Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cover Your Mouth

As I was parking my car in the lot at the Paine Estate in Waltham recently - with my play group - there was a sign in fluorescent orange at one of the trailheads. I stopped and carefully read the warning.

Someone had taken great care to write up a very helpful notice telling people that a dog with "kennel cough" had been walked in these woods and some other animals had gotten infected. It is definitely a highly contagious upper respiratory condition and I appreciated the heads-up.

It is an airborne virus, however in open space like these trails of the Storer Conservation Area the most likely transmission is by drinking out of the same water bowl or very close facial contact through playing. This according to a vet tech I happened upon while she was walking her pooch.

Unfortunately I had previously seen some dogs, in addition to a few of mine, drinking from a couple of communal bowls placed near trees along the wooded trails. There were jugs of fresh waer alongside the bowls. A gesture of compassion and care for the dogs during the summer's hot stretches. The thoughtfulness may have backfired though.

In my case I am happy to report that the contagion has not infiltrated any of my ranks or those of my familiar's.

I ran into two of my favorite other mixed breed male dogs on the trail the other day - Higgins and Ozzie. They were happy and healthy too. My gang just had some good, clean macho fun with the two big guys.

I haven't run into some other of my group's pals recently like Bob and his "wee lad" Devlin, the Westhighland Terrier or the former show dog Debbie, a Miniature Poodle. I hope they are happy and cough-free.

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