Washington, D.C. (February 6, 2015) — The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced that the American Veterinary Distributors Association (AVDA) has made a $5,000 donation to help gather, fund and share scientific research that demonstrates the human health benefits of pet ownership.
“The industry leading companies that form the AVDA understand the importance of the human-animal bond and how it enhances both human and animal health,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “The veterinary community plays a key role in the health of our communities and AVDA’s support will help deliver that message.”
“AVDA is proud to join the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative effort,” said AVDA Executive Director Jackie King. “By supporting research and education on the benefits of the human-animal bond, AVDA can help bring the health benefits of pets to more people and more families.”
The HABRI Foundation maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of pets and other animals; informs the public about human-animal bond research; and advocates for public policies that support the beneficial role of pets in society.
Founded more than 35 years ago to enhance the distributor’s position in the animal health distribution channel, AVDA is committed to the success of its members by providing networking, education, and business tools to strengthen the vital link between distributors, suppliers and veterinarians. For more information on the AVDA, visit www.avda.net.
Founded by The American Pet Products Association (APPA), Petco Animal Supplies Inc., and Zoetis, the HABRI Foundation serves as a rallying point for a broad coalition of companies, organizations, and individuals who believe that our relationship with pets and animals makes the world a better place by significantly improving human health and quality of life. For more information on the HABRI Foundation, visit www.habri.org.
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Will Reading to Rabbits Improve Student Skills?
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) today announced it has awarded a $13,000 grant to the Association for Human-Animal Bond Studies for a new study, Listening EARS: How Does Reading to Rabbits Affect Reading Skills of Third Grade Students?, to uncover how reading aloud to a non-threatening presence, like a classroom rabbit, helps improve students’ reading skills. “The human-animal bond can lessen the stress young children can feel when taking on challenging tasks in the classroom, like reading aloud,” said Dr. Annie Petersen, Ed.D., Principal Investigator in the Listening EARS study. “This study will provide us with a valuable tool to understand and act on the benefits of small animals to student learning and development.” By utilizing small animals already present in classrooms (e.g. rabbits and guinea pigs), it is predicted that classroom interactions with an animal will improve 3rd grade students’ oral fluency and reading comprehension, two essential measures of academic success. “HABRI is committed to studying the impact of companion animals on child health and development,” said Steve Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “This new research will contribute to the growing body of scientific evidence that demonstrates the benefits of pets in the classroom.”
HABRI Awards Grant to Green Chimneys
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) today announced it had awarded a $24,000 grant to Green Chimneys, a leader in animal-assisted therapy and educational programs, for a new research study, Animal-‐Assisted Social Skills Training for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This grant to Green Chimneys advances the HABRI Foundation’s mission to better document the effects of animals on human health through scientific research,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “Animals can play a positive role in the lives of those with autism, and we look forward to learning more as a result of this study. Further exploring the effect of dogs on children with ASD, the purpose of this study is to develop and test an animal-assisted social skills intervention. As one of the first research projects undertaken by The Sam & Myra Ross Institute at Green Chimneys, the 12-week study will include a controlled trial with 32 Green Chimneys students ages 8-15, comparing an animal-assisted social skills group and a traditional social skills training group without an animal present. It is predicted that participants in the social skills training group that incorporates work with dogs will exhibit greater levels of change in social skills, perspective taking, theory of mind and decreased feelings of isolation when compared with those participants receiving the traditional social skills training. If significant results are found, it will further demonstrate that animal-assisted interventions are a valid approach for teaching children with ASD the skills necessary to engage with peers and will further support the role of the human-animal bond in advancing children with developmental delays. Green Chimneys’ long history of incorporating animal-assisted activities into therapeutic treatment makes it an ideal laboratory for conducting research in the area of human-animal interaction (HAI),” said Dr. Steven Klee, Green Chimneys Associate Executive...
New Research to Explore the Health Benefits of Cat Fostering for Older Adults
Funded by a two-year grant from the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), faculty from the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Family and Consumer Science and the Obesity Initiative are collaborating on a new research project to examine the impact of pet companionship on mental and emotional health in older adults living alone. “Housing and health are essential to overall well-being, a fact known to pertain to both humans and animals”, said Heidi Ewen, assistant professor, Colleges of Public Health and Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia. “We have proposed a unique solution to help older adults living alone at home establish new social bonds, by pairing them with homeless foster cats.” Partnering with the Athens Area Humane Society and UGA’s Campus Cats organization, a rescue group that works with homeless cats on campus, the team will match foster parents and felines. The team is led by Heidi Ewen and Sherry Sanderson, a veterinarian and associate professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Beginning in October, the team will begin to identify older adults in the Athens Area that are willing to foster cats. The 34 pairs of cats and seniors will then be interviewed and assessed throughout the study to determine whether having a pet in the house leads to changes in their emotional well-being. Assessments include, loneliness, emotional well-being, and purpose of life scales as well as measures of attachment to, and comfort from, the foster cat. Findings are expected to demonstrate improvements in mental and behavioral health in foster parents including reduction in loneliness and depression, and that attachment to the companion animal will increase the duration of fostering or lead to adoption of the foster cat. “As efforts around the country have increased to reduce euthanasia rates of homeless pets, there is an increasing reliance upon foster homes to bridge the time between...