Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I am Going to School!

For those who have missed me, I am so sorry for not updating you on my adventures. The rain has finally stopped and I am out and about in the sun! I have many stories to share with you all, but let me first start by telling you that I have just enrolled in the “Doctor Dog” program and I will be starting school in the middle of the month.

The Taiwan Dr. Dog (台灣狗醫生) program was first established in 1999 by Ms Shirley Chen with the help from Animals Asia Foundation in Hong Kong. It provides visiting services for the elderly, mentally challenged patients as well as physically challenged or autistic children.

Here are some information I got from the Dr. Dog website.

The two goals of Taiwan Dr. Dog are:

  • To provide those in need with social contacts, motivation to regain physical strength, aids to therapy sessions and opportunities to connect with man's best friends, our pet dogs.
  • To educate the society as a whole to recognize the significance of animal companions to men and to show respect for any living life by promoting animal rights and animal welfare, and hence helping to resolve the stray animal problems.
Studies have shown that keeping close contacts with animals brings many positive physical and psychological effects. British and Australian studies have also shown that animal-assisted therapy can help patients to temporarily forget their suffering, relieve their feeling of loneliness, and improve their confidence.

All dogs must go through a strict screening and vigorous training process to become a Dr. Dog. They have to pass the health and hygiene examination, obedience training evaluation and the “Dr. Dog Screening Test” which is a therapy dog screening test adopted from the Delta Society.

The Screening Test focuses on testing the dog's overall stability in all conditions as well as how the dog behaves around other dogs and people. After the dogs pass all the screening tests, their owners are required to finish therapy dog handler workshops and hands-on practical training before the owner-dog teams are certified as Dr. Dog team volunteers.

The obedience training comes in 3 stages, Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. It sounds a lot like the CGC (Canine Good Citizen) classes that my friends in The States go to. The entire process takes about four months and I heard that the passing rate is very low, but I promise I will put my best paw forward. I have heard many amazing and heart warming stories about Dr. Dogs at work and I will be sharing more about the program once I start school, so watch this space!

If you are interested in volunteering for a good cause and sharing the joy of your dog with others, I urge you to sign up for a similar therapy dog program in your country, I am sure you will find it very rewarding. Here is a picture of the future "Dr. Dino". Hee Hee!


Amber-Mae said...

Oh, that's wonderful news! The Dr.Dog program is on in Malaysia too but they're only accepting mongrels & mixed breeds. They say that they will be accepting pedigrees soon becoz there's not much mongrels & mixed breeds in the program. I'm sure you'll be a good candidate! My sistas & I have went to a disabled people's home before & we had a great time. I tell you, the people there are the MOST bootiful people we've ever met eventhough they're were mentally & physically challenged. They were very gentle & sweet...Would love to go back there one day. They really loved us a lot!

Love licks,
Solid Gold Dancer

Anonymous said...

Dino, I think you could probably skip a stage or two at school, because you already know so much. You are such a smartee pup and now you are going to be a doctor. WOW. That must make you mom and dad soooo proud. A visit from Dr. Dino would make any patient feel a whole lot better. I hope you will share some of your experiences at school and in your future work.