Heartbeat: Paws to help

Heartbeat: Paws to help

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Lau Wing-yan
Lau Wing-yan
While teenagers’ awareness of needy people may have been raised, it took a while before they started to do something to contribute to the community. Lau Wing-yan is one of them.

Wing-yan, 18, holds firmly to the belief that love knows no boundaries and that we are supposed to show our care towards both men and animals. As a dog lover, she has observed that while there are myriad less fortunate people, many dogs, abandoned by their owners, desperately need help too. There are hundreds of them in dog shelters other than those of the SPCA, and they struggle to survive every day because of the insufficient amount of employees and the lack of resources. Wing-yan dedicated her summer vacation and started to work as a volunteer at a dog shelter in Yuen Long every Wednesday.

Being a volunteer at a dog shelter isn't an easy job, as there were only about three full-time staff members. Volunteers have to work under the sun, wash the dogs, and pick the lice off their fur. Delousing was difficult at first; as she had to search over every part of each dog, then pluck the lice with tweezers. Wing-yan was scared of the bugs at first, but her determination to save the dogs helped her to overcome that fear. She knew that if the lice went into the dogs’ ears, they’d get into their brains and pose a threat to the dogs’ lives. As manpower and facilities at non-SPCA dog shelters are lacking, without the help of volunteers such as Wing-yan, many dogs would never have the chance to be cleaned or have their lice removed.

Apart from helping the dogs, Wing-yan gained some unforgettable memories from volunteering. She began to build a friendly relationship with a dog that she often cleaned, as it started to recognise her after a few visits. Once, Wing-yan went abroad and didn’t show up at the dog shelter for two weeks. However, when she got back the next Wednesday to continue her work, the dog rushed towards her and wagged its tail, as if to greet her like in a movie scene in which the dog sees its long-lost owner. Such was the moment when Wing-yan was glad she had decided to spare no effort in volunteering for the stray dogs.

When asked for any advice she’d like to give young people, Wing-yan encouraged them that while showing care for people who are less fortunate is important, they should not forget to give a helping hand to the hundreds of sick dogs in shelters whose lives are at stake. “All you need to do is to give some help and care towards them, because it could make a big difference to their lives,” Wing-yan said. It’s very true: it’s important to relate to all those in need, whether they’re animals or people.

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