Washington, D.C. (December 13, 2016) — The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced funding for four research grants focused on the effects of human-animal interaction on human health, including outcomes for children undergoing hospital procedures; classroom learning; and the link between the health of pet owners and the health of their pets.
“The human-animal bond is an essential element of human wellness,” said Bob Vetere, President and CEO of the American Pet Products Association and President of the HABRI Board of Trustees. “HABRI-funded research projects are scientifically documenting how pets improve the health of people, pets and the communities where they live.”
For 2016, HABRI has awarded a total of $175,000 to the following recipients and research projects:
- Zenithson Y. Ng, DVM, M.S. (University of Tennessee, Knoxville): The Effect of Animal-Assisted Intervention on Preoperative Anxiety and Dose of Sedation in Children
- Piers C. A. Barker, M.D (Duke University): Impact of Animal Assisted Therapy on Quality, Completeness, and Patient and Parental Satisfaction in Children Undergoing Clinical Echocardiography
- Amy McCullough, PhD (American Humane Association): Pets in the Classroom (PIC): What are the Social, Behavioral, and Academic Effects of Classroom Pets for Children, 8-10 years?
- Charles Faulkner, PhD (Lincoln Memorial University): Measuring the Impact of a Mutually Reinforcing Relationship Between Pet Owners and Their Pets
“We know from previous scientific research that animal-assisted therapy is effective in alleviating anxiety in hospital patients,” said Margaret Gruen, DVM, PhD, DACVB of Duke. “This is one of the first studies to focus on the potential of animal-assisted therapy to impact a clinical outcome. If results are successful, this study could potentially add non-pharmacologic, low-cost options to improve diagnostic quality for children having medical imaging procedures and could encourage broader use of therapy dogs in other pediatric cardiology settings.”
“The PIC 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,” said Dr. Amy McCullough, American Humane Association National Director of Research and Therapy.
HABRI’s annual grant program is managed in partnership with the Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit organization that invests in science that advances knowledge and improves health for companion animals, horses and wildlife. Proposals were evaluated by an independent Scientific Advisory Board comprised of experts in the field on study design, investigator capabilities, adequacy of facilities, cost effectiveness of budget, and potential for impact on the way these areas of interest are diagnosed, treated, or otherwise understood.
“HABRI is grateful for the commitment of the many companies and organizations that make HABRI’s research program possible,” added Vetere. “With their support, HABRI has built a strong pipeline of quality research projects to expand our knowledge of the healing power of the human-animal bond.”
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 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, please visit 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 Named Among the Best Animal Therapy Non-Profits of 2017
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) has been chosen as one of the best animal therapy non-profits of the year by Healthline.com, one of the largest and fastest growing health information sites on the web. “This honor boosts HABRI’s mission to establish the human-animal bond as an essential part of our health and wellness,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI Executive Director. “It also serves as a seal-of-approval that shows HABRI is making a real difference for the health of both people and their pets.” According to Healthline.com, they put together their list with a focus on non-profits “actively working to educate, inspire, and support people while sharing the benefits of therapy animals,” and commended these organizations for being “dedicated to exploring and supporting the human-animal bond.” “It is tremendously gratifying to see HABRI’s work to fund human-animal bond scientific research recognized in this way,” Feldman added. “HABRI also extends its congratulations to the other non-profit organizations recognized by healthline.com for providing animal therapy programs and services to people in need.”
New Study to Explore the Connection Between Human and Pet Health
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...