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Dogs assist in activities to help those in need in China

(People's Daily Online)    15:44, December 26, 2019

(Xinhua file photo)

Everyone knows that dogs are able to guide the visually impaired, but did you ever imagine that they can serve as “doctors” for seniors, patients, physically challenged children or other groups that need help?

That is what’s happening in the three Chinese cities of Chengdu, Shenzhen and Guangzhou in the form of an animal-assisted adjuvant therapy called “Dr. Dog”. After the dogs pass relevant tests and meet qualifications in character and health, they can join voluntary activities with their owners to offer help and joy for those in need.

Dr. Dog was initiated by the founder of the Animals Asia Foundation in 1991, and officially started recruiting in Chinese mainland in 2004. So far, over 300 dogs have met its strict qualifications. However, there are only 100 to 120 dogs still working today since many of them have died or moved to other cities.

According to a staff member of the program surnamed Chen, around 30 to 40 dogs in each of the three cities register every year, and 30 percent are approved. Three to four activities are held monthly in each city.

It is reported that the number of dogs engaged in each activity varies according to the size of the place holding the events. For regular nursing homes that house around 10 seniors, about two “Dr. Dogs” are sent, and the numbers rise with larger venues.

Relevant staff members will obtain detailed information from the visiting volunteers before each activity, and guide the whole process to ensure everyone’s safety.

Chen explained that apart from being “Dr. Dogs”, puppies also act as “Prof. Dogs” at kindergartens, primary and secondary schools and universities, assisting staff members of the projects to teach lessons on animal protection.

By the end of 2018, the program had made 6,140 visits, offering joy and warmth to over 540,000 people in 620 organizations.  

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)

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