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Dr Paul Wong

Interdisciplinary Quick Talks: Animals Make a Better World

Dr Paul Wong

Dr Paul Wong
Associate Professor, D.Psyc.(Clinical)
Department of Social Work and Social Administration

The Welfare of Animals in Animal-assisted Interventions


Through domestication over time, dogs have become skilled in reading human communication cues such as understanding our nonverbal gestures. This ability to interpret human communication makes dogs desirable and uniquely well-suited as working and social companions. Therapy dogs are personal pets of individuals who have been certified or registered to provide brief visitations to people in need (Fine, 2015). While trained in basic obedience skills, therapy dogs are not required to perform essential functions for those they serve (i.e., “tasks”), or specialize in any particular area of need. In my sharing, I will focus on sharing of how the welfare of therapy dogs are protected and enhanced by my team members and stakeholders.


I have been involving in suicide prevention research and mental health promotion and practice in Hong Kong since 2003. My recent research projects include social withdrawal behaviour (a.k.a. hikikomori), using animals as part of psychological and educational interventions, youth positive development interventions for local and ethnic minority young people in Hong Kong, and helping caregivers of children with development delays. I am currently an Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention HKU, HK Police College, and Council Member of the Hong Kong Psychological Society; and was National Representative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (2010-2015). I am also the Programme Director of the B.Soc.Sci (Counselling) and Deputy Director of M.Soc.Sci. (Counselling). I have published more than 80 academic articles on a number of suicide-related, and mental-health-related issues, developer of an award-winning website ( and book author of “留給最愛的說話/The Belated Dialogues between the Suicides and Their Families”.

Presentation slides