Human Animal Bond Research Initiative and Pet Care Trust Award Grant to American Humane
Washington, D.C. (December 12, 2016) — The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) and the Pet Care Trust announced today they had awarded a combined $130,000 grant to American Humane, for a study titled, Pets in the Classroom (PIC): What are the Social, Behavioral, and Academic Effects of Classroom Pets for Children, 8-10 years? It is hypothesized that students with a classroom pet will experience increased social skills, improved academic competence and decreased competing problem behaviors compared to students who do not have a classroom pet.
“Animals are common in today’s elementary school classrooms, and we are learning more and more about their positive impact on child well-being and development,” said principal investigator Dr. Amy McCullough, American Humane National Director of Research and Therapy. “This study will provide meaningful insight on the broad impact of child and animal relationships and help prepare schools and teachers with the responsibilities necessary to support the humane and effective incorporation of pets in classrooms and curricula.”
The first phase of the PIC Study concluded in May 2015 and was supported by The Pet Care Trust, which operates the popular Pets in the Classroom grant program. The first phase consisted of surveying and interviewing teachers on their perspectives regarding the main benefits, challenges and uses of their classroom pets, which ranged from fish to guinea pigs, hamsters, bearded dragons, and others. This second phase of the study will examine approximately 650 students and parents, as well as 46 teachers from 23 U.S. third and fourth grade classrooms over the course of a nine-month school year. Students, teachers, and parents will complete questionnaires at three times throughout the study period to measure the social, behavioral, and academic effects of classroom pets and human-animal relationships on children.
“The Pet Care Trust established the Pets in the Classroom educational grant program to provide children with an opportunity to interact with pets,” said Steve King, Executive Director of the Pet Care Trust and President of the Pet Industry Distributors Association. “Anecdotally, we know that incorporating pets in the classroom teaches life lessons of empathy and responsibility and helps shape students’ lives for years to come. This study will further advance the scientific data behind the benefits of the program to help it expand its reach so that more and more children can experience the benefits of the human-animal bond.”
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 habri.org.
About The Pet Care Trust
Incorporated in 1990, The Pet Care Trust is a non-profit, charitable, public foundation whose mission is to help promote public understanding of the joys and benefits of pets through education, support, and interaction, and to enhance knowledge about companion animals through research and education. To learn more about the Trust, visit www.petsintheclassroom.org/about.
About American Humane
Founded in 1877, American Humane is committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals. Our leadership programs are first to serve in promoting and nurturing the bonds between animals and humans. For more information, please visit www.americanhumane.org.
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...
whiskerDocs Supports Human-Animal Bond Research
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that whiskerDocs, the leading provider of telehealth support for pet parents, has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research on the human health benefits of companion animals. “By supporting the advancement of human-animal bond research, whiskerDocs is demonstrating its commitment to the human-animal bond and the positive role that healthy pets play in our lives,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “HABRI is proud to have the support of whiskerDocs, which is doing innovative work to support pet owners striving to take great care of their pets.” Recognizing the role of pets as family members, whiskerDocs was started to help pet parents receive unbiased support from veterinary professionals in making the best decisions on behalf of their pets. The whiskerDocs team is available 24 hours a day and provides on-demand support via tech-enabled channels, including live chat, phone, mobile messaging and more. whiskerDocs’ clients partners include employers, pet insurance companies such as Pets Best and Embrace, and pet services companies such as Rover.com and Pethealth. “Pet owners want to ensure their whiskered family members are healthy and happy at all times, because the human-animal bond is so important to their own happiness and well-being,” said Deb Leon, CEO of whiskerDocs. “As the role of pets in society continues to evolve and the demands of pet owners continue to rise, whiskerDocs will be there to make certain that each and every pet owner has immediate, trusted access to professional veterinary guidance and help. We look forward to working with HABRI to help more people and pets lead worry-free, healthy lives together.” Scientific evidence increasingly shows that pets improve heart health; alleviate depression; increase well-being; support child health and educational development; and contribute to healthy aging. New research also shows that pet-supportive...
Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Announces 2015 Research Grants
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced funding for seven research grants in 2015, totaling more than $225,000 dollars. Focused on child health and development, mental health and wellness, and healthy aging, these grants will advance scientific understanding of the human-animal bond and its impact on human health. “As one of the organization’s founders, I am proud of how far we have come in only a few years,” said Bob Vetere, President and CEO of the American Pet Products Association and President of the HABRI Board of Trustees. “With HABRI, we can put science behind what many of us believe – if we take good care of our pets, they will take good care of us!” “The companies and organizations that support HABRI are leaders in supporting the scientific research to advance our knowledge of the human-animal bond,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “Everyone associated with HABRI is grateful for their commitment to this important endeavor.” HABRI has awarded a total of $226,557 to the following recipients and research projects: Sandra Branson, PhD, MSN, RN (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston): Biobehavioral Effects of Therapy Dog Visitation in Elderly Intensive Care Unit Patients Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, ABPP (Yale University): Interactions with Animals to Reduce Children’s Stress Rebecca A. Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP (University of Missouri): Companion Animals, Social Engagement, and Psychological Well-Being in Mid and Later Adulthood Annie Petersen, Ed.D (Association for Human-Animal Bond Studies): Listening EARS: How Does Reading to Rabbits Effect the Reading Skills of Third Grade Students? Robin L. Gabriels, PsyD (University of Colorado, Denver): Physiological Wellness Effects of Animal-Assisted Activities in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in a Specialized Psychiatric Hospital Program Marguerite E. O’Haire, PhD (Purdue University): Pilot Study of the Effects of Service Dogs...