Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Don’t throw the dog out with the bath water!

Deana Selby, Publications Manager, writes her view on last nights Coronation Street.

Is anyone following Coronation Street at the moment?

My spies (Hi Mum!) tell me that Fiz has finally brought her new, very premature, baby, Hope, back from hospital where she’d been in an incubator for weeks. She’s also told her brother and housemate, Chesney, that Schmeichel has got to go, because she’s worried Hope will catch an infection from him and his “great big slobby gob.” Schmeichel, for non Corrie viewers, is a Great Dane.

Before anyone shouts ‘It’s just a TV programme, not real life’ the answer is yes, I know, but it’s a great programme which millions of people enjoy. Of course Fiz is not a real person, but her concerns are doubtless shared by many new parents. Staff from most of our rehoming centres have told me that they regularly receive calls from people wishing to hand their dog over either because they have just had a baby, or have learnt that they are pregnant.

Babies do need to be protected from germs, especially those with a not fully developed immune system. However, a quick word with our Veterinary Director, Chris Laurence, reveals that commonsense hygiene precautions are all Fiz needs to make things work, ie:

· Always wash your hands after touching your dog

· Make sure the dog doesn’t lick your baby

· If he does lick the baby, wash that area with soap and water

We’ve recently commissioned research into the potential health benefits of dog ownership, and one of the early findings is that exposure to dogs in infancy is associated with positive immune system development.

With so many otherwise perfectly sensible dog owners believing that 'Dog plus Baby equals Huge Disaster Waiting To Happen', I thought it worth flagging that it ain't necessarily so.

So, thank you Corrie, for giving me the opportunity to clear up an all too common misconception. And yes, I certainly will be glued to the next episode – will you?

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