Dr Dog Programme Going Strong in China

09 October 2019

Since January a whopping 64 new Dr Dogs have qualified for our team of canine consultants in Hong Kong SAR, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Nanning. One of the most recent recruits to join the ranks of the 1000+ Dr Dogs who have passed the rigorous entrance examinations is Pizza, who was certified in Guangzhou city in China a fortnight ago.

Pizza had been abused and abandoned by her former owner after the young dog wet the bed. Luckily she was later rescued by a Guangzhou local group Smiling Angel Animal Care Centre who helped to find her a new guardian; Ms Cao Cuiting. Ms Cao discovered that Pizza was such a tame and gentle dog that she could join the Dr Dog team to give others comfort, too.

Pizza and Ms Cao

Since the programme’s initiation in 1991, Animals Asia certified Dr Dogs have touched the lives of over 540,000 people at more than 6,000 events and worked with around 600 organizations in China. The pioneering animal-assisted therapy programme not only provides comfort and a furry friend for those most in need, it is also challenging beliefs and changing lives for animals.

Suki Deng, Animal Asia’s China Cat and Dog Welfare Director said:

“The Dr Dog programme has been a real success from all angles. It’s not only great to see how Dr Dogs brighten the day of everyone they meet, but it’s also really heartening to witness how they’re changing attitudes and perceptions of canine companionship and fostering compassion towards animals more generally.”

Dr Dog exam in Chengdu

The Dr Dog outreach work spreads the understanding that animals have feelings, both physical and emotional, in places where the cruel trade in dogs (and cats) for their meat is still ongoing. By demonstrating that dogs are friends, not food, capable of love and kindness, we’re changing attitudes towards dogs and other animals.

In addition to the four mainland Chinese cities and Hong Kong SAR, Animals Asia has also introduced Dr Dog to Taiwan ROC, the Philippines, India, Japan and Malaysia by providing local animal-welfare groups with training and advice to run their own programmes independently.

Dr Dogs visit hospitals, homes for the elderly, disabled centres and orphanages. Our Professor Paws programme sees the registered therapy dogs visit local schools in China to help children overcome their fear of dogs, as well as to learn safety around dogs, responsible and gentle pet care and compassion for all animals, all of which is really important for kids.

Guangzhou Professor Paws Yuguo visits Chuntian Kindergarten

Children often begin the Professor Paws programme having had very little experience with  dogs and a fear of them, sometimes reinforced by families who tell them not to touch dogs because they are dirty or dangerous.

By the end of the sessions, most children have become firm friends with their furry professor and are delighted to be able to walk, brush and feed the dogs. Feedback from teachers indicates that, in the relaxed environment of Professor Paws classes, the students show more confidence and they learn while having loads of fun.

Animals Asia Founder and CEO Jill Robinson added:

“We’re delighted to welcome the new Dr Dog recruits as we know they’ll bring playful and judgement-free companionship to those in need, in ways only dogs can. The programme is having a really widespread impact as we’ve seeded the programme across the world and the work we’re doing with children really helps to lay the ground for generations of animal lovers to come.”

Now with the new Dr Dogs and Professor Paws recruits in China even more people will be able to share in the joys of a canine companion when they most need it.

Chengdu Dr Dog Moli visits SOS Orphanage House