Wednesday, 22 July 2009

What does rescuing a dog from a sewage pond have to do with our health?

The Calgary Herald recently published a 'feel-good' story about a man who lost but ultimately became reunited with his two dogs -- both of whom have three legs -- against the backdrop of our world-famous Stampede.

One of the dogs ended up in a holding tank for sewage:

"In what a Calgary Fire Department official later called an 'unprecedented' operation, its aquatic rescue specialists, working with the hazardous materials team, executed a successful rescue of Harley from the smelly mess--a rescue that surely saved Harley's life."

As Bonnie Buntain and I have highlighted, such efforts may be important for human health, as well.

Part of the story here is how this particular incident, amplified through mass media, has served to convey a sense that Calgary is a good place to live. Such feelings correspond with health outcomes, independent of what individuals do (diet, exercise, etc.), extensive research has found.

In that light, veterinary practice with companion animals as well as animal-related municipal services may be more important than we yet realize for the health of human populations.

No comments: