Solutions for People, Animals and Environment
Tales of WellBeing – Issue 4, April 2020
We hope that all our readers and supporters are staying safe in these trying times! I am reminded of the oneness of the world with people, animals and the environment and hope this performance of The Weight captured on YouTube could help spread hope via a song.

This issue of Tales includes three items. There is an update of one of our early articles on the potential benefits of the human-animal bond. This item, written by Dr. Alan E. Kazdin, a Yale psychologist and noted advocate for improved mental health resources is particularly relevant at this moment. The second article is by a journalist, Julian Hattem, on a message via song in Uganda describing behaviors to mitigate the risks of Covid19 infection. Finally, there is a review of a book, Spillover, about the emergence of new, or newly recognized, zoonotic diseases that cause much human (and animal) suffering.

Companion Animals and Mental Health
April 15, 2020

Greyton Farm Animal Sanctuary, South Africa

As the world negotiates its interactions with and responses to an emergent coronavirus, it seems like an appropriate time for WBI to republish an article by Yale psychologist, Professor Alan Kazdin on the potential health benefits to humans of a relationship with a companion animal and to bring some positive news about human-animal interactions. During physical distancing, households are reaching out to foster dogs from shelters and have also apparently gone on a puppy-buying spree in the USA. These new pet households are apparently looking to enrich their now isolated conditions with companion animals. Therefore, WBI would like to draw attention to the positive aspects of human-animal connections. Professor Kazdin’s article, first published by WBI in 2018, responded to a story in the Guardian newspaper by Dr.Srivastava, a British oncologist, who noted how pets could boost the spirits of some of her patients but it is also very relevant to our current situation.

"Everyone is a Potential Solution."
April 15, 2020
By Julian Hattem, Journalist

"The bad news is that everyone is a potential victim / But the good news is that everyone is a potential solution."

So begins a recent song from Ugandan reggae singer-turned-lawmaker Bobi Wine, who has spent years singing about urban poverty and injustice. The new song, “Corona Virus Alert,” comes as a sort of public service announcement that uses a catchy beat and uplifting rhythm to encourage listeners to wash their hands, keep a distance from each other and report serious symptoms that could be a sign of infection. The song has made waves, capturing headlines in NPR, Billboard, the Guardian and al Jazeera for its mix of exuberant tone and serious content.

Children in school, Kampala, Uganda
Photo by: AnjoKanFotografie


Spillover. Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. 2012. W. W. Norton & Company, New York (nominated a notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review)
By David Quammen
Reviewed by Andrew Rowan

This book by science writer and journalist David Quammen about pandemic threats to humans arising from animal pathogens (zoonotic) was first published in 2012, eight years before the current coronavirus pandemic that appears to come from bats, possibly with a contribution from pangolins. Spending quite a bit of time these days reading books, I decided that it was time to read Spillover. I also have harbored a hope to someday meet David Quammen since we were both privileged to be able to spend time studying at Oxford. So, I bought a Kindle version of Spillover and started to read – all 522 pages of text plus an additional 68 pages of acknowledgements, notes, references and index.

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