Rabies is a deadly illness which can be transmitted through the bite of a rabies infected animal, very often dogs.
In Sri Lanka there are a vast amount of dog bite
victims – 1300 such
victims, according to the recent statistics, and as such the Health Ministry spends about 500 million from its Budget every year for the rabies vaccination, says Shevanthi Jayasuriya, The Trustee of the Blue Paw Trust – an organization of a team of veterinary practitioners and some animal lovers.
Recently, the organization conducted a puppet show called "Bawwage Rahas" for the Grade 1 – 3 students of Sri Susamivardana College, Borella, on responsible pet ownership. The purpose behind this puppet show was to create awareness among the children of harmless means of approaching dogs.
Similar shows were also conducted in 31 other schools under the Colombo Municipal area by the organization. Shevanthi Jayasuriya says that often, those who get affected by such dog bites are children, especially those coming from poorer communities.
At the beginning and the end of the show was a question and answer session, which was successfully participated by the students.
The show was conducted in the form of a dialogue which takes place between a small child and Bawwa. Here the character of Bawwa informs its likes and dislikes and advises the child on Do’s and Don'ts when it comes to dealing with dogs.
"We want Bawwa to be the spokesperson and come out with the snippets to advise the children.
In order to convey this message, we decided to use the medium of puppets, since this dying form of art is not something that children see every day," said Shevanthi.
According to 'Bawwa,'
- To disturb the dogs when they sleep by stoning them, poking them with sticks, jumping over them or running close to them can be harmful.
- Going closer to the animals when they are caged is dangerous.
- You should not go near female dogs who are with their puppies.
- You should not
meddle with them when they take their meals.
- You should not look directly into the eyes of dogs who are unfamiliar to you.
- If you are being chased by a stray dog do not run. Instead stay where you are, without moving.
- In case of a dog bite, wash the wound with soap and running water for 10 minutes and immediately see a doctor.