Solutions for People, Animals and Environment
Tales of WellBeing – Issue 9, October 2019
This issue of “Tales” features two young Afghan women and their journeys to fulfill their dreams to become veterinarians. These two young women have succeeded under the tutelage of Dr. Abdul-Jalil Mohammadzal of The Mayhew and Mayhew Afghanistan team. The newsletter also includes a brief note congratulating Dr. Mohammadzal for his recently announced 2019 “Global” award for his work on rabies prevention. Finally, we provide a brief update on human-baboon conflict resolution in South Africa and a review of three books that delve into research leading to a greater understanding of the thoughts and emotions of our canine companions.

Nurturing Veterinarian Opportunities for Afghan Women
By Kathleen Rowan

Dr. Zahra Ensafi, Mayhew Afghanistan

Dr. Zahra Ensafi, a graduate of the Kabul University of Veterinary Science, and Dr. Razia Mohammadi, a graduate of the Mazar University-Veterinary Medicine, are two young veterinary graduates who have joined the Mayhew staff and are contributing to the success of Mayhew Afghanistan’s dog project. Both have chosen a career in veterinary medicine even though it has not been a traditional choice nor an easy one for an Afghan woman.
For both doctors, it was their commitment to contribute to animal health and welfare which drove them to enter and successfully complete their veterinary training. For example, Dr. Zahra decided to be a veterinarian when she was just a young girl because she was concerned about the treatment of street dogs in Kabul. Her parents encouraged her in this choice, but her peers did not understand why she wanted to spend five years studying veterinary medicine. While both doctors encountered peer challenges in pursuing veterinary medicine, there were other women in their classes with the same dream.

Dr. Razia Mohammadi, Mayhew Afghanistan



Dr. Abdul-Jalil Mohammadzai – Thumbs Up

As part of the World Rabies Day Awards celebration, Dr. Abdul-Jalil Mohammadzai (The Mayhew Home- Afghanistan) received the “Global Individual” award for his contributions to the prevention of rabies.

Greyton Human-Baboon Conflict
October 31, 2019
By Kathleen Rowan

On the recent trip to Africa by WellBeing International, we had the privilege of meeting with the Field Guides of the Baboon Monitor Team of Greyton, South Africa. The team was originally reported in a WBI News article on October 26, 2018. As noted in numerous press articles and social media posts, human-baboon conflicts are a growing concern across South Africa. In an innovative approach to mitigate this conflict, members of this team monitor and discourage baboons from entering residential areas of Greyton where they have access to fruit trees, vegetable gardens and garbage bins. When a baboon troop is observed on the edge of town, team members calmly confront their potential visitors with subtle body language until such time as the baboons relocate to the adjacent mountains. No paint guns or any other weapons are used.

Members of the Monitoring team – Wilmohr Williams, Jirmaine Lewis, Bertrim Moses, Andrew White (Greyton Conservation Society) and Leefred Damons. Photo by K. Rowan


Book Reviews - A Review of Three Books on Dog Cognition and Love
Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You (2019) by Clive D.L. Wynne. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and his Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain (2013) by Gregory Berns. Amazon Publishing.
The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think (2013) by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods. Plume.
October 31, 2019
Review by Andrew Rowan, DPhil.

There is no shortage of books on dogs and their behavior. The average bookstore will have several shelf-feet of books on dogs. However, there has been (until recently) a shortage of books that explain dog behavior and enlarge our understanding of dogs. That is no longer the case with books written or edited by James Serpell (The Domestic Dog, 2nd Edition, 2017), Ray and Lorna Coppinger (What is a Dog, 2017) and Mark Derr (How the Dog became the Dog, 2012) to name some of the more significant.

The latest volume in this genre by Professor Clive Wynne (Dog is Love, 2019) seeks to understand why dogs have evolved to behave as they do and why they form such strong attachments to humans. Dr. Wynne, currently the Director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University, mentions the work of many canine scholars in the book and I have chosen to pair his book with two others that feature in his analysis – the books by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods of Duke University (The Genius of Dogs, 2013) and by Gregory Berns of Emory University (How Dogs Love Us, 2013).

Every dog owner would like to know what is going on behind the eyes of their dog when he or she tilts its head just so and gazes at you with those “puppy eyes”. But few of us have the knowledge and resources to explore this question. Among them, these three books take us “behind the scenes” on a fascinating (if at times rather technical) adventure to learn what recent scholarship has done to elucidate what dogs are thinking. The journey also takes us into earlier research conducted by the Russian scientists Ivan Pavlov and Dmitri Belyaev from the first half of the 20th century who introduced us to conditioned salivary responses in dogs and the impact on fur foxes of selecting for just a single behavioral characteristic (approach to humans) respectively.

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