The company of animals can have far-reaching health benefits for children, Karina O’Carroll, one of Sai Kung’s leading animal welfare activists, said. Research has shown that dogs can help improve the learning skills of children in a fun manner.
Karina said close interaction with dogs increases self-confidence and social behaviour among students, while encouraging compassion and widening their experience. Reading becomes an enjoyable activity as dogs are an adoring non-critical audience. Children are more motivated to learn and look forward to school.
Animals Asia Foundation’s Professor Paws programme aims to develop the English skills of local children, while inspiring kindness for animals and promoting the ways companion animals can enrich our lives.
Children joining the Professor Paws Care Cadet Programme take part in four lessons with visiting Dr Dogs and English-speaking volunteers. Children work for “Professor Paws Care Cadet” Certificates of Achievement. “We also do school presentations on our work rescuing moonbears and helping other animals in need,” Karina said.
Animals Asia’s Dr Dog programme sees therapy dogs and their owners visiting hospitals, homes for the elderly, disabled centres, orphanages and schools, spreading comfort to thousands of people.
In Hong Kong and three mainland cities, these four-legged ambassadors are changing attitudes, “promoting animal welfare through people welfare. We believe that empathy for one animal can lead to empathy and better treatment for all animals.”
Karina, a Wong Chuk Wan resident and manager at Animals Asia, said their programmes rely on donations. If you would like to organise a visit to your child’s school or donate towards the cost of the visits, email firstname.lastname@example.org