Remedy to rescue a terrified dog

I WAS very touched to read in yesterday's Evening Star a letter from Jane Noriega of Ipswich. Her dog, a rescued ten-year-old springer spaniel, is terrified by fireworks.

I WAS very touched to read in yesterday's Evening Star a letter from Jane Noriega of Ipswich. Her dog, a rescued ten-year-old springer spaniel, is terrified by fireworks.

Rather unhelpfully, her vet apparently suggested an operation to make the dog deaf.

I have a rather less drastic suggestion that may work.

I too had a dog – a lovely lurcher – who became a quivering wreck for hours every time she heard fireworks. Since fireworks seem to have become an all-year-round nuisance, this was a distressingly common occurrence.

And then someone suggested Rescue Remedy.

Now I am not in the habit of penning free advertising. And I am innately cynical about quick-fix remedies, either mainstream or "alternative".

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But I can tell you that a couple of drops of Rescue Remedy turned Bella from a quaking, dribbling, cowering creature back into a normal happy dog.

I do hope it may do the same for Jane Noriega's spaniel.

So what is this miracle stuff?

It is a tincture of various flowers – impatiens, clematis, rock rose, cherry plum and star of Bethlehem. A drop or two is recommended to relieve stress, distress and tension and to assist in recovery from a remarkable array of afflictions, from heatstroke to snake bites.

I have taken it myself, but was never entirely sure if its calming effect was psychological.

It can be remarkably effective for children – but that could be just the placebo effect. After all, kissing something better often succeeds.

But when a remedy works for dogs, you have to think it's more than a faith cure.

Some years ago a friend of mine had a dobermann who seemed to be on her last legs. Her pelvic area was so weak she could barely walk and she was obviously in near-constant pain.

It was a final choice, the vet said, between two types of needle – one with a fatal dose or a course of acupuncture.

Not wanting to lose a beloved pet if there was any chance to save her, my friend took her to the acupuncturist. The next day, Shona was bounding after her rubber ball like a puppy.

In all, with two or three more acupuncture sessions, Shona's life was extended by more than two years.

I still don't like the sound of having needles stuck in me. But should the need ever arise, I'd try it sooner than go under the surgeon's knife.

***

SCIENTISTS in Italy have cloned a horse. Now they are talking about cloning racehorses.

I am not one of those who finds the whole idea of cloning repulsive, but this does strike me as particularly foul.

The engineering of live creatures to compete in sport as if they were Formula One cars is a grotesque idea. Especially if researchers in Cambridge are right that cloned mammals are always likely to suffer from premature aging, like Dolly the sheep.

New technologies, whether atom bombs, genetic engineering or the wheel, are always liable to throw up new moral questions. The right answers are seldom quick, easy or obvious.

In the case of cloning, the issue is clouded by a lot of bizarre and mistaken ideas.

I am no expert, but I do know that if you were to be cloned, the result would not be another you, but another person entirely.

Even if the baby started out exactly the same as you did, a different life experience would lead to a somewhat different body and a very different mind.

If someone found a sliver of Hitler's DNA and "recreated" him in a lab, the result would not necessarily be another genocidal megalomaniac.

If they grew a few and put them in deliberately different environments, it could be the greatest experiment ever to learn more about the nature-versus-nurture debate.

That, of course, is purely the stuff of sci-fi horror fantasy. An intriguing thought, though, don't you think? Even if carrying it out would be unthinkable – and maybe (let's hope) impossible.

***

SO James Scowcroft thinks Ipswich will have "the best 11 in the First Division" in the season that starts tomorrow.

How the loss of Matt Holland, Thomas Gaardsoe and Hermann Hreidarsson can make them better than they were a year ago is a mystery to me.

Still, one must always start a new season with new hope. Georges Santos's last team (Grimsby) and Drissa Diallo's (Burnley) will be doing that too.

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