Washington, D.C. (November 13, 2019) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and Pet Partners announced today a grant to the University of Toledo for a new study, Implementation of Canine-Assisted Forensic Interviews with Children. This lab-based study will examine the effect of the presence of a therapy dog on the quantity and quality of children’s event reports.
“From countless anecdotal evidence, we know that a visit from a registered Pet Partners therapy dog can put a smile on a child’s face, no matter what they are going through,” said Annie Peters, President and CEO of Pet Partners. “Scientific research to validate the efficacy of therapy dogs in forensic interviewing has the potential to not only provide more children with much needed comfort and emotional support, but to also promote justice for such a vulnerable population.”
“The overarching goal of the study is to provide evidence-based guidelines regarding how and when to incorporate therapy dogs in legal settings,” said the study’s principal investigator, Kamala London, PhD, University of Toledo. “We expect that this study will help support therapy dog-assisted forensic interviews as a safe, affordable, and widely available technique that may improve the accuracy and quality of event reports among maltreated children.”
Only about 15% of all child maltreatment cases come to the attention of authorities. Among cases that do come forward, children may be reluctant to disclose traumatic experiences, particularly when those experiences involve family member perpetrators. Over the past decade, forensic and legal professionals have begun to incorporate dogs into their practices in an effort to build rapport and trust, and foster a warm, supportive environment for children. Despite the increase in practice, the effects of therapy dog-assisted forensic interviews have not been studied. This study will work to address this identified gap in human-animal interaction (HAI) research. 120 children age 6-9 will experience a rich, interactive, staged event. A week later, the children will undergo an analogue forensic interview, where exposure to Pet Partners therapy dogs will be randomly varied. Interviews will be transcribed and coded for accuracy and completeness. Using video recording, behavior during the interaction with the therapy dog, including the duration of time the child spent petting the dog, will be scored. Principal Investigator Kamala London, PhD and co-investigator Janet Hoy-Gerlach, LISW-S, PhD, expect the therapy dog-assisted interviews to bolster children’s event reports, leading to increases in both quantity and quality of children’s reports.
“This study will build upon current knowledge of the benefits of therapy dogs while looking at a unique setting, forensic interviewing, which has not yet been studied,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “HABRI is grateful for the support of Pet Partners for this project, which has great potential to make a difference for children who have experienced maltreatment or abuse.”
About Pet Partners
Pet Partners is the national leader in demonstrating and promoting the health and wellness benefits of animal-assisted interventions. Since the organization’s inception in 1977, the science proving these benefits has become indisputable. With more than 13,000 registered teams making more than 3 million visits annually, Pet Partners serves as the nation’s most prestigious nonprofit registering handlers of multiple species as volunteer teams. Pet Partners teams visit with patients in recovery, people with intellectual disabilities, seniors living with Alzheimer’s, students, veterans with PTSD, and those approaching end of life, improving human health and well-being through the human-animal bond. With the recent release of its Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Interventions and international expansion, Pet Partners is globally recognized as the industry gold standard. For more information on Pet Partners, visit www.petpartners.org.
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, please visit www.habri.org.
More Press Releases
World Pet Association Supports Human-Animal Bond Research
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced that the World Pet Association has made a $25,000 donation to help gather, fund and promote scientific research that demonstrates the human health benefits of pet ownership. “The World Pet Association’s commitment to researching the human-animal bond helps demonstrate the value of pets and the pet industry to society,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “Support and active participation from leaders like the World Pet Association is vital to advancing the science that demonstrates the positive roles they play in the integrated health of individuals, families and communities.” The HABRI Foundation maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to demonstrate 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. “WPA is pleased to be able to assist HABRI fulfill their mission of providing information about the benefits of pet ownership,” said Word Pet Association President Doug Poindexter. “Having these resources in one place and readily available is critical to the long term welfare of the industry.”
Phillips Pet Food & Supplies Supports Human-Animal Bond Research
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation announced today that Phillips Pet Food & Supplies has joined the organization’s Steering Committee and made a $25,000 contribution to support research on the human health benefits of companion animals. “Phillips Pet Food & Supplies is proud to support the HABRI Foundation and its mission to study the healing power of pets,” said Blaine Phillips, CEO of Phillips Pet Food & Supplies. “We represent more than 375 vendors and 700 brands of quality pet products across the nation, and understand that the better we take care of our pets, the better they will take care of us.” “Phillips Pet Food & Supply is a leader in keeping pets happy and healthy,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “By supporting HABRI, Phillips is demonstrating its dedication to the incredible bond pets share with their owners.” HABRI has assembled a growing body of scientific evidence that pets improve heart health; alleviate depression; increase wellbeing; support child health and development; and contribute to healthy aging. In addition, companion animals can assist in the treatment of a broad range of conditions from post-traumatic stress to Alzheimer’s disease to autism spectrum disorder. “Phillips Pet Food & Supplies customers, the independent retailers, play a major role in strengthening the human-animal bond,” Phillips added. “We’re going to work together to develop and share even more information about how pets make people, families and communities happier and healthier.”
Pet Partners Commits $100K in 2020 to Support Therapy Animal Research
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that Pet Partners, the nation’s leading organization in animal-assisted interventions, will donate $100,000 to fund scientific research on the health, education, and wellness outcomes of therapy animals, for both the people and the animals involved. This marks the second year in a row that Pet Partners has contributed to HABRI’s research grant program, raising the total amount awarded to $200,000. “Pet Partners therapy animal teams play a vital healing role for so many people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and communities,” said Annie Peters, President and CEO of Pet Partners. “Funding HABRI research will help validate the work of these dedicated volunteers and their amazing animals with scientific data, while also delivering important information that will advance best practices in the field.” In order to be eligible for HABRI-Pet Partners funding, investigators must incorporate registered Pet Partners volunteer therapy animal teams into their proposed research. As part of the organization’s registration requirements, all Pet Partners therapy animal teams must meet high standards in the areas of patient and public safety and outstanding animal well-being. “We are grateful for our dynamic partnership with Pet Partners and for their sustained commitment to scientific research,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI Executive Director. “Last year’s contribution funded two important research projects that we expect will produce meaningful results, and with this generous donation, we will work together to make an even bigger impact in 2020.” In addition to funding provided by Pet Partners, researchers can apply for other HABRI grants to investigate the health and wellness outcomes of pet ownership and animal-assisted activities. Proposals should have a strong theoretical framework and take an innovative approach to assess the effect of companion animals on humans within the categories of...