Washington, D.C. (December 6, 2018) — 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 workplaces that include pet-services (like veterinary telehealth and pet insurance) boost employee attraction, engagement and retention. When employers support pet owners, employees are more likely to feel highly connected to their company’s mission, become more fully engaged with their work, and are more willing to recommend their employer to others. Additionally, employees at pet friendly workplaces are 52% more likely to report a positive working relationship with their boss and 53% more likely to report a positive working relationship with their co-workers, compared to just 14% and 19% among those in non-pet friendly environments.
“When employers help employees take care of their pets, it has a huge payoff,” Feldman added. “whiskerDocs, which can be offered as an employee benefit, provides another important way to provide that support.”
whiskerDocs is headquartered in Skokie, IL, and supports over 1 million pet parents throughout North America. Since 2011, whiskerDocs has been providing advice to pet parents for behavior, emergency, wellness care, training, and questions about symptoms. Visit whiskerdocs.com to learn more.
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) is a not-for-profit organization that 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 www.habri.org.
More Press Releases
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...
New Research to Help Shelters Better Place Cats in Loving Homes
Results of a newly-published study funded by HABRI and the Winn Feline Foundation in the Animal Studies Journal, led by researchers at the University of Missouri, demonstrate the effectiveness of the Feline Temperament Profile (FTP) in assessing the behavioral responses of cats in different situations. Results also indicate that the FTP may be shortened with no loss of reliability to serve as a quick and practical tool for animal shelters and rescue organizations to assess a cat’s temperament to find compatible homes and reduce the likelihood of cat relinquishment. “Cat temperament assessments can help shelters and rescue organizations better place cats into the right homes, and are especially important for families with special needs who may fare better with a more social and calm cat,” said Dr. Gretchen Carlisle, Research Scientist at the University of Missouri and Principal Investigator of the Feline Friends study. “With this study, we conclude that the shorter FTP can be deployed to increase the possibility of successful adoptions by matching cats with adopting families’ expectations and improving shelter staff’s accuracy to easily and objectively assess behavior.” “We know from scientific research that pets, especially dogs, can be beneficial to families of children with autism in improving family functioning and decreasing stress,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. “Research also shows that quiet and non-verbal interactions with cats may be beneficial for children with autism by promoting social contact. Having a reliable way to assess feline temperament is important to this equation.” “Up until now there has been a critical lack of evidence-based studies regarding the temperament of cats and the effect on different aspects of the human-cat bond. The results of this study provides important information assisting shelters with finding compatible homes for successful adoption of cats’, added Dr. Vicki Thayer, interim executive director...
New Handbook for Welcoming Pets at Nation’s Senior Centers
(Washington, D.C.) June 6, 2018 The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) have teamed up develop a handbook focused on helping senior center administrators incorporate pet-friendly programming and policies into their facilities. The handbook, Older Adults and Animal Programming, provides an overview of the scientific research that demonstrates the benefits of human-animal interaction, and a path forward for senior centers looking to develop or expand animal programming. HABRI and NISC first conducted a survey of senior center administrators from across the country to gauge interest in animal programming. A large majority of senior centers surveyed allowed animals in some way, with many senior centers expressing a strong desire for more pet-friendly programs and policies. Responses were received from 113 NISC-member senior center administrators from across America. Of the 28% of respondents that had a current therapy animal program, significant positive health benefits for participants were reported: Improved social interaction 71% Improved mental health 48% Increased physical activity 35% “Scientific research demonstrates the benefits of the human-animal bond for healthy aging – from reducing blood pressure to encouraging social interaction to reducing stress and depression,” said HABRI Executive Director, Steven Feldman. “With this handbook and through our strategic partnership with NCOA and NISC, we can increase opportunities for seniors to experience the healing power of the human-animal bond.” “Only 32% of the senior centers that responded to the survey reported having pet policies in place, so we feel the handbook is a timely and important opportunity to have conversations about the added value that pet programming can provide to the lives of seniors and staff alike,” said Maureen O’Leary, Program Manager for NISC. “We’re excited to provide this excellent...