Valley Fever and Dogs: Facing the Desert-Dwelling Fungus Among Us

Valley Fever and Dogs: Facing the Desert-Dwelling Fungus Among Us

posted in: At Home, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Earlier this week, we talked about the dogs’ Homemade Dog Food. Now, we want to take you way back to that fateful day in 2012 when we saw Nana in the window.

When we went in to inquire about the dog that had captured our hearts, we discovered she had Valley Fever. They assured us that this was not a difficult condition to treat.

You Can't Tell Nana has Valley Fever by Looking at Her
You can’t tell Nana has Valley Fever by looking at her.

But we already knew that since our first dog, Mya, a retired racing greyhound had the same condition. Furthermore, at least two other dogs in our neighborhood also have Valley Fever.

According to Mayo Clinic, “Valley Fever is a fungal infection caused by coccidioides (kok-sid-e-OY-deze) organisms.” Valley Fever is fairly common in Arizona with 65% of all US cases occurring in our state, as reported by the CDC.

Spring at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum
Spring at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. Prime turf for the fungus that causes Valley Fever.

There is currently a vaccine in development at our alma mater, the University of Arizona, that could help prevent dogs from ever contracting Valley Fever in the first place.

The prognosis for Valley Fever in dogs can vary. Some may only need to take medication for a year, while others may be on it for life. Nana falls into the latter category.

***Consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s healthcare. This article is about our experience and is for informational purposes only.***

The treatment for Valley Fever is the antifungal medication Fluconazole. Nana has been on this medication for all four years of her life with us. It currently costs about $45 at our local compounding pharmacy. We gladly pay it because we love her so much!

However, fluconazole can cause some complications with the liver. Consequently, she takes the following additional supplements.


S Adenosyl 225 (SAMe) for MEDIUM / LARGE DOGS 225 mg


Grifron Maitake D-Fraction Professional Liquid, 2 Ounce


Nature’s Way Reishi Capsules, 100-Count

Our vet practices both conventional and holistic medicine, consequently he is 100% onboard with the use of mushrooms as supplements. He also gives Nana chiropractic and acupressure treatments every couple months for her lower back. We will blog about our experience with that later this month.

Nana’s blood work showed a vast improvement and total demeanor since we started her on the mushrooms, a healthier diet, and chiropractic treatments. We are so grateful to have our girl back, especially since we thought we might lose her last year. She is such a blessing and so is our veterinarian! If you are unsatisfied with your current veterinarian, don’t be afraid to change – it might just save your pet’s life!

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Woof Trekking Hotel Safety: Who’s Hiding Under the Bed?

Woof Trekking Hotel Safety: Who’s Hiding Under the Bed?

posted in: On the Road, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today’s post is an adaptation of a chapter from our new book, Woof Trekking.

woof trekking, pets, road trip, vacation, holiday, travel, travel with pets

Most hotels put their beds on metal boxes so nothing can go under the bed. For the most part they work, except occasionally at the head of the bed.

Sometimes the box ends before it touches the wall and leaves a cat/small dog-sized hole to crawl into. If you aren’t paying attention, your pet can end up under the bed and you can’t really get them out without a lot of time and/or coercion.

It would be wise to also take some of the extra pillows (you could use towels as an alternative) and create a blockade in front of any holes. We learned about this the hard way.

During our first Woof Trek, we would remove the leash from Billy’s harness when we arrived at the hotel. One night, we were not really paying attention and Billy found a hole we had missed at the foot of the bed.

Hotel Safety with Pets Hiding Under the Bed 1

We tried to grab his hind end but he slipped through and ended up inside the box spring!

Hotel Safety with Pets Hiding Under the Bed 2

We tried to lure him out by calling him and shaking his treat container, but he wouldn’t come.


Hotel Safety with Pets Hiding Under the Bed 3

We finally gave up as Billy enjoyed lording his newfound power over Mac. She left some treats by the entrance to his newfound Kat Kave.

Hotel Safety with Pets Hiding Under the Bed 4

Eventually, Billy got bored and came out from under the bed to take the bait.

Hotel Safety with Pets Hiding Under the Bed 5

Hearing the sound of his munching, we grabbed him, put the leash back on him, and blocked the entrance to his Kat Kave.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this adaptation from our book, Woof Trekking.

P.S. We highly recommend investing in a cat harness and leash.

woof trekking, pets, road trip, vacation, holiday, travel, travel with pets

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Cat Poetry from our Poetry Collection “Two by Two”:  Poem 31. Domestic

Cat Poetry from our Poetry Collection “Two by Two”: Poem 31. Domestic

posted in: Our Work, Poetry | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today’s post is an excerpt from our collection of poetry, Two by Two: Into the White. It is available for purchase for just 99 cents on Amazon!

31. domestic

rounded mountain back
dip of concave shoulder blades

swish, swish, flick
periscope tail never wags

soft paws, rough tongue
white chin, green eyes

eighteen claws, twenty-three whiskers
lick, lick, lick, never done

stripes and spots standing on end
watching, listening

crouched down low to the brown
brown carpet of earth

among the tall grass
of dining chair legs

The Inspiration

cat, feline, domestic shorthair

The inspiration for this poem was Billy, the Most AMAZING Cat!. We’ve been family for nearly eight years now and I have spent a lot of time just observing his movements. That might sound creepy to some extroverts, but to introverts, observing is our number one hobby. The introduction to the “nature” section of Two by Two reads as follows:

dogs and deserts and domestic shorthairs
dancing on the mother earth

daring to do, to live, to be
while we admire and provide rationale

I think that really captures why we love animals so much. This poem is a vignette of Bill as he goes about his business. He doesn’t worry about how others perceive him. He doesn’t second guess himself. He just is.

A great lesson for us humans.

2x2 End of Post Feature

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Woof Trekking: Rest Stops, Apps, and a $14.5 Million Price Tag

Woof Trekking: Rest Stops, Apps, and a $14.5 Million Price Tag

posted in: On the Road, Travel, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today’s post is an adaptation of a chapter from our new book, Woof Trekking.

woof trekking, pets, road trip, vacation, holiday, travel, travel with pets

When Woof Trekkking, some people can drive for hours and hours without stopping to use the restroom. These people must have bladders of steel. Our family does not, probably because we like to stay well hydrated while on the road.

Sometimes when you are driving along, nature can call rather abruptly and adamantly. You feel relieved when you see a rest stop is near on the roadside sign. You only have to wait a couple more minutes and then as you approach, you see it is barricaded and closed. Oh no!

We recently discovered that there is an app called USA Rest Stops that can be downloaded for free for both Apple and Android users. It relies on reporting from users, a lot like the Gas Buddy App.

Another cool app is called Trucker Path. From the name, you can tell that the app is geared more toward truckers, however, it could also be helpful to you on your Woof Trek. Besides weigh stations and large vehicle parking availability, the app also includes rest stop locations and gas stations with current prices (like Love’s and Pilot). It is also available for Android through Amazon.

As an alternative, most states have a list of rest areas online that can be found with a bit of Googling. Some sites also list whether each rest area is open or closed. If a rest stop isn’t nearby, there are always those golden arches available, as well as other restaurants or gas stations.

Most of the time we need to stop at rest stops for the human bladders amongst us. The dogs don’t get out every single time we stop. Izzy and Nana are on opposite ends of the spectrum: Nana can hold it forever, while Izzy can always squeeze out a few drops. Most rest stops have dog designated areas and many of these areas also provide small bags for pet waste. They are usually quite dependable to be free of holes. We like to take a couple each time we run into one of these stands. This way, we are always prepared. That being said, we always bring a good supply of waste bags with us, too.

One quirk about Nana is that when we are on a Woof Trek she enjoys marking her territory. She pees on significant places like prominent rocks and tree trunks. It’s like a big flashing sign, “NANA WAS HERE!”

If we have been driving for an extended period of time, everyone gets out to stretch their legs and investigate the new surroundings. There are some nice rest areas across the US. One of our favorites is in west Texas, Ward County West/East Bound and no wonder… According to the local Texas news, it came with a $14.5 million price tag! ? ? ?

 

Other nice rest areas are located in tandem with State Welcome Centers, where you can also pick up maps and brochures. One of our favorite examples of such a rest stop-welcome center combo was in Mississippi (pictured below).

rest stop

 

We hope this information helps you on your next Woof Trek!

woof trekking, pets, road trip, vacation, holiday, travel, travel with pets

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Buckle Up for Safety: Woof Trekking, Car Harnesses, and Booster Seats

Buckle Up for Safety: Woof Trekking, Car Harnesses, and Booster Seats

posted in: On the Road, Travel, Woof Trekking | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Safety is of the utmost importance while Woof Trekking. Accidents can happen, and it is best to have preventive measures in place. Some people let their animals roam freely in the car while they are driving, but we do not. All of our pets wear harnesses and are buckled in while the car is moving. Today’s post is an adaptation of a chapter from our new book, Woof Trekking.

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When we Woof Trek, Billy wears a harness and leash at all times. The harness goes around his neck, then under his arms, and ends up around his chest. We use his leash to tether him to the seatbelt of the human holding him. He spends most of the car ride asleep on a pillow in someone’s lap, since he takes Dramamine for motion sickness (read more in our article Woof Trekking: Anxiety and Motion Sickness).
cat, booster seat, car sick, car sickness, pets, pet,

We tried using an inflatable car seat (pictured above) for him that could be buckled into an empty seat, with the hope that looking out the window might ease his motion sickness. However, he didn’t actually look out the window that often, so we gave it up. The other downside of the seat for us was that it took up too much space, especially since he still preferred sitting with a human. That being said, it may be the right solution for you, so feel free to give it a whirl.

The specific model that we purchased in 2012 has since been discontinued, however there are plenty of alternatives available today.

Pet booster seats were featured on a recent episode of the show Lucky Dog (part of the CBS Dream Team… It’s EPIC!) shown on Saturday Mornings. All Woof Trekkers will enjoy this show, and FYI, it won a Daytime Emmy this May for “Outstanding Special Class Series.”

Nana and Izzy wear car harnesses that allow them to be buckled into a seat. We currently use the Canine Friendly brand. We previously used EZ Rider, but after viewing the 2013 Harness Results from the Center for Pet Safety, we decided to upgrade.

dog, pet, car harness, safety, buckle up
Nana and Izzy sporting the EZ rider harnesses from Petsmart before the upgrade.

Nana does not really like to be buckled in since it impedes her ability to look out the windows. Still, she allows us to buckle her in, even if it is a bit begrudgingly. She either sits or lays down in her seat depending on her mood. Izzy does not like to be buckled in either, but for the opposite reason of Nana. Izzy would much rather sit in a person’s lap while driving.

dog, pet, car harness, safety, buckle up
Nana sporting her sturdier Canine Friendly Harness. It has metal buckles and overall, the harness seems to be made of stronger materials.

For the most part the dog harnesses work well at keeping the dogs safe and secure. But as the old adage goes, “If there’s a will, there’s a way.” If a noise startles Izzy during the trip, she will squirm and fight her way out of her harness and rampage to the nearest lap. But we always get her back to her seat, or on a few rare occasions, buckled in with the nearest human.

woof trekking, pets, road trip, vacation, holiday, travel, travel with pets

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Woof Trekking: Anxiety and Motion Sickness (100th Post!!!)

Woof Trekking: Anxiety and Motion Sickness (100th Post!!!)

posted in: On the Road, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

First, we want to mention that this post is our 100th post on zydoyle.com! Can you believe it? We wanted to start a blog for a very long time, and we are so glad that on 12/31/2014, we finally took the plunge. Thank you all for reading our posts. We look forward to what the future has to bring! Now, on to today’s post, which is an adaptation of a chapter from our new book, Woof Trekking.

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Note: If your pets get anxiety or motion sickness when traveling, check with your veterinarian prior to giving them any medications.

Anxiety and motion sickness can be a big challenge when bringing pets on a road trip, aka Woof Trekking. Before you take your pets on a Woof Trek, we suggest taking several trips in the car around town a few weeks in advance. Then you can gauge your pet’s car riding personality. “Get your pet geared up by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car,” says the ASPCA in their great article, “Travel Safety Tips.”

When it comes to how well our pets handle Woof Trekking, they are all over the spectrum.

The Pro

c4a

Nana has no problems on the road. She absolutely loves riding in the car. She is very good at controlling her body through twists and turns by leaning against the centrifugal force. She will crane her neck to watch the road through the front windshield. We are convinced that if she somehow acquired the necessary skills, she could drive to the park herself.

The Lightweight

c4b

Billy, in general is very good in the car, but he does have one big problem. He gets motion sick. In the past, Billy has received a half tablet of Dramamine (Meclizine Version) on the first couple mornings of the Woof Trek, at the advice of our veterinarian.

It makes Billy pretty drowsy. We only give it to him the first couple days, because after that, he tends to have adjusted to life on the highway. The Dramamine works, but only up to a point. If the road winds back and forth, he can still get sick.

We recently changed veterinarians and he suggested switching to Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate Version) or Benadryl to help Billy with his motion sickness, but we have not yet tried either of these options. Talk with your veterinarian to decide what solutions may be appropriate if your pet is prone to motion sickness.

The Wild Card

c4c

Izzy can get a bit anxious in the car, especially on the first day. She pants and can whine on occasion, but eventually she settles down. Like Billy, she has received Dramamine (Meclizine Version), per the advice our previous veterinarian, to help cope with this. We give her the pill about an hour before we leave, and she becomes much more mellow and less stressed. Again, we only give it for the first couple days because after that, she has adjusted to our new schedule.

ohanafamily

You might ask, if Izzy is so stressed, why not just leave her at home? We tried once in 2013. Everyone was kenneled while we attended a funeral. We were gone for four days. Nana did fine. Billy gave Mac the cold shoulder for about a week, but was otherwise fine. But while we were gone, Izzy went on a hunger strike. She can be quite sensitive and is very social. It was the first time we had ever left her behind, and it is likely to be the last. She is the type who could expire from a broken heart. So now, we never leave her behind. We are her ohana and we won’t ever forget her.

WT End of Post Feature


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Of GIFTs and Woof Treks: Two New Series for Our Blog

Of GIFTs and Woof Treks: Two New Series for Our Blog

posted in: Food, Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFTs), Woof Trekking | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

In the coming days, we are going to debut two new series of blog posts.

The first series will be about our travels with our pets, aka Woof Trekking. The second series will be recipes inspired by our grandma, aka Grandma-Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFTs).

It may not seem like it, but these two series are deeply connected.

Four years ago, both of our grandparents passed away on the same day (as we previously blogged about in Nana the Brave!). Our grandpa’s passing was expected, while our grandma’s was not. She passed away six hours before he did, even though she was in near perfect health for an 86-year-old. They always said they wanted to pass away together and walk up to heaven holding hands. In the end, they did.

Their passing induced two major changes in our lives. The first was adopting Nana. The second was our Commemorative Road Trip along the West Coast.

We travelled up the Pacific Coast Highway, through San Francisco, and up to Oregon, where our Grandma was born. The featured image of this post is “The Torii Gate” located outside the Portland Expo Center. It features “3,500 identification tags… to represent the same number of Japanese‐Americans housed at the Portland Assembly Center located at Expo during World War II.” (Source: http://www.expocenter.org/sites/default/files/pdf/expohistory_rev_2011.pdf)

of gifts and woof treks

From there, we travelled to Minidoka, Idaho (see our previous blog post about Minidoka here) where she was interned during World War II and then down to Brigham City, Utah where she met our grandpa. This trip turned out to be our very first Woof Trek, and paved the way for many more excursions with our pets across the United States.

In the Woof Trekking series, we will talk about locations we have Woof Trekked to and show you that it is possible to take your pets on the road with you.

When we returned home from the Commemorative Road Trip, we had to sift through all of our grandparents belongings. During this process, we discovered several cookbooks and cooking magazines in which our grandma had made a ton of little notes and corrections to recipes.

In the Grandma-Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFT) series, we will make these recipes and share them with you, our readers! We will also be making dishes that remind us of stories about our grandparents (like our post about Chicken Souvlaki.) Grandma loved sweets, so many of the recipes will be baked goods, but every once and awhile we will also post a savory dish she liked.

We hope that you come back and read our two new blog post series. Tomorrow we will have an exciting announcement. Please stay tuned!

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Izzy, the Wildest Dog in the West, PLUS New Book Announcement

Izzy, the Wildest Dog in the West, PLUS New Book Announcement

posted in: At Home, Scout and Malcolm, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

This month, we have introduced you to two of our five pets: Nana the Brave, and Billy the Most AMAZING Cat. Today, we are introducing our third pet, Izzy, the Wildest Dog in the West. Well, that might be an exaggeration… but only just a little bit.

You might be wondering why we have been blogging about our pets so much recently. The reason is our newest book: Woof Trekking: How to Road Trip with your Pets. Izzy is our cover girl, as you can see below!

wooftripping cover

Woof Trekking will be released 8 days from today: July 1st. It is a perfect summer vacation book. We are so excited to share all of the road tripping tips and tricks that we have picked up during our four years of trekking around the US with our pets.

But for now, let’s get back to Izzy.

Izzy is a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. We picked her up from the airport as an eight-week-old fuzzball. So cute!

izzy, dog, dogs, wheaten, soft coated wheaten terrier
8 weeks old

Izzy can get pretty wild. We think this is due to the purebred terrier aspect of her (i.e. more nature than nurture). She is very social and excitable, much more so than Nana.

izzy, dog, dogs, wheaten, soft coated wheaten terrier, terrier
4 months old

She is always “on.” According to Wikipedia, Wheatens were bred for “herding, watching and guarding livestock, and vermin hunting and killing.” When she naps, any small noise will wake her and she hops up to investigate.

She can also become overstimulated quite easily, which can cause a case of the zoomies, during which she lets out hilarious high pitched shrieks, tear around the house, and twirl around in circles.

This type of wild behavior is exactly what inspired us to write Scout and Malcolm. Izzy is Irish, like Malcolm, although he is probably four times her size. They are both purebreds, can be a little over the top, but remain completely lovable for their pure enthusiastic spirit.

izzy, dog, dogs, wheaten, soft coated wheaten terrier, terrier
11 months old. Her puppy fur grew out completely when she was about 10 months. Bye bye beautiful burnt orange. Hello Wild Wheaten.

Izzy has very expressive eyes. When she gets scared, her eyes grow wide. She takes advantage of her eyes by staring into your soul, thereby inducing you to feed her more treats. It usually works.

When you talk to her, she cocks her head as if if looking at you sideways will help her understand. Another great trick in her arsenal.

izzy, dog, dogs, wheaten, soft coated wheaten terrier, terrier
Izzy with her yogurt cup, enjoying a bit of Regis and Kelly back in December 2010.

Izzy is the polar opposite of Nana, but we love her. She is the wild one of our family and can always be depended on to bring some sort of excitement to our day.

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Billy, the Most AMAZING Cat!

Billy, the Most AMAZING Cat!

posted in: At Home, Woof Trekking | 4 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Even though I am a twenty-something, every once and awhile I like to pretend I am a kid again. One day, while channel surfing in the morning, I came across a PBS educational cartoon called Peg + Cat and was intrigued solely because it had cat in the name. I flipped it on and about ten seconds in Peg exclaimed, “the most AMAZING cat!!!” I, in turn, looked at my cat and exclaimed “the most AMAZING cat!!!” and snatched him up.

My cat’s name is Billy and to me, he is definitely the most AMAZING cat. He is a mackerel tabby, weighs about 14 pounds, and is going to turn 8 years old next month. Here he is!
billy the cat 2

Earlier this month we talked about Nana the Brave! and how we spotted her in the window at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona’s Shop at the mall. Well the same thing happened when I adopted Billy.

We were at a different mall and we walked by a sidewalk adoption setup by the Pima Animal Care Center. I spotted a wire kennel full of kittens. I scampered over and ducked my head down to inspect them. I had no intention of taking one home, but that all changed when I spotted this cute tabby boy with green eyes. My heart melted.

billy the cat 3

From that day forward, we have been inseparable. He follows me around the house like a shadow and has no problem demanding attention by standing in front of the computer screen.

I guess everyone thinks that their cat is the most AMAZING cat to them. I truly believe that mine is. Sometimes we forget to stop and appreciate our furry friends. Peg + Cat helped me to remember exactly how amazing Billy is.

billy the cat 1

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Nana the Brave!

Nana the Brave!

posted in: At Home, Woof Trekking | 4 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Most people have heard the song “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?”, originally sung by Pattie Page in 1953.

I heard it first in elementary school. It’s one of those songs they play in cartoons that every kid knows, but no kid really knows where it came from. Another example is “I’m a Believer.” That song is strongly associated in my mind with Shrek (rather than the Monkees) because that’s where I heard it first. But I digress…

Our local mall has a satellite location of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, and it has a window that shows available dogs. We had passed the shop many times, but never seen a dog that we had a soul connection with. After all, we already had a dog: Izzy, a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.

But four years ago today, we went to the mall, saw a doggie in the window and came home with a new best friend.

nana 1

This is the photo we sent to our father, after we had already signed the adoption papers. He was totally chill with it. Perhaps because the previous day, our (maternal) grandparents had passed away hours apart in hospice care. They had been slowly declining over the past four years, and now it was all over.

A Transition Period

We went to the mall that day to distract us from the gaping hole in our lives left by two family members dying on the same day. Being caregivers had been exhausting, although it was easier between the four of us.

There is so much stress with hospital visits and near brushes with death that happen as the elderly continue to age. Now they were gone, and there was ostensibly no more stress. There was only sadness, relief, and then guilt for feeling relieved.

We went into the Humane Society only to “look” at the dog, say hello, and then go home. But that wasn’t how it went at all.

We went in, said hello and then the workers asked us if we would like to take her out on a walk. Of course, we couldn’t say no and ten minutes later we end up walking out with Nana. It is one of the most spontaneous things we have have ever done.

nana 3

Can I have the etymology please?

We get some raised eyebrows when we tell people her name. “Oh, is she a grandma?” is the most common question. The answer is no, she is not.

Nana was the name of one our grandpa’s nurses. He was from Ghana and was very warm, quiet, and kind; the same characteristics that our dog possesses. We decided this was the perfect name for her. Later we read on Wikipedia that in Ghana, Nana “is used as the title of a monarch to signify their status.”

Nana in Japanese is one way to say the number 7. (The other word is shichi.) So in other words, Nana is a lucky dog!

Nanna is also the name of the lead singer from Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men (Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir – same pronunciation but a different spelling). In Nordic languages, Nanna means daring or brave. We think our Nana is very brave.

We believe that our grandparents guided us to Nana and in return Nana has watched over us since they passed. She has brought a different perspective to our house and is an amazing dog who changed our lives forever. We love you Nana!

nana 4

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