|A resident patting SiDa. SiDa is a regular therapist at this Home|
That was the question posed to me. At that point in time, I wasn’t sure if my dogs were up to the job and neither was I sure if we (hubs and I) could keep to the commitment. But well we decided to give it a shot after being assured that our dogs merely need to be friendly and ok with strangers and touch.
|HAPPY, squished between happiness|
And that’s how we got started as we joined other volunteers and rescued dogs on their monthly visits to a home as therapy dogs.
|Lassy, being a good girl and bringing joy to the residents|
To be honest, it isn’t a walk in the park, particularly for the dogs who had to deal with the warm weather and human contact. And not all residents were comfortable with dogs and some even openly scolded us as we walked around with our dogs. And yet it is rewarding. When you see how the dog lovers amongst the residents visibly cheered up when they see us approaching.
|An ex-breeding dog, Tiny, on her very first pet therapy adventure|
The huge smiles that lit up their faces. And for those who are more senior and who seemed to have lost some mental ability, it’s like seeing a cloud being lifted off their minds momentarily as they patted and stroked the dogs. Many started to tell us stories of a dog they used to have at some point in their lives. What they used to feed their dogs and how smart their dogs were... it’s like you catch a glimpse of the senior in front of you during his or her younger (kampong) days. It’s these moments that made us feel the journey and the time spent was all worth it.
|Harper, another regular therapist|
Fast forward and we’ve been doing this monthly volunteering activity for almost a year (come Sep 19). It is a commitment indeed but one that’s well worth undertaking. It corrects the misconceptions that dogs are scary creatures and that your dog must be a certified therapy dog to get started.
|Little Ollie the butterfly boy|
As I finish this, it’s Friday night and tomorrow we are off to another pet therapy session again. Would you like to join us? 😊
|River, recently joined the ranks of the regular therapists|
Written by : Syn Hwei
Photographer: Simon & Mendel