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).
Animals Asia visits Malaysia's inspiring Dr Dog programme
In June 2007, Animals Asia signed an agreement with Sabrina Yeap of Furry Friends Farm, based just outside Kuala Lumpur, to start the Dr Dog programme in Malaysia. Jill Robinson and Mark Jones from Animals Asia visited Kuala Lumpur in March 2009 to see how they were getting on.
Getting the dog therapy programme off the ground has been a huge challenge for Sabrina and her team of dedicated volunteers, because in Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, dogs do not enjoy a high social status. However, through hard work and dedication, Sabrina and her team are slowly making inroads.
During our visit we were taken to Furry Friends Farm, a dog rescue centre set up by Sabrina in 2006 after she left the SPCA. The centre currently houses over 60 dogs, mostly mixed-breeds rescued from the streets of Kuala Lumpur by members of the public concerned about their welfare.
Dogs at Furry Friends Farm await feeding time.
Sabrina receives no government funding for the centre, relying instead on ongoing donations from the dogs' rescuers who are encouraged to pay a minimum of 1 ringgit (around US$0.25) per day towards upkeep.
Dogs receive a thorough health-check, and are vaccinated at one of Kuala Lumpur's private veterinary clinics, before arriving at the centre. The centre also has a policy of desexing all the dogs.
Rehoming rescued mixed-breed dogs is really difficult in Malaysia, although Sabrina has found homes for a number of her charges. The rest live well at Furry Friends Farm, receiving plenty of love and attention, good food, and a safe place to stay and make friends.
We were also honoured to be guests at a special Dr Dog visit to the Evergreen Shelter Home in Selangor, a residential home for disabled adults from poor families that cannot look after them. For the 30 residents at this inspiring home, the monthly Dr Dog visits represent a real highlight.
During this visit, Jewel, a very special three-legged dog rescued from the nooses of the city dog catchers by a kind Chinese family, was crowned as the third Furry Friends Farm Ambassador.
Jill gets in on the Dr Dog act.
The visit also marked the retirement from the Dr Dog programme of Dr Babe, one of the first dogs to pass the Dr Dog examination in Malaysia; owner Siew Siew was presented with a certificate to commemorate all their hard work.
Mr Poon Swee Hang, president of the Evergreen Shelter Home, explained how his residents responded positively to the Dr Dog visits, and how he hoped to organise more programmes with Furry Friends Farm in the future.
Several representatives from the Malaysian press and media were present for the visit, and a press conference was held in which Sabrina, supported by Jill and Mark, explained the work of Furry Friends Farm and the Dr Dog programme.
Animals Asia is really pleased to see Dr Dog developing in a positive way in Malaysia, helping people there begin to appreciate the value of dogs to society.
Sabrina is looking to develop partnerships that will help secure her financial situation and move her rescue centre and Dr Dog programme forward. We are proud to be one of those partners, and look forward to seeing Malaysia's Dr Dogs bringing canine compassion to more people in the future.
If you would like more information on Furry Friends Farm, visit their blog http://www.furryfriendsfarm2006.blogspot.com/
Furry Friends Farms third Ambassador Jewel and Sabrina Yeap accept a donation of rice from Evergreen Shelter Home president Poon Swee Hang.
Jill is interviewed at Furry Friends Farm.
Recently retired Dr Babe continues to give love and affection.
The monthly Dr Dog visits are a highlight for the residents of the Evergreen Shelter Home.