Little Gideon (now Dr Gideon) shows what a gentle soul he is during the rigorous examination.
Anna and Jill are impressed with Babe’s calm and placid nature – another Dr Dog graduate.
Our Dr Dog programme has now been extended to Malaysia, through our representatives, Furry Friends Farm (FFF), an animal shelter in Kundang, Selangor, run by Sabrina Yeap.
Early in 2007, we invited FFF member Paul Cheong and Malaysian veterinary surgeon Dr Foo Lih Reng to Hong Kong to learn about our programme. The two spent six days training under the guidance of our Dr Dog team, going on numerous visits to hospitals, elderly people’s homes and children’s homes. They also learned about the rigorous selection process needed to ensure that only placid, content dogs qualify for the programme.
Following their visit, Jill and our consultant, Anna McLaughlin, attended the fun-filled summer 2007 launch in Central Park, in Bandar Utama. The event, which included a children’s art competition and a musical play by the renowned Operafest Children’s Choir, attracted lots of media attention.
There was also a parade of “furry kids” – children dressed up as animals – and the launch of FFF’s official logo and the Dr Dog logo.
Jill, Anna and FFF’s Paul examined potential Dr Dogs, to ensure they had the right temperament for the programme. Eleven dogs and their owners came along to a nearby shopping centre to volunteer for the programme. Two dogs (Gideon and Babe) passed the rigorous examination with flying colours and both breezed through their first Kuala Lumpur visits the next day. Babe, a lovely black and tan boy, totally charmed the residents of an elderly people’s home on Old Klang Road, and sweet, little Gideon, was a huge hit at Taman Tan Yew Lai, a home for children who are either orphaned or from broken homes.
Babe’s owner, Siu Siu, was clearly enjoying her new role – sitting on the floor chatting with the elderly men and women and making them feel comfortable. We are also thrilled to have Gideon’s owner, freelance reporter Shoba Mano (and husband Joshua), join the programme. Gideon, bless his heart, is scheduled to do only a few more visits as he’s not as young as he used to be and should be retired soon. But this lovely old fellow certainly seemed to be enjoying his first visit as did the happy recipients of his unconditional love.
Sabrina, who is a former animal inspector with SPCA, has witnessed much discrimination against cross-breeds, especially strays, over her years in animal welfare. For this reason, she is inviting only mixed-breed dogs to participate in the programme, as she hopes to show Malaysians that mixed-breeds can be just as loving, loyal and devoted as pure-breeds.
The launch could not have come at a better time, with reports of dog-eating on Malaysian construction sites increasing by the day.
We would like to offer our special thanks to Ms Kam Sun-Yoke, whose support has been invaluable. Among much other behind-the-scenes work, she organised the fabulous children’s choir that sang at the launch.