Each time I drive across town to visit my Mum, there's a small pile of dog related articles waiting for me on her kitchen bench. She’s super thoughtful like that.
In November 2015 (right about a year before suburban pup came to be), this pile included a glossy QWeekend cover. It featured an elderly lady I think I could very well be in some years' time - sensible slacks and slightly outrageous earrings, all the while doting on a shih tzu on her lap. The ensuing article briefly described her recent move to a care facility, and quoted her as saying, 'This is about the first time I've been without a dog.'
Now my shih tzu Vin is only five years old, and already, I can't for the life of me remember how to live without a dog. And here was a gorgeous woman named June, who couldn’t have her own dog anymore, but who didn't have to try to live without canine companionship either. Thanks to the Happy Paws Happy Hearts program, birthed right here in Brisbane, Charlie the shih tzu was right there on her lap.
Put simply, June was her best self when in the company of hounds. Me too. Emphatically.
Happy Paws Happy Hearts was established to create positive social experiences by connecting the socially isolated with the RSPCA animals. Research shows that people who remain socially engaged have much higher levels of wellbeing and life expectancy. The key benefit of Happy Paws Happy Hearts is that it provides everyone participating with a strong sense of purpose and the known therapeutic benefits of animal interactions. At the same time, participants get a wonderful sense of accomplishment knowing that their attendance helps animals get adopted faster.
When I read this homepage description of Happy Paws Happy Hearts (HPHH) now, I can't help but retrofit an uncanny alignment with suburban pup's central focus on wellness, longevity and convenience. But a year ago it was just June and Charlie, and their story, that made me unable to throw that particular issue of QWeekend out. In fact it’s sitting right by my keyboard as I type today.
And my thinking goes like this – that if a regular hour together can make a difference to the day-to-day and long-term life quality of a wise older lady and a rescue shih tzu, then a variety of contributions as suburban pup grows might just make an incremental difference to the daily operation and full realisation of the young and ambitious HPHH Foundation. Put simply, if our collective mental health is important, then the financial health of the programs that support us is also important.
So to simply get started, especially in a month that’s all about things shaped like hearts, for every 28-pack of suburban pup meals purchased in February, we will donate $28 to the Happy Paws Happy Hearts Foundation.
We look forward to sharing our progress with you.
Mainstreaming of the term ‘human-grade’ is great, but that means it's increasingly open to interpretation too.
So here’s three decision-making considerations when you’re aiming for human-grade wellness and longevity.