years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
2011 marked a very special year for Dr Dog the 20th anniversary of its launch by Jill Robinson with just one dog, Dr Max, one hospital, The Duchess of Kent Children's Hospital and one patient. It is particularly meaningful for a great number of our Dr Dog volunteers, and many organizations in Hong Kong that have been our partners through the years.
On 15 October, around 300 people from different communities in Hong Kong, ranging from preschoolers to seniors, and 70 of our Dr Dogs, gathered to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Dr Dog in conjunction with World Animal Day and our annual Dog Devotion Awards. The Sky Drome Atrium, at Discovery Park Shopping Centre, Tsuen Wan, was buzzing with dogs, people, and representatives from the organizations that we serve.
Also included were the very dedicated and committed government dogs and their handlers from various Hong Kong government departments: the AFCD (Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Dept.), the Correctional Service, the FEHD (Food, Environmental and Hygiene Dept.) and the Fire Services and Police Dog teams.
The event kicked off with face painting, photo-shoots with our wonderful and popular Dr Dogs and government dogs, and an exhibition of 120 award winning photos from our World Animal Day photo competition. With the event open to the public, it was encouraging to see family groups eager to get involved and find out about Dr Dog and the tasks performed by the government dogs.
The opening ceremony began with an emotional and dynamic recap from Jill Robinson on the past 20 years of Dr Dog and how animal welfare has evolved in Hong Kong and Asia.
The AFCD dogs demonstrated the art of wildlife detection, with Maggie, Monchu and Zane displaying their sniffing skills and detecting the hidden objects. Thanks to students from Tsang Mui Millennium School for assisting with this demonstration.
Both Maggie and Monchu were originally abandoned before being selected from the SPCA and AFCD kennels respectively to be trained and join the surveillance team. Abandoned at eight years old, Monchu has become an ambassador for other dogs as well as attending to her onerous duties along with her handler, Mr Chung.
The Diamond Award was presented to Dr Cha Cha for his third consecutive year. Dr Cha Cha has been a wonderful ambassador both as a Dr Dog and Professor Paws and has accumulated a record of more than 60 visits a year to all different kinds of organizations bringing animal therapy to people in need.
The 2nd Chance award honoured 2 dogs , Dr Waltz and Dr Goldie , who, despite a rough start early in life, were adopted and given a second chance by their guardians. They are great examples of beautiful dogs that help to give back to our community .
Other awards include: the Posthumous Award, Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards for our most dedicated dogs, as well as the Outstanding Teaching Volunteers Awards and the Outstanding Professor Paws award.
Professor Dougal, a rescue dog now happily homed with Maria Fan, was this year's Outstanding Professor Paws.
Long Service Award: It was great to have the support of the organizations we work with, and to see the parents, students and teachers come along to congratulate some of our Dr Dogs for their dedicated services. Thank you to the Heep Hong Society and Ebenezer School for the Blind for turning out in such great numbers.
This year the Ma On Shan Ling Liang School young cadets sang the Care Cadet Song and also enlightened us in a short speech in English about what they have learnt from our Professor Paws programme.
World Animal Day 2011
To celebrate World Animal Day this year, Hong Kong joined our mainland China annual online photo contest, "Sharing love with them", inviting people to share photos of their companion animals.
We were delighted to have so many great quality entries from Hong Kong. The award presentation was introduced through sign language by students from the Hong Chi Mary Cheung School.
We would like to thank everybody who helped make this event such a great success:
HKYWCA Cheng Pon Hing Care and Attention Home for the Elderly
The Duchess of Kent Children's Hospital
Ebenezer School for the Blind
Chinese Zion Church Youth Centre
Fanling Assembly of God Kindergarten
Heep Hong Society
Hong Chi Mary Cheung School
Ma on Shan Ling Liang School
Princess Margaret Hospitals
Tsang Mui Millennium School
Hong Kong Auxiliary Police and the wonderful dog teams from the different government departments.
Huge thanks also to our wonderful VIPs Mr. Ken Chan, Ms Maria Cordero's wonderful troupe, Mr. German Ku, our very own Honorary Director Ms Gigi Fu, plus the two wonderful MCs, Esther and Vincent.
Thanks also to Dr David Burrows and Mr. Chow Chi Ming, young Chung Chung and dedicated nursing officer Ms Amy Chan, and to Discovery Park shopping centre for generously supporting us with the venue.
Last but not least, let us not forget to mention our wonderful dog guardians and their lovely four-legged companions, who can be seen here congratulating Dr Dog on its anniversary and wishing all a Happy World Animal Day.