Pets to the rescue in Ukraine, cat allergy vaccine, India’s 1st surf competition, cat yoga twist

Aug 30, 2023 Episode 155

Pets to the rescue in Ukraine, breakthrough cat allergy vaccine, India’s 1st surf competition, cat yoga with adoption twist

Episode Transcript


LEELA: This week… pets to the rescue in more ways than one, plus a vaccine to beat cat allergies and… India’s first surf competition.

OPENING STING – LEELA: “Hey, hey, hey. Listen up. New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”


LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi, the news pool for curious kids and adults!

I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and I’ve got my sidekick here too though you could also call her my producer and, well, (coughs) my mom!

MAMA: Hello, hello!

LEELA: This week…

Pets to the rescue in Ukraine from cats to dogs and mine detection to emotional support.

Speaking of cats, do you love sleek felines but find your allergies are fired up while they’re around? Never fear a vaccine is here but for whom?

In sport news India hosts its first ever international surf championships. Complete with cows roaming the beach and, of course, sweet waves.

And did anyone mention pets to the rescue??? Find out how they’re helping liven up exercise classes too.


OK then, let’s dive on in. First up, it’s the…

BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”

MAMA: So, we’ve known for a while that animals can do pretty amazing, sometimes even heroic things.

LEELA: Oh, yeah, check out the 2 stories we’ve done about Ma-gawa, the large rat who sniffed out explosive mines in Cambodia and was given an international honor for doing so!

MAMA: Thank you. That would be episode 14 and episode 50 in case you wanna have a listen.

LEELA: But like do it after you listen to this one. Right ya…

MAMA: Yeah, we don’t wanna distract you too much. And you’ve probably heard the amazing but true stories of pets rescuing their owners from trouble – like the video that recently resurfaced of the dog that pulled his human away from a car driving down a residential road at 60 miles an hour.

LEELA: Or the cat that pounced on her sleeping human, waking her up to realize there was a fire in her front room.

MAMA: And now we’ve got news of pets coming to the rescue in more ways than one in Ukraine, which has been at war with Russia since 2014 though it really escalated 18 months ago in February 2022.

LEELA: Take Patron, the dog who’s an official member of Ukraine’s state emergency service.

MAMA: Yes, the pooch puts to good use his eyes and powerful dog nose – which smells ten-thousand times more accurate, or better, than humans, in case ya didn’t know.

LEELA: I did know that, thanks to several earlier stories on this very podcast. So, not surprisingly, Patron has also turned until quite a social media star.

MAMA: I mean, how could he not, right? Well, putting his influencer status to good use, the Jack Russell has also helped fundraise for people affected by the war, particularly his colleagues injured while clearing mines.

LEELA: He’s not the only one. Oh, no, there’s also a fundraising feline in Ukraine too. Of course, there is an act who is just so amazing! You see, Stepan was just another incredibly cute internet cat until Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Now he also puts his social media celebrity status to helping raise money for animals abandoned or caught in the crossfire.

MAMA: And that’s not all. It’s really worth noting that in these super hard times for a country dealing with the hardships of war whether it’s the fear of bombs going off or resources like electricity and even food and water being scarce, never mind your whole world being turned upside-down these pets also provide a lot of emotional support too.

LEELA: Well, with the help of their humans, of course, their online avatars offer words of comfort and support.

MAMA: And sometimes just good, distracting humor to those suffering through the war.

LEELA: There’s even a cartoon cat getting in on the act.

MAMA: Proving to be super popular and comforting.

LEELA: And proving that help comes in all forms.

MAMA: Indeed. We’ve of course got links to all these heroic deeds and more in our transcript.

[SOURCE: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-66509999





MAMA: And now, staying with animals, cats in particular… Ever noticed how for some people fabulous felines aren’t, well, so fabulous?

LEELA: Impossible!

MAMA: Well, I only mean that for some people being around cats is a very hair-raising experience… in that the furry creatures don’t always agree with their sinuses and their allergies go into overdrive. We’re talking. Sneezing (sneezes), coughing (coughs), scratching (scratches), and even rashing.

LEELA: I pity those people. Never getting to know the amazing brightness of cats and the amazing cat lover and amazing…

MAMA: Ahh Leela so the point is some of them are even bigger cat lovers than you.

LEELA: Impossible.

MAMA: Well, I only mean that they’ll do anything to keep their cats. Like either put up with the constant runny eyes and nose or take loads of medicines and antihistamines to keep the allergies at bay.

LEELA: Oh, gosh! I mean, isn’t it bad to take too much medicine?

MAMA: Exactly. Especially the kind that weakens your immune system like those. Well help may be at hand. Or should I say paw.

LEELA: Cute. Yes, you should.

MAMA: Well, for more on this, let’s go to our fellow cat lover Mirabel Power for the details.

LEELA: Take it away Mirabel.

MIRABEL: When you hear the phrase “cat snuggles” do you go “aww” or do you go “aaaachoooo!”

If you can’t bury your face in a cat without a gigantic nose-splosion, the Swiss researchers at Saiba Animal Health might have just the solution for you!

You see, some people love cats so much they take shots almost every month just to live in the same house as their furry friends.

These vaccines target people’s immune systems – hoping to subdue their allergic reaction to cats.

But the Swiss researchers think that instead of people being allergic to cat HAIR, they’re allergic to a certain protein found in cat SALIVA, called Fel d 1.

When cats clean themselves, IT’S SO CUTE… but also the saliva on your tongue goes onto their fur giving people allergic reactions.

So, this new vaccine has been created though it’s not yet on the market is for CATS – not their humans. It’s a lot like the shots that we take to make sure we don’t get sick. The scientists mix Fel d 1 with a plant disease that doesn’t harm cats, called cucumber mosaic virus.

In response, the cat’s immune system breaks down the virus and a lot of the protein too!

The end result: being able to use your cat as a pillow SFX (purr) without sneezing your head off. SFX (aaaachooooo!)

Warning: sticking your head near a cat’s tummy could cause harm to your face if your cat is feeling feisty, so snuggle with care!

From Florida I’m Mirabel Power, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi.

LEELA: Thanks a lot for that report, Mirabel!

[SOURCE: https://healthnews.com/news/scientists-have-created-a-cat-allergy-vaccine/#:~:text=This%20is%20the%20approach%20medicines,cats%20against%20Fel%20d%201]

SPORTS STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “It’s time to play ball… Score… Sports News!”

MAMA: When you think of international surfing competitions – what comes to mind? As in what place?

LEELA: Oh, well, Hawaii, obviously. California. Of course, Australia. And Bali in Indonesia. And… well…

MAMA: Right – not exactly India then?

LEELA: India?! Well, no…

MAMA: Well, yes, actually. For more let’s go to our sports correspondent Yuvraj Singh for the details.

LEELA: Ok then – set me straight on this, Yuvraj.

YUVRAJ: Thanks, Leela.

I’m usually on Newsy Pooloozi reporting about India’s amazing sporting talent on the cricket field a game little like baseball only sooooo much better some might say… in my humble opinion, that is!

So, while India is a cricket-crazy country, it is also a big mass of land that is surrounded by water.

So why hasn’t there been a major surfing competition before, right?

Especially when you think about Sri Lanka – which is the island nation just at the southern tip of India.

That’s a place that’s been well known for big waves for years.

Well, now it’s India’s turn to “hang ten” * which basically means riding on a surfboard with all ten toes curled over the front edge of the board, in case you didn’t know!

For the first time ever, the World Surf League held competition here in India over on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, near the town of Mahabalipuram which is a town more famous for its ancient Hindu temples than waves.

But the competition organizers say India’s massively long coastline has world-class waves.

They hosted over 50 of the best surfers in Asia and 20 of India’s best up-and-coming surfers, who spent a week riding the “long, right-handed waves” the beach is known for.

Oh, the beach is also known for something else that had the WSL commentators a little amused.


Hey, what can I say?

This is India, yaar.

We might be getting surfing competitions here finally, but it will be a long time before we get the cows off the beach.

In New Delhi, I’m Yuvraj Singh reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Thanks so much, Yuvraj! I have to say, I think a road trip to the Tamil coast might be in order especially as I’ve learned to surf myself. What do you say… Mother? Pretty please?

MAMA: Next, next story…

[SOURCES: https://www.newindianexpress.com/sport/other/2023/aug/14/intl-surfing-eventto-be-held-for-first-time-in-india-from-august-14-to-20-at-mamallapuram-2605134.html


India to Host First World Surf League Event This August | World Surf League

It’s ON! Day 2 of the Tamil Nadu International Surf Open | World Surf League]

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: And did anyone mention pets?

MAMA: Oh, I think I have heard something on this podcast about pets… yeah.

LEELA: Meeeeeooooow.

MAMA: Cats, in particular, by chance?

LEELA: Oh, yeah. You got it. One of my favorite things – cats – with one of your favorite things: yoga.

MAMA: Are you talking about the cat pose? Such a great stretch…

LEELA: Well, kinda… This is pets to the rescue in a way you might not expect. For the details I’m going to hand over to one of our other cat-loving correspondents – Teya Chandra. Take it away, Teya!

TEYA: Ok, I admit I’m not a yoga nut.

LEELA: Well, I think you’re the cat’s whiskers, Teya! Thanks for that report.

TEYA: Thanks, Leela.

Two of my favorite things in the world are cats and yoga!

It’s scientifically proven they both have relaxing, calming benefits.

Just check out Episode 17 of Newsy Pooloozi for more!

But one yoga studio right here in New Delhi, India is taking this to new heights.

Believe it or not, it’s been a trend to include a furry animal or two in yoga classes for a while now.


Yes, we’re talking paws and poses!

Everything from cats to dogs, and even goats, have been welcomed into special yoga classes around the world.

No, they’re not there to help people perfect their downward-facing-dog pose, but to add smiles to the stretches.

Only the Paw Hour initiative takes this one step further, or should I say, goes further down the “catwalk.”

There isn’t just ONE cool cat prancing among the mats. Or even two or three!

There are LOADS of feline feet loafing around these yogis.


Well, there’s a hidden match-making agenda here.

Because the class is full of stray cats and cute kittens looking for loving homes.

And when you’re in a lonnnnggg, relaxing stretch and a fluffy feline snuggles into you and purrs itself to sleep – how could you possibly resist?

Yes, this class is not just about human relaxation… but cat adoption. Genius.

That’s the cat’s whiskers, I’d say.

In New Delhi, India, I’m Teya Chandra, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!

[SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/yoga-enthusiasts-master-cat-pose-kitten-yoga-session-2023-08-07/ https://www.scmp.com/video/asia/3230431/paws-and-poses-new-delhis-yoga-class-brings-joy-and-serenity] https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/yoga-enthusiasts-master-cat-pose-kitten-yoga-session-2023-08-07/

FAB FACTS STING – LEELA: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top five fab facts heard today. Here goes…” 

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 1 – Pets are coming to the rescue in many ways in Ukraine which has been at war with Russia since when?

2014 though it really escalated 18 months ago in February 2022.

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – Take Patron, the mine-sniffing dog, works with Ukraine’s state emergency service. How powerful can dogs’ noses be?

10,000 times more accurate, or better, than humans

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Scientists create a cat-allergy shot that’s for the cat to take not their humans, which works by immunizing the cat against the most common allergen in cats – which causes an allergic reaction in many humans. What’s it called?

Fel d 1

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – India hosted its first World Surf League competition in August in the Tamil Nadu town of Mahabalipuram – which is famous for what?

Its ancient Hindu temples

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – And what is the surfing phrase that means riding on a surfboard with all ten toes curled over front edge of the board?

Hang ten

And don’t forget, if you want to test yourself later on – or your students if you’re an educator – then go to the Lucky Dip page of our website,  newsypooloozi.com, that’s pool-o-o-z-i, and take this quiz online in your own time!

LEELA: And that brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi!

MAMA: If you enjoyed this dip in the coolest pool of news and information then HIT that subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Alexa or wherever you get your podcasts.

LEELA: While you’re at it… Give us a good rating. Or better still, leave us a review! Go on – we’ll read it out loud if you do…

MAMA: And don’t forget to check out our website – that’s newsypooloozi.com – p-o-o-l  o-o-z-i.com

LEELA: Alrighty then, see you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!