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 ARTICLES > TTouch > Your Letters
  TTouch  Article:



My dog is so funny

He flops down, he rolls on his back,

He asks for a scratch of his tummy.


Then his clear brown eyes gaze into mine.

He says,

“I see your deep, dark pain,

But could you scratch my tum just one more time

And then the world will be just fine!”


Sue White



Most people know the traumatic effect that fireworks have on domestic animals as they witness the behavioural changes and attempt to cope with them. However, most people don’t realize how much urban wildlife there is and how badly these animals and birds are affected.

Globally, humanity is striving to elevate consciousness and awareness concerning environmental issues. We’re now aware of our carbon footprints, recycling our waste, planting indigenous, bringing Nature into our space and making informed decisions on these issues.  Despite these positive steps, holding fireworks displays negates the sound environmental decisions made by communities, schools and organizations!  While trying to maintain an unemotional response to this issue, the facts remain disturbing.  Fireworks displays happen during the early weeks of November, in the middle of breeding season!! Johannesburg is home to an extraordinary number of bird species and each year we record new species moving into the well treed habitat we’ve created ie: White-faced Owls and Grey Hornbills.  During fireworks, birds crash off their nests and roosts and fly blindly into trees, fences etc fracturing wings and legs. Once birds have abandoned their nests due to fright, do they come back that night or ever? Do their eggs and chicks die as a result? Are territories lost because of displacement?  Many mammals and reptiles such as Lesser Spotted Genet, Yellow and Slender Mongooses, Bats Hedgehogs, Porcupines, Bushbabies, small antelope, monitors etc, also habituate our suburbs. There is no doubt that all of these animals are affected too. I have personally monitored wildlife at Woodmead Country Club’s 2007 firework display and can assure you that the response of birds, antelope and small mammals was extremely disturbing to watch.  The Fourways Gardens display is clearly audible at our Centre, and I stayed here that night to monitor the reaction of our patients.  A young Eland calf  I was raising jumped the paddock fence and crashed blindly through the bush on this 50acre reserve, badly lacerating himself. 

Arguments for fireworks include various decibel tests done, but these test the noise levels for human beings not animals. Also cited is that there has been no conclusive research done on the effects of fireworks on wildlife. Internationally, every animal welfare organization condemns fireworks.  FreeMe’s stand on this issue is to support urban wildlife on every level. I am appealing to every body to help us do this by using your vote NOW!



Senior Animal Manager




Sent to us by Reader Arlene Kalcher –




What matters most in life ... A wonderful dog story.


Mary and her husband Jim had a dog, Lucky. Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing. Mary or Jim would go to Lucky’s toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky’s favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.


It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease, she was just sure it was fatal. She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders.


The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her...what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary’s dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won’t understand that I didn’t want to leave him. The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death. The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk

faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable. Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn’t even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap.


Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn’t come to her when she called. It made Mary sad, but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed. When Mary woke for a second she couldn’t understand what was wrong. She couldn’t move her head and her body felt heavy and hot.


But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life. He had covered her with his love. Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every night. It’s been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free. Lucky? He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure.


The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards BUT they are the ones who care.


© 2006 TTouch - eugenie@ttouch.co.za.   All Rights Reserved.