Animals are like sunshine in a dark world, shining upon us with the warmth and light of life.
On the other hand, some children and families are still living in the shadows
due to various reasons.
Can animals shine on them too！
Paws Hero X HKAATA
Paws Hero is collaborating with Hong Kong Assisted Animal Therapy Association (HKAATA) to organise the “Walking Together” programme to subsidize animal assisted therapy for children and young people in need. The therapy programme aims to provide tailor-made professional support through animal assisted therapy for emotionally challenged children and adolescents, or those with learning difficulties, but lack the financial means to seek professional help.
Paws Hero believes that human and animals are each other’s heroes, coexisting with love and living together in a better way through mutual support. This belief aligns with the objectives of HKAATA’s animal assisted therapy programme. Through helping young people and families in need with the help from our animal heroes, they could heal through building connections with each other and learn to grow in a healthy and positive way.
Period : 1 Dec 2021 to 31 Dec 2022
1. Children and young people aged 3-20
2. Low-income families /CSSA recipients (Type 1) or
3. More than one child in the family assessed with special education needs or emotional difficulties (such as anxiety or depression etc.) (Type 2)
4. Children/adolescent assessed with special education needs or emotional difficulties (such as anxiety or depression)
5. Children/adolescent assessed by HKAATA social workers as suitable recipients of the therapy
Partnering with animals
Many people think that animal assisted therapy is just about bringing people to play and pat the dogs and animals. On the contrary, the therapy is a professional and recognised high-standard intervention model. Professional animal assisted therapists are required to obtain in-depth understanding of the clients’ background, needs and aims of the therapy in order to design the intervention programme.
If you believe that animals are our heroes, angels and partners, and want to help those challenged children, youngsters and families so that they can meet and grow together positively with our furry friends, please donate and support us! Your donation will give these low-income families the opportunity to receive valuable animal assisted therapy sessions.
A Heart-warming Cure
What is my child thinking?
My son can get agitated easily and often ended up in fighting. Even at a young age he would hit teachers and classmates. But he really loves dogs and after about 10 sessions of AAT, he became much calmer and is more willing to share with his feelings and happenings in school, and also seldom hits people anymore.
We later found out that his temper was related to our attitudes. We thought we understand him well but in fact we don’t at all. We are really grateful for the help from the AAT therapist and the therapy dog. They helped my son to relieve his anger and build confidence, and communicated with us all the way so that we could really get inside my child’s inner world.
(Mrs Yu, parent)
Open your mind
Dogs are human’s best friends. For those children who can’t speak their minds and feelings freely, animal assisted therapy can perhaps do the magic. Under the guidance of the therapist and the therapy dog, the children will feel safer and calmer. Through group activities, they can also learn to interact with other people and help them with their development and growth. Watching their transformation is perhaps the greatest joy for teachers and parents alike.
Many children are very quiet and afraid of being in contact with strangers. They may have a lot of hidden anxieties and do not know how to seek help. Through interacting with the therapy dogs, they begin to open up themselves. With other professional support and techniques, the therapists can help minimize their negative thoughts and feelings and help them grow.
Through animal assisted therapy, a very quiet boy whom the teacher could never hear his voice began to speak up; another one who could not adapt to new environment and vomited and cried in school everyday began to calm down and enjoy primary school life with new friends; and another boy who used to only live in his own world with no interaction with the outside world began to realise the existence of other people and things, and he is no longer all by himself.
AAT may not work for every problem child, but it may be one of the most effective ways for many.
(Po On Commercial Association Wan Ho Kan Primary School, Special Needs Education Coordinator, Ms Tong)