Another life-saving dog!

There’s no end to how dogs protect us!

Last Tuesday, I published a guest post that had been sent to me by my sister, Eleanor, who lives in Johannesburg in South Africa.

Then a day later I read on the Care2 site about a therapy dog that alerted a group of schoolchildren to potentially very unsafe drinking water.  I must share that with you as well.

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Therapy Dog Helps Alert School District to Lead in Water

A therapy dog belonging to a San Diego elementary school teacher proved to be a potential lifesaver – but not for what you might think.

When the teacher filled his bowl with water from the classroom sink on Jan. 26, the dog refused to drink it. The teacher took a good look at the water in his bowl and noticed a sheen on its surface. Concerned, she notified school officials.

After testing samples from around Emerson-Bandini Elementary and the San Diego Co-Operative Charter School 2, which share a campus, results showed the water was contaminated with lead, exceeding the allowable level in the state of California.

School officials contacted the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department, which supplies the water. Because that therapy dog that refused to drink it, the city is now testing the water at each of the school district’s 187 campuses.

The tests, however, won’t begin until April 4, San Diego Unified Chief Operations Officer Drew Rowlands announced last week. In the meantime, students are getting bottled drinking water.

A notice sent to the schools’ staff and parents said the water is safe for handwashing. Since cafeteria meals aren’t prepared on campus, they’re not affected by the contaminants in the water, according to the notice.

The testing of the water, which is expected to be completed by the end of the school year in June, will take place early in the morning, before school starts. At each campus, up to five samples will be taken from water fountains and cafeterias where food is prepared. The test results will be posted online.

If excessive lead is discovered, the contamination source will be determined and school district staff will take “appropriate action on a case-by-case basis,” said San Diego Unified Chief Operations Officer Drew Rowlands. Those appropriate actions could include replacing plumbing fixtures and making repairs.

Making Drinking Water Safe for Schoolchildren

Coincidentally, just one month before the therapy dog refused to drink the San Diego school’s water, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Division of Drinking Water launched a program that requires water providers to test for lead in the drinking water at all K-12 schools in California.

“Recent events in the United States have shown that lead in drinking water remains an ongoing public health concern, particularly for children,” the SWRCB stated on its website.

How does lead end up in school water fountains? Although lead rarely occurs naturally in California’s drinking water sources, it can contaminate water that flows through old plumbing fixtures or the solder connecting them. It’s less likely that the water came from a contaminated source, as was the case in Flint, Mich.

Children younger than six are especially susceptible to the effects of lead poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about half a million children between the ages of one and five have blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter, the level at which the CDC recommends the initiation of public health actions – although no “safe” blood lead level in children has been identified.

A problem with lead poisoning is that there are no obvious symptoms. By the time children show the signs, such as weight loss, irritability and lack of appetite, dangerous amounts of lead may have accumulated in their bodies.

This is a compelling reason for more states to follow California’s lead and require water to be tested in schools. Thanks to a teacher’s therapy dog, students at two San Diego schools got a jump start on having safer water available.

Photo credit: Irisdepiris

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 There is no end to the way that dogs love us, protect us and make us better persons!

20 thoughts on “Another life-saving dog!

  1. Dogs are such good barometers. The therapy dog in this story, the one in Eleanor’s story & now there are dogs who can use their sense of smell to detect breast cancer.
    Very good story, Paul.

    1. Speaking of barometers, we had a major storm pass through Southern Oregon last night. A barometric low of 995 mb and the power failing at 4am. We seem to be over the worst of it now! (And to state the bleedin’ obvious the power has been restored!)

      1. No, I don’t think so although my recall is pretty terrible these days (doesn’t growing old suck!!). It looks wonderful and isn’t that far from us here in Merlin; 55 miles according to Google Maps.

        Why do you ask, out of curiosity?

  2. That is a new one. My dog would not drink water out of plastic bowls so I don’t drink out of plastic either. I figured she knew something I didn’t. Have a wonderfilled weekend and thanks for sharing this.

    1. Biased towards dogs!! Therapy dogs or otherwise!! Can’t believe you said that!! (Sorry, I’m in a silly mood!)

      Seriously, I take the view that all dogs offer therapy in one form or another. Here’s a tiny example.

      Jean woke this morning feeling rather down and confused. It’s a well-known aspect of Parkinson’s Disease. Anyway, about an hour later we were about to sort out some morning ‘stuff’ and were in the bedroom. Jean suddenly had to sit on the edge of the bed saying that she was feeling really wobbly. In less time than it takes to write this sentence Cleo, Oliver and Brandy all nosed up to Jean’s knees, while looking at her face, and pouring out, in doggie fashion, love and concern for what Jean was experiencing.

      Oh, I wish I had the words to really express what was going through my heart at that moment!

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