Professor Paws launches in mainland China!

It’s nice to stop for a breath to write the blog as these past few days have been crazy beyond all belief. Last week saw our launch of Professor Paws in Guangzhou - the dog and cat eating capital of China(!) - where about 90 nine year olds enjoyed a unique way of learning at the paws of our newly recruited canine teachers.

On a sunny afternoon at Wan Song Yuan Primary School, the headmistress Ms Zhou Su Ying kicked off the proceedings in front of a barrage of Chinese media by talking about how much we must all love and respect the animals that share our lives.

She had the children shouting out the most amazing responses of why dogs and cats deserve better in our world and what they can do in their day to day lives to help them.

Small wonder that when the dogs were finally brought out into the classroom the children were just about popping with excitement. The atmosphere was electric as they queued up to offer their new "teachers" the backs of their hands to sniff (in a formal first introduction to check that the pre-screened dogs were "safe") before gently patting heads and shaking paws enthusiastically offered by four of the most gorgeous and patient ambassadors you've ever seen.

It was such an emotional time, especially remembering that just a few miles away the notorious and horrible live animal markets were heaving with equally loving and intelligent dogs who were being slaughtered as food for the table.

My spirits were lifted time and time again however, looking at these budding animal welfarists and future leaders who might one day be responsible for creating a harmonious world where dogs and cats can walk the streets of China without fear.

Here are some photos from the day. Mr Ma introduces his best friend, Mao Mao, to two little girls:

A little boy brushes Ka Ka as his guardian Ms Sun offers a guiding hand:

And here, Miss Lian and I talk to the children about caring for dogs like Professor Sunny:

My only regret was that the original founder of Professor Paws in Hong Kong, Anneleise Smillie, wasn't there to share the day. Now back in the UK, she would have been so proud to have been there seeing the children screaming at the top of their lungs "Wo Ai Gou Gou"!! (We love dogs). I know that for Anneleise, and for me personally, this programme now launched in Guangzhou is a dream come true where hopefully it will grow and flourish, earning dogs and cats their rightful place in our lives as our friends....not food.

Grateful thanks to our own Christie, Irene and the incredible volunteers who led the day and gave us more hope that the tide is turning for companion animals in China.

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