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Professors bring furry fun to Shenzhen

I always love our Fun Days in China – and this was no exception with our Cat and Dog Welfare team rolling out the red carpet for Professor Paws Fun Day in Shenzhen!

This recent event not only celebrated the amazing role of our dog "educators" in schools in Guangdong, Chengdu and Shenzhen, but also the World Animal Day talent of all those who submitted photos for our China-wide contest, "Sharing Love With Them", highlighting their love and respect of companion animals. A steady stream of visitors came to see the exhibition throughout the day.

Held at the Baoneng All City Shopping Centre in Nanshan District of Shenzhen, the event was well under way by the time I arrived, with "parent-child" games, face painting, body stencils, and gorgeous Eddie there to greet the crowds. Of course the real Eddie was safe and sound at home in Hong Kong, but his enormous fluffy namesake was certainly exciting the children – and engaging adults with the tale (no pun intended) of his miraculous rescue all those years ago in 2002 from a live animal market in Guangzhou.

A flurry of speeches, awards and thanks – especially to the Baoneng All City Shopping Centre, Qianhai Branch of Standard Chartered Bank, Monkey See Monkey Do Arts Studio, Lovers Pet Food, Starbucks and the volunteers from Shenzhen Polytechnic and Shenzhen Tourism College of Jinan University.

One of the highlights for me was to see a student group with the slogan "Say NO to cat and dog meat" emblazoned on their T-shirts, making the point abundantly clear. Part of a youth environment group, they had designed the T-shirts themselves, and spoke passionately to the Chinese media with bold statements, including "I promise never to eat dog and cat meat.".

The World Animal Day winners were so incredibly worthy of their prizes, with their beautiful images of dogs and cats in both happy and sombre situations. Here are the five top winners:

The message, as always, was that we have to step up as a society and treat these animals who share our lives so much better. Dogs, especially, live – and lose – their lives to help ours the world over, and yet are often treated so despicably. To make the point, our beautiful Professor Paws ambassadors and their loving volunteer owners were out in force, enjoying the adoration of the media and crowd, and showing, once again, how the species of dogs has earned the right to be our friends, rather than food.

Grateful thanks, as always to our fabulous Animals Asia team who organised and attended the day and especially to Irene, Carrot, Yan, Rachel and Jessica.

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