Newsletter - January 2012
The News at Home
We brought in the new year with a couple of wonderful friends who came for dinner. There was a time when we'd be laughing and chatting until 3 am without a problem. Well, that was then and this is now. The evening started off with Brian asking Morley how things were going. Morley told him about his bad knee, Brian talked about MRIs, Chris mentioned having a MRI within a few days of asking for one...and I listened while wondering if my stomach would tolerate the spicy Mexican dinner I'd been cooking (it did) Are we a fun bunch, or what? Age sneaks up on you!
We must have bored Tori to tears because she gave up and wanted to be put on the bed and that's pretty much where she stayed for the evening. I started yawning around 10 pm and by 11:30 Brian mentioned it was well past midnight in many places around the world, so Happy New Year and good night.
Ok, so maybe we're getting old and maybe we can't party much any more, but friends who are with you for life are special during every minute at any time of year.
C'mon On Over To DogRead
You know about the DogRead list, right? As the name suggests, it's about reading books that have any aspect of dogs as the subject. The list owners host the authors of those books while members are given the opportunity to ask questions of the author. I've been asked back to that list for the third time and am really looking forward to the discussions and questions that people will have. So, join if you haven't already and we can chat about my K9Kitchen book Feb. 16-28, 2012.
How Good Science Goes Bad
Actually, this is my personal opinion rather than something I can back up with an awful lot of studies, but that's part of the point. I've become exasperated by a community that is, in fact, a part of industry whether people admit it or not. Science can be fascinating, medical practitioners can save lives and I'm not suggesting otherwise, but some people cross the line without realizing it. I've known people who believed every nonsense they read and then found religion by looking at science. The almighty scientific "proof" became a mantel they strutted around without so much as considering that scientists can be biased and studies can be interpreted in many ways by a variety of self interest groups. Statistics are a curious thing that can be manipulated to "prove" any number of claims. Who would do such a thing and why?
I'm not into conspiracy theories, but it doesn't take much digging to see that lobbyists and internal political pressure that translates to funding certain projects can translate to some truths never making it into the public domain. And that is my bigger point - the public domain. We're bombarded with directives about nutritional supplements, the right diet (for dogs and for people), but the quotes we read aren't necessarily the whole story. The evening news reports what they've been told and some of it is half truths. Why? Because there's an awful lot of money and prestige (academia likes prestige and needs funding for research) at stake. Let me give you an example:
Two years ago, I came down with a mysterious series of health issues that involved my gastrointestinal tract. After all kinds of medical tests that showed nothing amiss, prescriptions for medications that made everything worse,and having withered down to a size 2 dress, I decided to treat myself in the the same way I do my client's dogs and started off by taking digestive enzymes as a start. It was like a miracle had occurred. Suddenly, I was able to eat without feeling pain. There's more to the story and I'll tell it in time, but my point today is that when I told the specialist about this, he replied that it was impossible since there was nothing wrong with my pancreas. As time passed and I felt better, I'd forget to take my enzymes now and then. The pain would start, I'd wonder why and then remember that the enzymes had been left on the counter instead of being ingested. So, this wasn't a placebo affect. It makes me wonder if the tests aren't sensitive enough or there isn't enough known, but it also makes me think that the focus is on prescriptions for drugs which are, of course, far more expensive than digestive enzymes. What makes me angry about it is that we're told how the supplement market is a big rip-off. Really? I think that some medications mop up spills rather than addressing the underlying problem! Sure, some of the claims made about certain supplements are bogus, but in fairness, I'm tired of reports about how much money people spend on supplements when I, personally, had to throw out a bottle of prescribed medication that was worth just over $300 because it made me incredibly sick. The medical community may not have been overly excited about that, but mention digestive enzymes and they were aflutter.
I could go on about magnesium for restless leg syndrome, vitamin B compound and other things I take, but you get my point. Sometimes, good science goes bad because it's buried and since we use some of the information derived from human studies that can be applied to dogs, I think I'll continue doing what I'm doing - looking for the science, but never ignoring what's in front of me. A little logic and observation can go a long way.
"The dog has got more fun out of man than man has got out of the dog, for man is the more laughable of the two animals." - James Thurber