I took the afternoon off on Monday 19 November because Moon and I were heading to NUS for a session of pet therapy! This is an adhoc visited organised by NUS for their stressed out students preparing for their exams. Apparently, this is “reading week” which is the preparation week before the finals.
I haven’t been to NUS for a long time so I followed the GPS on my phone religiously. Thankfully, we made it to the correct carpark. There were also student volunteers holding up huge signs that said “TDS” so that was very helpful as well.
We were told beforehand that the one-hour session would take place in an air-conditioned, carpeted lecture hall. Yes, CARPETED. Very brave of them, I say! I had a stern chat with Moon to please pee and poop before we enter the hall or else I wouldn’t know where to hide my face if she decides to do her business during the session.
Thankfully, there was a nice covered walkway with grass on both sides of it as we headed towards the venue at the Faculty of Science. This was perfect because Moon chose to erm, do her business, both small and big ones. Very good!
We made our way to LT23 and entered the hall. Students were being registered before streaming in. It was all very well organised and orderly. Right outside the venue was this sign which amused me no end:
Hur hur. I imagine ferocious snarling dogs ready to pounce on unsuspecting visitors 😉 I guess the sign was to warn non-participants that there would be the presence of dogs in the vicinity.
We were early so it was only Moon and Sniper, another fellow Mini Schnauzer. That didn’t stop them from getting down to “work”. Well, I have to add that treats were dished out so Moon was extremely motivated to play fetch!
Soon, the 2 dogs were surrounded by students eager to play and feed them treats. What’s there not to like?!
“Hand ’em treats over, humans!”
It is also sweet to watch Moon being friendly and affectionate with strangers. She happily licks anyone who allows her to! It was also gratifying to watch the students’ faces light up with big smiles as they interacted with the dogs. And if you look carefully, Moon’s tail is blurred because it is always on “wagging” mode.
Soon, more therapy dogs arrived and so did more students. Before long, the front of the lecture theatre was filled with happy laughter and the occasional squeal as the session got underway.
Moon was busy sniffing every dog and human that came through the door. Other dogs were being cuddled and everyone was using their phones to snap pictures.
The furry lion-like dog you see above is Chou Chou (she has her own Facebook page too!). She’s always the star attraction whenever she walks into a room because she’s SO FLUFFAY!!!!! Also, she is very well-behaved and spends a lot of time being docile and calm.
Most of the dogs were off leash (not usual!) but I never have to worry about Moon wandering off because she will always be the one looking out for me instead. This is one of my favourite pictures from the afternoon. I was a few rows behind Moon and she couldn’t see me at first. This was her face when she finally spotted me:
“Oh there you are!!”
“Did someone say TREATS?”
Towards the end of the hour, Moon seemed a little tired so she curled up on the lap of one of the staff of NUS. I thought it was quite rare because she would usually prefer to stay close to me or the boy! Maybe he was channeling “calm, assertive energy” (said in Cesar Millan’s voice). Check out Moon’s face. So serious.
“It’s hard work being a therapy dog…”
The session was supposed to end at 4pm after this big group shot but we ended up staying till about 4.30pm because the students were reluctant to go. Awwwww.
It was a lovely way to spend a Monday afternoon! Then again, I have to add that it was way more tiring than a day spent at the office. Phew. It was tiring but definitely rewarding. You can check out Therapy Dogs Singapore Facebook page here.
That very same evening, we spotted this article in TODAY online! That was fast. Hopefully, we will be able to do more of such therapy sessions at other institutions!