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Some special visitors from Sweden

What a fabulous time we had with our friends from Sweden's Animal Protection Network – Monica, Milla and Ulrika – who bounced off the plane in Hong Kong and straight into a Dr Dog visit organised by Marnie and team at Shatin Hospital.

With swine flu at the forefront of everyone’s minds in the hospital community, face masks were the order of the day for visitors, but this didn't stop anyone from having a whole lot of fun throughout the morning – least of all our Dr Dog ambassadors, Kelly and Maisie (who came along with proud owner Alice) and our rescued market dog, “King” Eddie, as Marnie refers to him now in respect of his attitude that the day is all about him. 

The girls from Sweden chatted to nurses and patients in a warm and friendly atmosphere as Eddie and friends sat on laps, rolled over for tummy tickles and left everyone in no doubt what animal therapy was all about. 

One patient in particular adored the dogs – Mr Chiu who tragically has end-stage lung cancer and is also dealing with the sudden death of his dearly beloved wife. 

Such a kind and friendly man who grinned from ear to ear the whole time Eddie sat by his side, Mr Chiu couldn't help reaching out time and time again and scratching Eddie's ears – and I knew it was for people like him that Dr Dog was born. 

The next day, Milla, Monica and Ulrika joined me on the flight to Chengdu where they would at last meet the bears and see how their very generous donations had been spent. The days rushed by as the girls got to know our staff and bears and met rescued earthquake dogs, Richter and Tremor.

Tremor joined us on all of the walks around the sanctuary, completely unfazed by the bears who came over for a friendly sniff, clearly fascinated by this little golden “bear” in their midst. 

Ulrika had a picture taken outside “her” bear den in House 2 and met all the residents – including Jasper, of course, who graciously accepted some fruit she offered before tearing out to enjoy a swim. 

Monica, Milla and Ulrika thank you, and Anna and all from Sweden for being such a big part of the Moon Bear Rescue project – for your tears, your laughter and your great company on site. Where would we be without people like you? 

PS: Just before they left, Monica took this wonderful picture of Delaney (left) and Jasper playing the fool and showing how bears really do smile. No prizes for guessing why these charismatic, forgiving bears are loved by people all around the world.

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