Top 5 Things About Having Piggy Flu*

So I have watched as this virus zoomed around the world starting out in Mexico, quickly making its way to NYC while I was there in April.  I rode the subways and went about my business while watching the WHO freak out on TV.  I then hopped a plane back to Hong Kong in May where it soon followed me.  I went to China and had my temperature checked.  They actually took a little “doo-dad” (that’s a technical term) to my forehead after I waited on line for an hour and marked a piece of paper that I was fine.  Ironically, it was only those in the “Visitors” line that were having their temperature checked.  I guess they figured that mainland Chinese folk coming from the exact same place I just was couldn’t possibly be at risk to the same virus they were checking the foreigners for.  Some natural built in immunity or secret Tamiflu shot the rest of the world wasn’t aware of yet?  Duh? 

Then the whole thing got out of control and then everyone and his mother had swine flu and authorities stopped checking for it and it really didn’t matter because more people die of the regular flu anyhow.  I am by no means an authority on this nor are any of my statements fact checked – just as an aside.  I am currently lying in bed with this piggy virus and have somehow, though I have a backlog of blogs because I have been moving, reorganizing my business and various other bits, being home in bed I am inspired to write about it.  Maybe because I like to call it the piggy flu. Maybe because I just like the word piggy. Maybe because I have taken so much cough syrup, and have a fever, I am a little out of it at the moment.  Regardless – I hope you enjoy

We’re going to do this David Letterman style. Top 5 Things About Having Piggy Flu (sorry – there  just aren’t 10)

5) Chicken soup for the soul diet.  I think that I will eat/drink enough chicken soup to last me until the next flu and I feel the pounds shedding off me as I type.

4) Getting to spend quality time with the pets.  I am usually so busy, I don’t have time to lay in bed with my kitties all day.  It is truly amazing to me however sleeping the majority of the day how much they do actually sleep!  No wonder they are  so over weight!

3) Cough syrup with codeine.  Yeah baby.  The stuff just….Oops sorry – passed out while I was typing.  See it just has that kind of an effect on you!  When you are hacking up a lung or two, the least you can hope for is something that allows you to sleep peacefully.

2) Quarantine.  Though mostly self imposed – the doc did say I shouldn’t really leave my house for another 3 days (total of 6).  It is nice to have some alone time, I must admit.  Great for catching up on DVDs, sleep, DVDs, sleep – did I mention DVDs and sleep?  Visitors aren’t too keen, but I get a few deliveries.  But when you have to go get supplies from the corner 7-Eleven (that is as far as I go), we have….    

Miss Piggy - Swine Flu or Bank Robber?

Miss Piggy - Swine Flu or Bank Robber?



1)A hot new fashion accessory!  The surgical mask!  The light blue, fuzzy textured kind with elastic white straps to fit Dumbo’s ears or mine.  Oh, because when you are hacking and wheezing and it is 90 degrees and humid and trying to walk down the street, having a mask over your face makes it so much easier to uh…breathe!?  I wore one today and looked like a bank robber.  People in Hong Kong, rightly so after SARS,  get very skittish when you cough or sneeze or do any kind of germ sharing behavior.  I thought  today they should be scared I might ask for their wallet.  

So if you should come down with this increasingly more common flu strain, not to worry, look on the bright side.  In addition to the fever, chills, aches, headache, coughing, hacking, sneezing and other normal flu symptoms – you have these to look forward to!  

Please entertain me with your comments.  I still have 3 days of DVDs, sleeping, cats and chicken soup left. 🙂


*Please note this is in no way meant to be insensitive to those who have a serious strain of this virus.  Clearly for some this is a serious disease and can be fatal and should be taken seriously and if you suspect you have this disease and suffer from other serious medical conditions, you should consult your doctor immediately.

Dr. Doolittle – My Week of Animal Rescue

“Respect for life begins with concern to animals.” – SPCA

*Please be advised this blog contains graphic images that may be disturbing to some.


I was doing a Facebook quiz last weekend (I know, I know, massive time vampire), that was supposed to tell me about my inner self. One of the questions was – “What would you do if you found an injured bird on the ground?”. Okay, first thought – gross – bird flu, but actually, I really didn’t know what I would do and I hate to see suffering creatures. Well the next night, I was walking down D’Aguilar Street and there was a baby bird sitting on the ground. I kid you not! My friend and I looked at him and when I saw he wasn’t injured, I got a little closer, put my finger on the ground and he hopped on my hand. I am still not kidding. I have the pictures to prove it!

I told you I wasn't kidding!

I told you I wasn't kidding!

He was so cute. Of course I could have walked past him, or could have left him there to either die of starvation or to be eaten by an alley cat, but I didn’t. I just couldn’t.

Something was telling me to save the little guy as much as it seemed like a strange thing to do. He was singing and then hopped on my chest up to my shoulder. I looked at my friend and we agreed he was not going to be abandoned on our watch.

Tweety – I found out, is a Bullbull and is a common songbird in Hong Kong. I took him to the SPCA where they are raising him for another couple of weeks until he can eat on his own but the vet said he won’t be able to be released into the wild.  I am already a cat mommy, and my apartment is too small for a menagerie, so if anyone would like to ADOPT TWEETY, please let me know.

Moon Bears & Other Furry Friends

It is my belief that how we treat animals says a lot about our character as people (I am not trying to talk myself up, I promise).  Since I landed in Hong Kong almost three years ago I have been very passionate about saving animals in Asia.  The lack of education in Mainland China, Southeast Asia and even here in Hong Kong, about even our most beloved best friend the DOG, is disturbing to me.

I was invited to an Animals Asia fundraiser within my first six months here, and I have been supporting them ever since.  Jill Robinson, the founder, is a true inspiration.  She has so much love and passion for her cause and has given it her life.  When Jill gave her update on the programs, the big one being the Moon Bear rescue, and the reason she began the charity, and I knew to have my tissues ready. The information is horrifying and shocking, but so important for people to understand the importance of  the Animals Asia foundation.

Some gruesome facts  I want to share with you that I learned at the event:

  • Happening right now in Hanzhong, in the Shaanxi Province authorities have ordered a dog cull in response to 12 human cases of rabies.  Over 30,000 dogs have been killed and it is still ongoing.  Oh – and there is no euthanizing, the method of handling this includes both men and women chasing dogs down with sticks and bats and smashing their brains in.  Too graphic for you?  Sorry, but people need to hear the reality.
They are killing strays & domestic pets alike.

They are killing strays & domestic pets alike.

This seems really logical...???
This seems really logical…???
  • There are 7000 moon bears in China and 3000 in Vietnam that are living in cages barely larger than the size of their bodies with holes in their abdomens where the bile from their gallbladders drip to be farmed.  The bears are generally captured illegally in the wild in cruel traps.  As a result, many have missing limbs.  When these bears are rescued, they are frightened, diseased, skeletal, and even harm themselves due to the outrageous conditions they were forced to endure for more than a decade on many occasions.  Many have to be put down because they are so ill.  Autopsies and surgeries have shown severe damage to both the liver and gallbladder in all of the bears, which begs the question to the Chinese Government (who has made this practice legal and considers it humane): How is bile from a tumor ridden, cancer ridden bear, many times found with puss and feces in the bile,  being given to humans!?
  • Staying on topic with the impact on humans: A truckload of  140 dogs, not fed or given water in over four days, packed like chickens in a crate, was rescued by the Animals Asia team on its way to the slaughter market.  Of this number, 102 dogs were so seriously diseased they had to be put to sleep.  Again, this begs the question – what on earth are humans doing eating diseased animals?!

Animals Asia focuses on the welfare of the animals, but think to yourself, what kind of human being can look a dying, miserable animal in the eye for 20 years while draining bile from it’s abdomen?  How can a person sleep at night after brutally bashing in the skulls and little bodies of scores of dogs?  I am American.  Sure.  It’s cultural you can say.  No.  There are plenty of animal loving people in China and Asia.  They are trying to stop this and they need help  putting this obscene, inhumane behavior to an end.

Animals Asia has a number of programs that both rescue animals and educate people, especially children, about animal welfare.  You can HELP support these heartfelt programs:

  • China & Vietnam Moon Bear Rescue – this program rescues the bears, deals with their emergency and ongoing medical care, provides a facility where they can live out their days with other bears, and of course gives them love and attention they have never experienced.
Named for his love of Gummy Bears :)

Named for his love of Gummy Bears 🙂

  • Friends, or Food? – this program is designed to educate consumers of dog and cat about these furry friends and that they are nicer to hang out with than to eat!  There is a lot of information on the history of dog/cat eating on this link as well.
  • Dr. Dog – is a program started by Jill’s own Golden Retriever, that visits disabled, sick and elderly people to cheer them up and help them recover through something called Animal Assisted Therepy.  Got a doggie?  You and the pup can VOLUNTEER for this program!
  • Professor Paws – this “pawesome” program teaches kids how to take care of and approach animals and fosters English language learning and literacy by allowing children to practice reading aloud to a canine friend!  No judgments and happy to listen!  Book a visit to your school today or join as a VOLUNTEER with or without your pooch.

Volunteering is a wonderful way to spend your time in Hong Kong and this is a beautiful organization.  I hope you are inspired to participate or at least peruse their site for more information on the cause.  To read more about Jill Robinson, who inspires me and reminds us that progress is possible click – JILL ROBINSON BIO.  Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this post.

Is it not our social responsibility to help those that cannot help themselves?  If it is possible to make a difference in just one life, human or of the animal kingdom is it not our duty to do so?

“I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  I must not fail to do the something that I can do.” – Helen Keller