So, what are you doing September 28th? It is a Wednesday. You going to work? Take the kids to school? Well, how about you raise awareness about World Rabies day while you are at it? This Wednesday, September 28th is World Rabies Day which is an important day that is often overlooked. Here is why we should all be learning and respecting this day all around the world.
I remember growing up and seeing a raccoon during broad daylight. Like many kids, I did not think this unusual until my mother noticed it as well. She immediately called animal control to check and see if it had rabies. Not knowing what rabies was, I knew it was something that was not good for the animal. The test came back positive and my mother was so thankful none of us were bit by the raccoon. But why? I still wondered. Why was it a good thing that none of us were bit by this animal that had rabies? I later found out why.
Rabies is a disease that affects your central nervous system. Your central nervous system is what controls your body and its functions. Your central nervous system comprises of your brain and your spinal cord. If your brain is not able to function properly, then you will eventually succumb to the disease of rabies. This is why it is important to educate people about the harms of rabies.
The date is set for September 28th each year for a reason; it is the death of Louis Pasteur. He developed the first successful vaccine against rabies. When your pet receives this vaccination, you can thank him for your pets extended life. Both the United Nations and Global Alliance for Rabies Control decided to honour his memory on this date. Since the headquarters for Global Alliance for Rabies Control is in the United Kingdom and United States, that is where the day is often observed.
Do you have a family pet? A dog that is more like your child’s sibling than a family pet? We all have had an animal like that in our lives if we are lucky. Dogs that live outside are more susceptible to rabies than a house cat since they can be bitten by wildlife. Remember the scene in Old Yeller when the dog was bitten by the wolf and was then contaminated by rabies? Well that can also happen to your dog, especially if you live near any wild animals, not just wolves. What happened at the end of the book? They had to shoot the family dog because he became infected. That is the case with rabies, you have to put the animal down since the only way to prevent it is to not spread it.
So you are probably wondering what you are able to do to spread the word about World Rabies Day. If you live in a rural or suburban setting, this is a day your township should be campaigning to be educated about. Since it is during a weekday, speak to your child’s school about awareness. Write the principal or superintendent, or even their teacher about World Rabies Day and ask them if they are able to set up an activity at school for the kids. It is worth a shot.
Many townships also offer bike rides and 5K walk and runs in order to gain awareness for this day. Many will offer pet vaccinations at a lower cost, or even free, so you do not have an excuse to not vaccinate your pet. Tell your township about how other towns offer this treatment and ask if they will also invite a vet to your World Rabies Day fundraising event.
Now that you know a lot more about World Rabies Day, how are you planning on celebrating? I hope to run a 5K to raise awareness for the cause even if my township does not recognize the holiday. I think it is important to show my awareness for the day, and to help in any way possible. You can also donate money to a veterinarian’s office to go towards vaccinations for those who are not able to pay for one otherwise. Remember, celebrate by spreading awareness. That is what this day is mostly about. You can follow the event on Social Media with the hashtag #WorldRabiesDay