unable to breathe or move. However, at night I was wide awake, concerned about the current status of COVID-19 in Fiji. Then I realize how important our dogs are to us at this point in time.
I can snuggle up to both of them. You can be absolutely still all night; I am the restless one. I kiss the Big Boy’s handsome face several times a day and he responds with a quick and determined kiss that is inevitable. I worry about hurting his feelings if I wipe his ‘kiss’ off, so I’ll wait until he stops looking for it.
You might think I’m crazy, but I’ve lived with these two for a few years. It was very interesting to watch their behavior towards one another and towards me. Big Boy is a local dog who was picked up from the gutter as a sick little puppy. He had no hair on his body. It turned out that this was due to poor diet. If you’ve heard of the story of the ugly duckling, so is the story of Spades.
The little one, The Pug, has visited the Children’s Hospital, Home of Compassion, and Suva Christian School, and on a less formal (confidential) visit, both stuck their heads in to greet patients at the TB and Leprosy Unit at PJ Twomey Hospital , Tamavua. I stayed outside and relied on their good judgment to effect a brief meeting and greeting. I heard that the duo’s visit was not only a surprise for the patients, but also put a delightful smile on the patients’ faces.
On an earlier occasion, I took Gus to the rehabilitation unit alone. He was placed in a wheelchair so that he could be curled up next to the patients who were lying in their beds. Some had very little exercise. I put a small snack in her hand and, as always, Gus managed to find the snack and gobble it roughly. He is unable to bite anything other than food; All the patients would feel would be Gus’ whiskers and soft lips.
Gus is a self-proclaimed therapy dog, while Pik is constantly training to follow his stepbrother’s paw prints from another mother. Pik’s problem is seeing something that looks like a log and the rest is history. I can’t risk that in hospitals or restaurants. Health inspectors would be with us all. But dogs will be dogs and I think you have to make concessions for all the good they do.
Take the therapy dogs who brought so much comfort and relief to staff on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. A feeling of total exhaustion can be resolved with a simple hug from a warm and responsive dog. Therapy dogs know exactly how to react. They are not everywhere in the person; They know that they need to stay still so that through contact their warmth and love can be transferred to whoever needs them. You can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
In overseas hospitals, therapy dogs can be seen everywhere: in elevators, in corridors, and by the bedside, and they’re not exactly small dogs. The larger breeds like Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and German Shepherds are best because patients can simply reach out a hand to pat them out of their beds. Gus, on the other hand, may not be a little pug, but sometimes has to sit in a wheelchair so bedridden patients can pat him. Sometimes that’s not close enough for him and he jumps on the bed just to be closer to the patient. I remember this happening when he was visiting Frank Hilton at the Home of Compassion. Gus fell asleep on the bed next to Mr. Hilton. With few words exchanged, the beam on Mr. Hilton’s face said it all as he put his hand on the sleeping, snoring pug.
The night I had body pain after the first COVID-19 vaccination that day, even though I knew it was a good sign, the warmth from not one but two living, breathing, furry hot water bottles brought a lot of relief.
We should never underestimate the worth and potential of a dog. It is nothing less than a living, breathing, and sophisticated sniffer detection device.
There is a belief that a dog looks at the world through our eyes, but through its nose.
Dog noses have long been used to detect a variety of odors, ranging from explosives to prohibited food to tracking the movement of a criminal and narcotics. even unfortunately corpses. Now dogs are being trained to identify the smell of someone who is COVID-19 positive, or more precisely, to detect metabolic changes in the human body caused by the pathological activities of the SARS-Cov-2 virus.
Using dogs to detect COVID-19 makes sense, especially when other testing methods can be costly or slow.
According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), the main problem in adopting strategies and strategies to contain the spread of the disease is the ability to examine large numbers of people, which is either impossible or difficult with the help of Hi. technical devices, especially in resource-poor countries and environments. It can therefore be hypothesized that a defined population or environment of trained dogs can be screened quickly and at a lower cost.
The next time you come across a skinny and sick dog, it is worth worrying about whether they can help, heal, and love.
- Julie Sutherland is a regular contributor to this newspaper and social commentator. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of this newspaper