Sun, 05 Nov 2000

'Wau-wau' a TV show on caring for pets

By Sri Ramadani

Wau-wau (children's program); 11 a.m., Saturday; Indosiar

JAKARTA (JP): How does a bird fly? How do fish swim? Why do rabbits hop? Kids love to ask their parents these questions, but they may be told to go and find the answers in books or at the local zoo.

Another source is at hand with Wau-wau, a 30-minute TV series telling about the world of pets. It may over time emerge as a family show which can raise children's -- and their parents -- knowledge about and love for animals.

Wau-wau educates all the family, but particularly pet lovers as its target audience. It provides a great deal of important information about pet care, diseases which affect the animals, the normal behavior of animals and first aid techniques.

Pets such as dogs, cats, birds, fish and reptiles enchant their owners and leave them laughing, especially when they are still young. Taking care of them, however, can be serious business.

When their pets take a sickly turn, owners are inevitably affected, especially because it is hard for them to discover what is wrong. There is also always the danger of a spread of infection, such as parasites and rabies, when pets are not cared for properly. The program, through discussing how proper hygiene can be maintained in a home with pets, educates viewers without scaring them about their animal companions.

It also serves as a free guide to recommendations on pet safety and health, provided by experts (they also cover wild and endangered animals). Another major part of the program are interesting features, such as on cats, and film footage, such as orangutans playing before the camera and search and rescue dogs on the job.

The program still has a long way to go in telling everything about the world of pets, but at least it is a start. An added plus it that it covers topics which go beyond simple pet care. For instance, if you have a child who desperately wants a kitten but you are scared of potential allergies, then Wau-wau will help in explaining the risks. It can also advise you on the proper words of comfort for other family members when their beloved pet dies.

Still, it's nowhere as complete as The Pet Place, the acclaimed U.S. program on KDOC-TV. The latter show explores such diverse subjects such traveling with a pet, flea and tick control, grooming tips, pet rescue kits, preserving endangered species and much more.

Fred Bergendorff, the U.S. show's host and executive producer, said in a statement on The Pet Place's homepage that it was the most successful show of its kind in the nation at helping out animals.

"I don't know of another television show in the United States with this kind of track record in getting animals adopted," Bergendorff said.

Wau-wau, which made its debut on June 24, 2000, may still need to win over TV viewers as it has yet to enter the TV ratings list. It deserves recognition as a pioneering show on pets on Indonesian TV because, except for foreign wildlife specials, animals have rarely been the subject of locally produced shows.

Part of the attraction of the show is that its hosts, actors Zainal Abidin Domba and Vinny Alvionita, always appear enthusiastic and trendy, whether they are riding an elephant or horse, or looking at a tiger.

To find out what you should do for your animals and what your animals can do to you, Wau-wau may be a help.