About K9Assistance

Cassandra Chui in a bus with Esme resting close to her feet

K9Assistance (Limited) was founded in April 2020 to promote the acceptance and use of Assistance Dogs for Persons with Disabilities in Singapore. 

Our activities centre around Assistance Dogs for persons with various types of disabilities. We work to improve their quality of life and bridge the gap between those with and without disabilities, through the inclusion of disabled handlers and their Assistance Dogs in everyday life.  

Mission

To improve the lives of the disabled through Assistance Dogs.

Vision

Every person with disability and their Assistance Dog will lead life to the fullest.

Goal

To be the go-to resource for anything on Assistance Dogs in Singapore and uphold public confidence towards Assistance Dogs and their handlers.

Core Values

  • Respect
  • Empowerment
  • Sustainability
  • Professionalism
  • Enrichment
  • Collaboration
  • Trust

Message from Founding Chairman

Cassandra Chiu in a white top and red skirt standing with her Assistance Dog which is looking curiously into the camera

Hello, I am Cassandra Chiu - a psychotherapist, social advocate and speaker who also happens to be blind. On top of my professional identities, I am also a handler of a Seeing-Eye Dog, a type of Assistance Dog.

Having an Assistance Dog has given me back my life!

From the moment I got my first Assistance Dog, Esme, in 2011, she has unimaginably improved my mobility, acting as my eyes on the ground and enabling me to travel safely and independently. After Esme came Elke, who is my current four-legged assistant. Together, they have changed my life for the better.

However, the road was not always smooth. In the early days, many people did not know what an Assistance Dog was, nor did they understand that Assistance Dogs are well-behaved and are allowed in public spaces.

Thankfully, with years of help from the media and many supporters, Singaporeans have grown to understand and welcome Assistance Dogs. These days, I often hear little children explain to their parents that Assistance Dogs are allowed on trains, buses, in eateries, and in shopping malls.

I am very, very grateful for the outpouring of understanding and kindness from Singaporeans for the blind and our seeing-eye dogs.

My dream is for the same kindness to be extended to all assistance dogs so that people with different types of disabilities can also reclaim their life with the help of their own specially-trained canine companions!

I hope that you will join me. Together, let’s create a better place for all of us!

K9Assistance Board of Directors

Mr Andrew Chew looking smart in a bright yellow shirt and black blazer, smiling.
Chairman

Mr Andrew Chew

Andrew Chew is a passionate leader in the disability field, being involved in the charity sector for close to thirty years.

Andrew was on the board of the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped, one of the founding Directors of Guide Dogs Singapore, on the Technical Committee of the International Blind Sports Federation, as well as instrumental in gaining recognition for ten-pin bowling as an acknowledged sport worldwide for the blind and vision-impaired.

While professing to have a fear of dogs, Andrew was deeply touched when he witnessed on multiple occasions the remarkable work of Assistance Dogs who have helped their disabled handlers lead dignified and fulfilling lives. This realisation led him to be committed to seeing as many Assistance Dogs as possible to empower persons with disabilities in his beloved Singapore.

Doctor Kent Soon in dark blue scrubs with a stethoscope around his neck, next to a black dog
Vice chairman

Dr Kent Soon

Kent Soon is a veterinarian and an animal advocate.

Having worked in mostly large small-animal practices in the UK and now at a veterinary hospital in Singapore, he believes in providing the utmost level of care and attention for his patients and their handlers. Previously, he actively assisted Mandai Wildlife Reserves Singapore on wildlife conservation and was involved in LEO/LION’s club activities.

treasurer and director

Jonathan Foster

Jonathan Foster has more than 30 years’ experience working in the Life Sciences and Consulting industries, specialising in technology-based solutions and managing businesses in Asia and Europe.  
He currently volunteers with three Singapore-based charities, including K9Assistance.

Dr Dawn-joy Leong looking happy with her Assistance Dog
Director

Dr Dawn-joy Leong

Dr. Dawn-joy Leong is a researcher and multidisciplinary artist with an MPhil in music composition and a PhD in autism, neurodiversity and multi-art practice.

Dawn-joy is Autistic with multiple medical disabilities. She is an internationally renowned autism and neurodiversity advocate and her professional work has been presented in Australia, the U.K., Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Singapore.

Lucy Like-a-Charm, a Greyhound rescued from the racing industry in Australia, was Dawn’s Autism Assistance dog for nine years, and Singapore’s first certified Assistance Dog who is not a Seeing-Eye Dog. Lucy is now retired but remains Dawn’s creative muse and closest companion. Together, the pair have experienced amazing adventures across continents, a few groundbreaking achievements, and continue to find new ways to sense and Be.

Doctor Goh Hock Huan infront of some old shop houses in Europe, standing tall and confidently, smiling.
Director

Dr Goh Hock Huan

Goh Hock Huan is a research scientist and has been a reviewer for the International and the Asia Pacific Journal, specialising in the field of Chinese Language Education. He has sat on the Executive Committee of various blindness organisations and led a project on introducing Chinese braille to the local blindness community.

Doctor Navin Nair with a broad smile in a black office shirt
Director

Dr Navin Nair

Navin Nair is an IT and HR professional, associate research writer and social advocate.

Since 2006, Navin has been a strong advocate for disability, diversity, and inclusion in Singapore. He is the Country Representative Volunteer (Singapore) at the Division for Inclusive Social Development of the United Nations and a board member of the Handicap Welfare Association as well as the Disabled People’s Association.

Meet the K9Assistance Team

executive director

Ms cassandra chiu

Cassandra Chiu in a patterned dress sitting on the floor with her Assistance Dog

Cassandra Chiu joined K9Assistance as its Executive Director in September 2022.

She is a blind advocate for persons with disabilities and a leader in the disability sector. Cassandra shares with us:

“As one of the very few disabled heads of agencies, I see my role as a beacon for the next generation of advocates. My own experience as an Assistance Dog handler over the past decade made me aspire that one day, Singapore will be truly welcoming to all disabled people with their Assistance Dog.”
Community Engagement and Communications Executive

Rexanne Yap

Cheerful looking Rexanne Yap smiling towards camera

Rexanne Yap is a communications specialist who helms K9Assistance’s social media and advocacy efforts.

She is a journalism graduate of Nanyang Technological University’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and is passionate about communicating social causes.

Community Partnerships Executive

Shalom Lim Ern Rong

Shalom Lim, K9 ADvocate in good spirits, in his wheelchair smiling

Shalom is an advocate and artist who lives with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He is a BA (Hons) Criminology and Security graduate from the University of Liverpool. His passion is in empowering the lives and well-being of the disabled in Singapore.

The gift of dignity, barrier-free

Many persons with disabilities have co-morbidities involving such conditions that compound the effect of their disability. Assistance Dogs can also ameliorate these co-morbidities and help persons with disabilities live fuller, more confident and contributory lives.

A girl hugging her Assistance Dog wearing a blue shirt
An Assistance Dog with a mobility harness resting on the floor
K9 Assistance | An assistance dog

Our goals

K9 Assistance aims to be the go-to resource hub for all things related to Assistance Dogs in Singapore and uphold public confidence towards Assistance Dogs and their disabled handlers.

A woman on a wheelchair with her mobility Assistance Dog

Our Cornerstone

Genuine inclusiveness is the foundation of our work.

Learn more about Assistance Dogs

Charity Governance

Assistance Dog wearing a mobility harness and sitting down

K9Assistance is governed by a Board of Directors, which is the governing body responsible for overseeing and managing the charity.

The Board’s role is to provide strategic direction and oversight of K9Assistance’s programmes and objectives and to steer the charity towards fulfilling its vision and mission through good governance.

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