Students lose fluffy comfort

Central Station | Mandy Zheng 14 Jan 2021

Staff members and students at the University of Hong Kong are mourning the passing of its first therapy dog, Jasper, who had been with them for three years.

Jasper, an old English sheepdog, was 12 - the upper end of the breed's life expectancy range - when he died on Sunday after suffering complications from leg surgery.

He was adopted by university staff from a shelter for the HKU Libraries Resident Therapy Dog program. He became the first on local campuses as a certified therapy dog in December 2017.

The program aims to reduce stress and anxiety and improve the overall well being of students, particularly during examination periods.

Jasper had a "gentle demeanor and friendliness toward people that made him a great favorite of students and staff alike," HKU noted.

Admirers went to Jasper's social media page with goodbye messages.

One wrote: "Thank you for making law school better for allowing me to pat you when I was stressed. I'll miss your fluffiness and gentleness."

Another said: "I met you [a] few times. You were always calm and adorable a great doctor!"

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