If you are staying at home and looking for something uplifting to read, try “Button: The Hokkien Therapy Dog”.
Launching on 28 March 2020, the book is written by Fiona Foo – the founder of and a volunteer at Hope Dog Rescue, and the manager of Heartcave Senior Paws Retreat & Rehab in Singapore. (To know more about Fiona and her work with dogs, click here.)
Button is a rescue-turned-therapy dog that was trained to understand Hokkien, bringing joy to all those around her. Sadly, Button has passed away, but her good deeds and incredible life will continue to inspire us all.
You’ll read all about Button in Fiona’s book. 🙂 Not only that, “it also highlights the plight of the stray-dogs community in Singapore and the dog breeding industry,” Fiona emphasises.
“I hope that there would be more awareness on (these issues) so that more could be done for (the dogs).”
How would you describe Button?
“Button was a giver to her Mama, KorKor, Harper and her patients at Assisi Hospice,” Fiona says, naming Button’s fellow dogs.
“She was a contented little angel. She was happy to see the people and the dogs she loved happy.”
What is it about Button that Fiona wishes people knew? “What an amazing little doggy she was, grateful, forgiving and compassionate, despite her past. She was also fiercely loyal and protective of her family.”
Fiona’s seen this firsthand at the hospice. “The fact that Button knew exactly what her patients at Assisi Hospice needed – that if they weren’t feeling well and wanted a dog to just sleep in bed with, she just knew and she would do it. The patient and Button would doze off together.
“Or if the patient needed a livelier dog to ‘chat’ with, hold hands with, etc, she knew instinctively what they needed and she would do that.
“Being a therapy dog was her calling, and she was superb at it.”
Button the teacher
If you’re a pet owner or someone who loves, works with and supports dogs, we bet you have since learnt (and continue to discover) so many things about life and yourself because of them.
Fiona is no different. Here are the five life lessons she’s learnt because of Button. (Will you find yourself nodding in agreement?)
#1 Appreciate the ones we have around us
“Button’s death came as a total shock. I’d always imagined I’d have plenty of time to teach Button more things, to explore more places with her, to bring her for more new experiences,” Fiona recalls.
“I had many dreams and hopes for Button, and was marvelling at how far I’ve come with her, when she was taken away from me abruptly. Sadly, those dreams were never fulfilled.”
#2 It isn’t so bad to be a giver
“Most people in our high-strung society are takers, wanting the best for themselves and going all out to stake claims on what they want. Button taught me that giving is just as satisfying. She is the kind of dog that if you give her a treat, she’ll happily take her time to enjoy it and not ask for another. What a rare breed!”
#3 Give and love unconditionally
“… not expecting anything in return because it is better to give than to receive,” Fiona relates.
“Button was contentment personified. She never asked for more and was always happy with what she was given. This trait of hers taught me to love those around me unconditionally and not expect anything in return, as expectations with the human kind more often than not result in disappointment.”
#4 Seize the day because tomorrow may never come
“In the short time I had with her, she taught me to see the world through her untainted view and appreciate the little things in life that we usually take for granted. A slow walk with the breeze behind us, a picnic at the beach, cuddling on the sofa, even running errands with her was fun because of her company. They were life’s simple pleasures.”
#5 Everyone can achieve greatness given the right amount of love, patience and opportunities
“Thus, every adopted dog has the potential to achieve greatness – all they need is the right opportunity from their owners,” Fiona observes.
“Button’s complete trust in me was absolutely endearing. When I brought her to the hospice for therapy sessions, some patients were unintentionally rough with her. Button remained calm and still on the patient’s bed, trusting me to protect her and intervene when needed. Our bond was strong and unspoken.”
Indeed, our dogs, and dogs like Button, can help us get through tough times and put things in perspective. They give us hope.
Reading about Button and Fiona’s story has also given me a break from everything that’s been happening lately. (And made me want to hug and pet my own dogs for comfort.) I hope it does the same for you too.
Want to help Fiona and Hope Dog Rescue? Buy a copy of “Button: The Hokkien Therapy Dog” – all proceeds will go to Hope Dog Rescue and to saving more dogs, Fiona tells us. You can also go to their site and Facebook page for more information.
In the meantime, let’s appreciate Button as well as her furry friends Harper, Tiny and River, therapy dogs at St Joseph’s Home – check out their cute photos here. ❤️↓