Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Awards Grant to Lincoln Memorial University
Washington, D.C. (November 28, 2016) — The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) announced today it has awarded a $27,000 grant to Lincoln Memorial University, for a study titled, Measuring the Impact of a Mutually Reinforcing Relationship Between Pet Owners and Their Pets. This research project will analyze data collected via a series of public health fairs and develop a general model of health and wellness behavior to examine the relationship between the health of humans and their pets and whether patterns of health and health-associated behaviors are similar. It is anticipated that the model will help determine that pets share the same health benefits and risks as their owners.
“Healthy pets make healthy people,” said HABRI Executive Director Steve Feldman. “Lincoln Memorial University can help us establish this important connection so that the human-animal bond is universally accepted as an essential element of human wellness.”
The one-year pilot study will aim to obtain data sufficient to describe the current state of health and health associated behaviors in pet owner-pet pairs in the Cumberland Gap Region (CGR) of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Health metric data including body weight, heart rate, blood pressure and height will be collected for 300 human subjects and their pet dogs or cats through conducting a series of public health fairs. The investigators seek to use the data to formulate a general model of health and health associated behavior.
“Few studies have simultaneously investigated the health and health promoting behaviors of owners and pets,” said principal investigator Dr. Charles Faulkner, Associate Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Lincoln Memorial University. “We believe the model developed in this study will help provide evidence that the relationship between humans and companion animals mutually reinforces their health and quality of life. This is especially important in a geographic region where residents rank at the bottom in health outcomes for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and lack of physical activity.”
The HABRI Foundation maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; to date has funded more than $750,000 dollars in innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information about the HABRI Foundation, visit www.habri.org.
About Lincoln Memorial University
Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine is located on LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee, with additional academic facilities in nearby Lee County, Virginia. LMU-CVM is an integral part of the University’s medical programs and provides real-world, community-based education in a collaborative learning environment. For more information about LMU-CVM, call 1-800-325-0900, ext. 7150 or visit us online at vetmed.LMUnet.edu.
More Press Releases
New Scientific Study: Dogs Improve Social Skills for Children with Autism
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and Green Chimneys announced the publication of a study exploring the effectiveness of an animal-assisted social skills intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Research was conducted at Green Chimneys, a therapeutic school and treatment center for children facing social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Findings demonstrate that incorporating therapy dogs in social skills training is a valid approach to teaching children with ASD to engage with peers and improve social interaction. “Not only do dogs appear to have a positive effect on children’s emotional states, but they can also be motivating factors that encourage social interaction and involvement,” said Dr. Joanna Becker, PhD, Sam and Myra Ross Institute Research Associate and the study’s principal investigator. “Animal-assisted interventions are a valid approach for teaching children with autism spectrum disorders the skills necessary to engage with peers, family members, and the larger community.” Dr. Becker, along with co-PIs Dr. Erica Rogers and Dr. Bethany Burrows, analyzed 31 Green Chimneys students ages 8-14 diagnosed with ASD and compared social and emotional functioning before and after the intervention. Students either participated in an animal-assisted social skills group or in a traditional social skills training group without an animal present. Findings showed that the inclusion of dogs in social skills training was more effective than traditional programs. Specifically, participants who received the animal-assisted social skills intervention exhibited fewer social skills deficits overall, fewer restricted and repetitive behaviors, and more typical social communication following the intervention. The study also found that participants who received the animal-assisted social skills intervention exhibited a greater level of change in social skills, perspective taking, theory of mind, and decreased feelings of isolation...
Newly Published Study Shows Young Children with Pet Dogs Fare Better Than Those Without
Results of a just-published study led by researchers at The University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute and funded by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) demonstrate that young children from dog-owning households are less likely to experience difficulties with their emotions and social interactions compared to children in households without a pet dog. The study was published in the journal Pediatric Research. “Our research found that having a family dog in the household was positively associated with young children’s social-emotional development,” said Dr. Hayley Christian, Associate Professor at The University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute and Principal Investigator of the study. “Our research also supports spending time walking and playing with the dog for added benefits, and we hope these results will help parents, children and pets remain active at home during this time of physical distancing.” “Findings of this study demonstrate that, starting from a young age, the human-animal bond can play an important role in a child’s social and emotional development,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “HABRI is proud to support this important research, which will encourage more families to consider the benefits of dog ownership and more dog-owning families to spend quality time with their beloved pets.” The team of researchers at The University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute, led by Dr. Christian, collected survey data from 1,646 households, taking into account children’s age, biological sex, sleep habits, screen time and parents’ education levels. Findings indicate that dog ownership is associated with improvements in wellbeing and social-emotional development in children. Specifically, in comparison to children in non-dog-owning households, children from dog-owning households were 23 percent less likely to have difficulties with their emotions and social interactions...
New Coalition to Support Legislation Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence and Their Pets
A group of nonprofit and for-profit organizations have joined forces to better protect domestic violence survivors by establishing, validating and promoting the criticality of protecting their pets, too. This coalition is urging passage of the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act (H.R. 909, S.322), a bill that is adamant about removing a roadblock that is essential to the safety of these survivors with pets, enabling them to live healthy, safe lives, together. Organizations in the coalition include: Nestle Purina PetCare Bayer Corporation Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) Noah’s Animal House Pet Partners Urban Resource Institute Two of these organizations, Noah’s Animal House and Urban Resource Institute are just a couple of the only 3% of domestic violence shelters across the country who are working to keep both pets and their owners away from the dangers of domestic abuse. Together these two incredible organizations have saved more than 1,500 pets from abusive conditions, so that no domestic violence survivor is forced to choose between staying in an abusive relationship and leaving their pet with their abuser. “Up to 65% of domestic violence victims remain in abusive homes out of fear for their pet’s safety, and even more women residing in domestic violence shelters reported that a pet was harmed by their abuser,” said URI President and CEO Nathaniel Fields. “Through the Urban Resource Institute’s innovative People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program, domestic violence survivors in New York City are able to find safe harbor with their pets in one of our dedicated shelters. PALS is the largest and only model of its kind in New York State, and this new coalition will help extend that life-saving, pet-inclusive approach to domestic violence shelters across America.” Did you know? Up to 65% of domestic violence victims remain in abusive situations out of fear for their pets’ safety[i]. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 4,774,000...