During Challenge Week, we visited and helped two animal welfare organizations in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Dog Rescue (HKDR) and Hong Kong Paws. We assisted HKDR with their annual sponsored fundraising event, cleaned dog kennels, groomed and washed dogs. We attended educational workshops on animal rights and learnt how to socialize with dogs.
Taking care of the dogs in the kennels wasn’t as easy as I thought. We went to the HKDR dog kennels in Tai Po, where large, unwanted dogs were kept and looked after. Once we entered, the concentrated scent of urine filled the air; four hundred gigantic dogs in the kennels barked at us and I was terrified. The senior volunteers let us walk the dogs, as the dogs need regular exercise. I had difficulty controlling the dog at first and it was like a tug-of-war the whole time. Then the volunteers showed me how to walk the dogs using a “short leash” method to guide the dog’s movements and I was much better with handling dogs. We also helped wash dog bowls and dog collars.
Throughout this trip, we also learnt more about how dogs were being mistreated. We attended an educational workshop where we discussed animal rights. I was shocked by how businessmen abuse dogs to make profit by locking up dogs in small cages in an unpleasant environment. The dogs weren’t treated when they have diseases, weren’t allowed to move around as they were kept in cages, and weren’t fed properly. Some even had their vocal cords cut to prevent them from making noise. I was shocked to find out that many pet shops inject drugs into puppies to make them more energetic and lively to increase their chances of being sold.
The most valuable aspect of the trip was overcoming my fear of dogs. On the first day, when we helped Hong Kong Paws advocate adoption benefits to Discovery Bay residents, I was quite scared of dogs. Most of the time, I had a difficult time controlling the dog and was led by the dog, not the other way around! But compared to the last day of the trip, I was able to walk a dog myself and was in full control of the dog. I am now very confident with touching, and even hugging dogs. Overall, the trip was challenging yet meaningful as I now understand more about dogs’ behavior and overcome my fear of dogs was the most memorable and happiest part of this trip.
Alvis Lee (11D)