Pet may die from passive smoking
IRLAM dog breeder Sheila Young has vowed to give up smoking because she fears it could be slowly killing her dogs.
Sheila had tried for many years to give up cigarettes for her own sake – she suffers from serious chest infections which forced her to give up entering the animals for competitions because she could not run. But it was when new research demonstrated the harm tobacco could be doing to her five golden retrievers that Sheila finally decided to quit.
Sheila, 65, has five female golden retrievers – Skye, 12, Crystal and Robin, both nine, Diamond, five, and Topaz, three.
"When I heard about new research that showed family pets can be seriously affected by passive smoking, I knew I had to do something," she said.
"Admittedly, the dogs did get up and walk out of the room if I lit a cigarette and I never smoked in the porch where they sleep but clearly I had to do something more."
"I could not live with the thought that I could be giving them cancer. Even the canine experts acknowledge the links between people who smoke and animals. The organisers of Crufts, for instance, ban smoking in the show areas – people have to go outside to light up."
Sheila sought help from the Salford and Trafford Smoking Cessation Service, who have given her a wealth of advice and constant encouragement.
She started smoking many years ago after suffering a personal trauma and had tried many times to give up because it was seriously affecting her health.
"But every time I had a set-back in my life, I would start smoking again. The latest trauma was last December when somebody tried to break into my house while I was asleep in bed." But because she started smoking again, Sheila caught another chest infection and was admitted to hospital. While she was in there, a friend looked after her dogs.
During her stay in Hope, Sheila sought the help of the Salford and Trafford Smoking Cessation Service who, she says, have provided much-needed support and advice.
Erica Kinniburgh, the service’s co-ordinator, said: "Our furry friends have a double whammy if they live in a house with smokers."
"Not only do they inhale the smoke in the environment, but the smoke particles, too small to be seen by the naked eye, also become trapped in their fur."
"So when the animal grooms and cleans itself, it also ingests the chemicals, many of which are known to cause cancer."
One study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, she added, found that dogs living in households with smokers had a 60 per cent greater risk of lung cancer.
Sheila realises that it is going to be tough to give up cigarettes but she is determined to try. As she says: "These animals are not just my livelihood, they are my life and I will do everything to protect them."
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