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January 18, 2013

In these times of intense political passions, when reading comments on news, more than once, I found commentators accusing people with different views from them of being Hippocrates. I cannot be more or less Hippocrates but I do aspire to be more like Hippocrates. Graduating doctors take the Hippocratic Oath. In summary, it says: “First, do no harm.” As if that was not good enough, Hippocrates left another valuable piece of advice: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Well, had it been easy, there would not be a multi-billion dollar diet industry.

Why is it difficult to take heed of Hippocrates advice? When we see food, whether it is good for our bodies, our brains command us to eat. It is true for humans and beasts. It is a known fact our ancestors went through many periods of starvation. Not too infrequently, we determine the nutritional value of what we eat after we do it. Next, guilt ensues along with weight gain and, in the long run, a plethora of unwanted diseases. Then comes the health care nightmare, trips to doctors and use of medication, the latter complicating matters even more.

When I told the few people who knew about him that Zebe was sick, I was accused of creating problems where there were none. Zebe had lost a considerable amount of weight, had been in a cranky mood, was less active and his fur had not gone through a full molt for the season. I knew I had to do something. I started to ask other people who had pet squirrels. They dissuaded me from seeing a veterinary; it would cost a lot of money and might not do Zebe any good. Zebe felt uneasy in the presence of strangers; he did not need the added stress.

I told Zebe I was aware he needed help and we were going to try the Hippocrates way. Every day, I offered Zebe different foods. I said he could have one nut a day, preferably the low in fat almond. The rest would be greens, fruits and vegetables except peanuts. Zebe understood the message and he seemed receptive to at least smell what I was offering. Slowly, he built his list of favorites but to my surprise, he took a liking to eating raw penne pasta. Not knowing then that white and whole wheat were just as bad, I gave him whole wheat. Still, his health improved. He regained the weight and had a better disposition but his fur had weird patterns. I was somewhat relieved but had that question in my mind: in Zebe’s situation, what would Hippocrates do next?

The official Squirrel Appreciation Day is January 21.


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  1. yes people do use hypocrite when they disagree.What he would do for the squirrel i don’t know but you seem to be doing a grand job.

  2. Thanks for visiting Mike. Yes, Hippocrates and hypocrites are far apart but some people get them confused. Again, thank you for you kind words.

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