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Power bigger than barks and bites

By ZHANG LEI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-07-25 08:58
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Wu Qi (front in the above picture), the founder of Paw for Heal, poses for a group photo at the end of an animal-assisted therapy event in Shanghai.[Photo provided to China Daily]

This is a job that those who are ill-tempered and unruly should not apply for. For that reason, Bian Yunyun, a Shanghai dog owner, felt she was onto a good thing.

Her candidate for the job: Sara, 6, now a calm and well-disciplined Chinese dog that Bian rescued from straydom six years ago when she was less than a year old.

The job Bian had in mind for Sara was as a therapist, so she decided to sign her up for professional lessons at Paw For Heal, a therapy dog training program in Shanghai, about a year ago.

At the end of last year Sara graduated from Paw For Heal and has since become qualified to provide canine assisted therapy for individuals with physical, cognitive or emotional disabilities, such as children with autism and veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Now Bian finds the therapy training a great example of how a combination of innate talent and out-of-box ideas can reshape the relationship between human and our canine friends.

The founder of the Shanghai program, Wu Qi, 38, says: "We hope more people can show concern for vulnerable groups in society and help them, so we established the China Paw For Heal Therapeutic Dog Project eight years ago, letting dogs serve as a bridge between people and bringing warmth and love into their world.

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