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The therapeutic value of animals to relieve stress in the young, elderly and sick has been documented by academics and medical professionals around the world. But what has not been known until relatively recently is how therapy animals can also help people who have difficulties dealing with modern society and lock themselves away in their rooms. Dr Paul Wong, Associate Professor at the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, is working with a non-profit-making social service organisation to study how therapy animals, mainly trained dogs, are helping Hong Kong’s hidden youth to regain their self-belief.