WE SHOULDN'T need to be reminded how lucky we are to live in this part of the world.
Last week there were a couple of things that made me feel blessed to live here.
One was having visitors to stay from the big smoke who kept quizzing me to make sure that I wasn't taking our landscape and lifestyle for granted.
The other was when I was searching through online veterinary education options in the USA.
There I happened upon a course entitled "Care of Animals Seized From Clandestine Methamphetamine Laboratories".
Vets in many US states actually need to know this stuff!
It is so common in states like Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri, that vets there need to be well- versed in dealing with the rescue of neglected and abandoned animals in an extremely hazardous environment.
These illicit and clandestine meth labs mostly aren't the shiny pristine facilities glamorised in the TV series Breaking Bad, but rather grotty, boot-of-a-car, kitchen or back shed jobs.
Cheap, nasty, full of extremely toxic and potentially unstable and explosive chemicals.
In the US in 2010 there were 9187 illicit meth lab seizure incidents, and the numbers are increasing.
By comparison, in the same year in Australia there were 700.
Animals are kept both as pet companions in these locations and for security purposes as guard dogs etc.
Children and animals unfortunate enough to be living in these environments are exposed to, and often have toxic blood levels of, chemicals such as heavy metals like mercury and solvents.
In the event of a "bust", the animals are usually abandoned and so in go the vets in their full HazMat gear with the rest of the clean-up and decontamination team.
So yes, I'm really grateful that I live somewhere where I don't need to know all about this stuff.
Cue Louis Armstrong singing, What a Wonderful World.