Behind the scenes with our Cat and Dog teams and their canine sidekicks!

30 April 2021

As a supporter of Animals Asia you probably know about our work with bears! However, you might be less aware of the work we do with cats and dogs and other companion animals in Asia.

But this is all about to change!

Today, we’re going to visit our paw-esome Cat and Dog Welfare teams in China and Hong Kong SAR, who work incredibly hard to improve the lives of thousands of ‘pets’, or ‘companion animals’. So let’s dive in and find out what they’ve been up to so far this year.

Education, education, education!

A huge part of our team’s mission is to change the lives of cats and dogs and other companion animals through - you guessed it - education! 

The teams regularly visit schools and hold public outreach sessions to raise awareness of responsible pet care, rabies prevention and to encourage people to adopt rather than buy companion animals. 

The Covid-19 pandemic meant our teams couldn't carry out their regular activities, as Karina O’Carroll, Animal Welfare Education Manage explained: “despite the turmoil and having to adapt and adjust to lockdowns and the closure of most of our regular venues, our programmes continued, with staff and volunteers providing online 'visits' and continuing to bring joy, hope and comfort to those in need.”

Over the winter break, the China team recruited 122 university students to raise awareness of rabies in local communities and talk to people about the importance of getting their dogs vaccinated.

The tenacious team covered a whopping 14 cities, 61 counties, 113 towns and 143 villages, completing over 2,500 questionnaires and handing out almost 20,000 leaflets. Phew!

Working with children and animals!

As if that’s not enough, the teams also managed to squeeze in 23 physical and virtual visits to local primary and secondary schools to deliver our established Professor Paws programme. The sessions aim to raise awareness of animal sentience, something children seem to inherently understand.

Karina explained, “Professor Paws has some exciting new materials in the works, to extend learning beyond our visits and encourage empathy and compassion for all life that we share our planet with.” 

Counsellor Cats and Doctor Dogs

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy…” Bern Williams.

Anyone who has shared their life with a dog or cat, particularly over the past 12 months, knows just how much joy, support and unconditional love our furry friends give us.

Our teams deliver the well-established Dr Dog programme where we take well behaved dogs into nursing homes and hospitals to offer companionship to the residents and patients.

This year they have visited (virtually and in person) 44 venues and brought joy to the residents and the staff wherever they went! As Karina continues, “we can't wait to see our wonderful dogs and their equally wonderful owners, bringing smiles and laughter back to so many people” as it’s when we can touch and hold the dogs that the magic really happens.

Rescue is our favourite breed

Another big part of our companion animal team’s work is supporting local shelters and rescue centres. 

Suki Deng, China Cat and Dog Welfare Director told us, “so far this year, our team here in China has fed 900 stray cats, neutered and returned 13 stray cats, vaccinated over 30 rescue dogs and supported the rescue of 15 Ragdoll cats who had been used for breeding.” 

“Without the generous support of compassionate people around the world, we wouldn’t be able to help as many animals or shelters as we do.”

“For example, this year we’ve already visited four cat and dog shelters who are in desperate need of support, and we are so pleased that we can help them.”

A New Year’s miracle

Members of the bear and vet team at our Chengdu bear sanctuary were taking a New Year’s Eve stroll when they happened upon a shaking, emaciated and exhausted puppy. They gently coaxed the pup - who they named Syne - to come with them, then they rushed her back to the sanctuary.

Poor Syne was riddled with mites and was super skinny. After giving her lots of baths, medicine, good food and a whole lot of love, she was soon a picture of health. After a couple of weeks she moved in with her foster mum where she is patiently awaiting her fur-ever home.

Karina concludes, “Many people have been severely impacted by the worldwide pandemic mentally, physically and emotionally, and we need to take care of each other more than ever. Through our education and animal therapy programmes, our team continues to share the messages of overcoming adversity, caring for one another and being kind to all life.”

Keep checking our social media sites for updates on the incredible work of our brilliant teams in Hong Kong SAR and mainland China, and if you would like to help improve the lives of companion animals in Asia, please consider becoming a monthly donor today.

Woof, woof! Thank you :)

Read more:

Behind the scenes at our bear sanctuary in China

Animals Asia’s Cat and Dog Welfare programs

Professor Paws and Doctor Dog in action

How therapy dogs change lives

Cat and Dog welfare film and posters shown in Chinese metro