320 Hong Kong Children Graduate as Official Pet Cadets!
Pet Cadets Graduate!
Prof. Paws at work!
The playground at Lok Sin Tong Primary school echoed with excited laughter and enthusiastic barks on Saturday April 23rd as the school played host to Animals Asia's first ever Professor Paws Educational Fun Day. 320 primary school children, half from Lok Sin Tong itself and the other half from HK Social Welfare Foster Care Homes, gathered together to learn about caring for animals, and who better to teach them than the animals themselves - 32 special dog professors to be precise!
With the help of 52 secondary school volunteers from the Lok Sin Tong group and 32 corporate volunteers, the children were divided into different teams representing wild animals and pet animals and each given a special pack, which included a Professor Paws folder, sticker, leaflet, worksheets and Dr. Eddie T-shirt. The children then embarked on a fun-filled day of interactive activities specially designed to promote our message of love for all animals.
The Professors ranged from a tiny little Pekingnese called Rita to a huge, gentle St. Bernard called Sheila, and all of them managed to delight their pupils within moments of meeting them. Socially withdrawn children became animated, whilst children with behavioural difficulties from foster care homes softened as they learned how to brush and feed their Professors. Motivated by the presence of the dogs, the worksheets for each activity were completed in record time, as children crowded around their Professor to find out how people and animals share many of the same likes and dislikes, emotions and needs.
Learning the Pet Cadet song proved to be a challenge, but one which the children met with shy enthusiasm. As they barked, bounced and marched, they soon mastered the words and actions and were ready to perform in the hall in no time at all. The noise was almost deafening as the chinchillas, rabbits, cats and other pet teams narrowly beat the elephants, kangaroos, sharks and other wild animal teams in the Pet Cadet Song competition!
Following the song, the children sat down to watch "Dr. Eddie: Friend…or Food?" - an educational VCD produced by Animals Asia which tells the story of Eddie, a rescued market dog who was brought back to HK as an ambassador for the Dr. Dog programme. The film was a poignant reminder of why dogs need our help and inspired the children to create colourful Pet Cadet Promise cards declaring their love for dogs, encouraging people never to abandon animals and vowing to help give a voice to dogs and other animals in need.
At the end of an unforgettable day, proudly waving their Pet Cadet Certificates of Achievement and photograph of their Professor, an entire hall of children placed a hand on their heart and promised to "Love all animals; help build a better world for animals; and teach others to be kind to animals." As the first programme of its kind in Hong Kong, Saturday's event proved that the Professor Paws programme really does have the power to foster a new generation of caring citizens, whilst giving dogs across Asia a much-needed voice.