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[back] Report on the MPDA September 2007 Meeting Sara Lew - 22 September 2007

Report on the MPDA September 2007 Meeting

Animal-Assisted Therapy for People with Parkinson's By Sara Lew

On 22nd September 2007, four members from PETPOSITIVE or Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association which uses the power of pets to touch the lives of the disabled and elderly in Malaysia were invited to share their experience with our members.

Left: Pn.Fasidah Sabeh, Rtd Capt. AKS Russell & Dr. Jon Satyamoorthy.
Right: Mr. Anthony Thanasayan tells how his canines help changed his life.

The team comprised Mr. Anthony Thanasayan, Wheel Power Columnist of The Star Newspaper and President of PETPOSITIVE, Dr. Jon Satyamoorthy, a Veterinary Surgeon and Secretary of PETPOSITIVE, Rtd. Captain AKS Russell and Pn. Fasidah Sabeh, both volunteers of PETPOSITIVE.

Mr. Anthony Thanasayan was born disabled and his work, training special dogs for the physically handicapped, has been featured on local and international radio. His dogs, he says, help him to stay tune with life. Two video tapes were shown to the audience. The first was a 3-minute clip to singer Bettle Midler's song "Wind Beneath My Wings". It featured how his service dogs help him in his daily life. His canines later inspired him to set up PETPOSITIVE and use all types of pets to help the disabled and the elderly.

The second video demonstrated how aquarium therapy had brightened up the lives of a spastic quadriplegic young woman and her single mother.

The audience listened with rapt attention During the sharing session, our committee member, Mr. Koh Hun Wai gave his inspiring testimony. He shared about how his life had changed when he started feeding a few pigeons in his gardens several years ago. He had derived so much joy and pleasure in feeding the pigeons that he now looks forward to the each morning.

Left: Mr. Koh Hujn Wai discovered the joy of feeding pigeons to a better well-beibg.
Right: Ms. Liba Connolly has a point to add as well about the benefit of animal-assisted therapy.

The number of pigeons that converged at his garden has since grown to as many as 50 birds. “And it is still increasing,” he said with a big smile to a very appreciative crowd. Mr Koh said that he never realized until the day of the talk that these pigeons were actually playing a therapeutic role in his life. Interacting with them, including with his other pets was effectively helping him prolong his life, he said.

According to Mr. Anthony Thanasayan, animals are natural therapists: They reach out farther, deeper . . . more convincingly, easily and effectively than healthcare professionals. The other benefits are as follows:

  • People with pets generally possess lower and healthier heart rates.
  • Pet owners also live longer.
  • They are able to fight and ward off infectionsmore readily and successfully.
  • Patting a dog, stroking a cat or bird is much more exciting, relaxing, meaningful and life-givingto a patient than a stiff, cold thermometer or stethoscope.

Anthony concluded the meeting by informing everyone that anyone who is interested to know more about animal-assisted therapy may contact him at +6-012 220 3146 or through the society's address:

Persatuan Terapi Bantuan Haiwan Untuk Warga Kurang Upaya Dan
No. 2.18, Tingkat Dua, Kompleks Wilayah,
Jalan Dang Wangi, 50100 KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia.
petpositive@yahoo.com or petpositive@gmail.com

Those with Internet facilities may also visit PETPOSITIVE’S active blog at the following address: