A close encounter with pet therapists last week has totally changed a group of young people's opinions about animals. Four students who study English for Professional Communication at the Community College of City University (CityU) learned a lot about animal therapy from a series of activities they organised in collaboration with Doctor Pet. Doctor Pet is a charity organisation that recruits and trains house pets to become therapists that treat humans. The work with Doctor Pet was initiated by the CityU students who had to come up with a project in collaboration with an outside organisation to fulfil the criteria for their final year project. The project allowed the students to put the knowledge they learned into practice. In a publicity event held last month at the Kowloon City Plaza to boost the profile of Doctor Pet, former Miss Hong Kong Mandy Cho Man-lee graced the stage. The event quickly attracted passers-by who enjoyed the performances by the little furry stars. 'Nine dogs and one cat were present at the event. Not only did the public get to know about the work of Doctor Pet, they also got the chance to get close to the animals,' said Daphne Wong Wing-ka, one of the CityU student organisers. They had to prepare everything themselves, from finding sponsorship and booking venues to inviting celebrities and booking venues. 'It was a valuable opportunity to learn. We had to liaise with lots of organisations to gain their support for the event. Finally, two companies agreed to sponsor us and the Kowloon City Plaza allowed us use of the venue for free,' she explained. The student organisers were impressed by the pet therapists and the animals introduced Doctor Pet to the public. 'The pets are friendly and adorable. I used to be afraid of animals, fearing that they might bite me. After this project, I realised that they are totally harmless,' said Ms Wong. The project also let the young organisers learn about the benefits of using animals as therapy for humans. 'The inclusion of animals in therapy is conducive to the treatment of elderly and child patients. Their playful personality and adorable looks can always cheer them up,' said the 21-year-old student.