Spread Some Puppy Love by Volunteering with your Dog

Find the inspiration to give back with the help of your own pup

‘Tis the season for giving. The holiday season is here and with it, comes inspiration to give back to others. And like most things in life, it’s always easier when you’ve got a buddy to do it with. But did you ever think about teaming up with your furry friend to become a volunteer duo? Here are some ways you and your pup can begin reaching out to others – any time of the year.

Dog Assisted Therapy
The wagging tail. The adoring gaze. The happy dance when you walk through the door. These simple doggie delights are just a few ways your pup makes you smile each day. Why not share that happiness with others who could use it?

Hubby, my pup, Pinot, and I volunteered with Therapy Dogs Singapore for a few years and witnessed first-hand the benefits of dog assisted therapy – from simply putting a smile on someone’s face to encouraging social interactions, motivating patients to do their physiotherapy, and even improving the patient’s mobility. It made my heart all warm and gooey knowing that my four-legged family member could make such an impact in someone else’s life.

Pinot working to help a patient improve their motor skills

Pinot working to help a patient improve their motor skills

If your dog is friendly, well-behaved, calm, patient, and loves people (and if you tick those boxes too!), you may have all the makings of an excellent therapy team. All your dog needs to do is pass a temperament test and a health check, and then you’re both on your way to spreading the love.

Therapy Dogs Singapore and Healing Paws work with a number of different beneficiaries so if your pup has a knack with children or maybe he prefers the company of the elderly, there’s an institution to suit everyone’s interest.

Blood Donation
Your dog is a hero to you every day, just for being in your life, but he can also be a hero to others by saving another dog’s life. Just like humans, pets can suffer from life-threatening illnesses that may require a blood transfusion. That’s where your pup comes in. He can give the gift of blood to help a fellow furry companion and save a life.

Just as with humans, there is often a shortage of blood supply for pets. In fact, there is no animal blood bank in Singapore so blood donations are usually sought out by distraught pet owners themselves who put out desperate pleas on social media.

Resting after a hard days work

Resting after a hard days work

However, more recently, registries and databases that provide a list of donors in the event a blood transfusion is needed are being set up by more veterinary clinics – Mount Pleasant Veterinary Group launched Singapore’s first official blood donor registry for dogs (and cats) in April 2016 for its clients; and by groups like Golden Retriever Club Singapore. But more donors are always needed.

For doggie blood donations, speak to your veterinarian to find out more about what’s involved and to see if your pup is a good candidate.

Fostering
What can be more fulfilling than knowing you and your dog were part of a homeless dog’s journey to finding a home with a new adoptive family? Many rescue dogs at animal shelters need a little socialising or just some time to recover from an illness before they can be adopted out to a loving home. You and your darling can help these pets-in-training transition to a forever home by temporarily taking them in and showing them the ropes.

Pinot keeping a patient company

Pinot keeping a patient company

For the dog, the benefits of being in a foster home are obvious: the safety of a home; the warmth of a bed; the gentle touch of a hand; and the love of a human. And for the fosterer, it’s rewarding to watch a dog grow in confidence; to learn to trust; to regain health; and to learn some essential skills of socialisation and training. There’s also the knowledge that you helped save a life as fostering makes room in shelters for more animals to be helped.

Check with these local rescue organisations for fostering opportunities.

Fundraising Events
Here’s one where you can spend time having fun with your canine buddy – all for a good cause. Rescue organisations often raise money by holding events that include your pup – everything from dog walks and runs, to tea parties and Christmas dinners. SPCA recently held their Paws for Cause charity event in Bishan Park which included a 3km walk with your furry friend to raise funds for their animal welfare work.

The starting line of the ASD Buddy Race

The starting line of the ASD Buddy Race

Other rescue organisations, such as, Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD), Causes for Animals Singapore (CAS), and Animal Lovers League (ALL), hold annual flag day fundraising events. With your pup by your side when you hit the streets with a tin in hand, you’re bound to collect more donations.

Keep an eye out for announcements on up-coming events from local rescue organisations.

 

Images by Judy Chow

Judy Chow is an Aussie who has spent almost 20 years in Asia and dreams of living on a vineyard in Tuscany one day. She currently lives in Singapore with her hubby and adopted dog, Pinot Grigio. Judy is passionate about dogs, travel, wine, yoga, skiing, and is an advocate of pet adoption.
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