A year ago, eyebrows were raised when Indeed.com posted a trailer for pets looking for jobs. Can pets work? Are they truly able to uncover unimagined paw-tential as productive members of society, putting their tail-chasing and post-scratching days behind? Ah Beng Pet Store investigates, in this new series featuring local pets who contribute to our nation’s GDP.
Owner’s Name: Serene
Occupation: Therapy Dog
Age: 2 years 8 months
Breed: Miniature Schnauzer
Tell us more about yourself! Any hobbies?
How long have you been working as a therapy dog? Where do you work?
I’ve been working as a Therapy Dog for 9 months. The nursing home I visit on a regular basis is Bethany Methodist Nursing Home. Other than my monthly visits to Bethany Methodist Nursing Home, I also do adhoc visits to schools to provide pre-exam stress relief! I have visited James Cook University, National University of Singapore, Temasek Polytechnic and also School of the Arts Singapore!
What’s a typical day at work like?
I arrive at least half an hour early for work so I can do my business first (also because Human is kiasu). When my furry colleagues arrive, I play a little with them. Once the hellos and butt-sniffing are out of the way, we make our way to the hall where the residents of the nursing home are waiting for us!
We interact with them and let them give us all the sayangs they want! I sit on the laps of some of them. Each session lasts for an hour and when the hour is up, we say our goodbyes to the residents.
What are some challenges in your job?
Getting people to realize that I am a dog too! When I am not at work, I am a very active, very playful and very friendly boy! I have met some folks who have passed comments like “He therapy dog? Can meh?” and “I thought he’s a therapy dog?”
Human always use the chance to share with them that I don’t have to be at my best behavior all the time (btw sniffing butts are absolutely normal). I do my bit when I am doing my therapy work. I sit calmly and let the residents from the nursing home give me sayangs. Therapy dogs are dogs too. We work when we are at work but outside of work, we want to have fun too!
Any memorable experiences at work?
One of my happiest moments was when I mastered sitting on the laps of the wheelchair-bound residents at the nursing home. It took me a while to learn how to do it as I’m not exactly a very small dog.
There was also once when a Jie Jie cried! She had tears running down her face when she saw me. Human asked her why was she crying and her reply was – “I’m so happy!”
Any advice for pets/owners interested in this career?
As long as you’re not aggressive and you love to make people happy, you should come and try out! I cannot explain how fulfilling my job is. You have to see the smiles on the faces of the residents at the nursing home and the grins on the Kor Kors’ and Jie Jies’ faces. That’s how powerful animal therapy is!
Are there any products from Ah Beng Pet Store that you would like to try?