Virtual Pet Week on Capitol Hill Celebrates Pets during Pandemic | HABRI

Virtual Pet Week on Capitol Hill Celebrates Pets during Pandemic

Human Animal Bond Research Institute Transforms Beloved Pet Night on Capitol Hill Reception to Week of Virtual Programming Focused on the Positive Role of Pets

Washington, D.C. (September 14, 2020) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) virtually delivered the message that pets are good for our health and wellbeing through Pet Week on Capitol Hill. Pet Week featured conversations with pet care leaders and members of Congress about the importance of pet ownership in America and the scientific evidence that shows how pets and people are good for each other.

“HABRI is proud to host Pet Night on Capitol Hill, but since we couldn’t be together in person, we decided to build a virtual Pet Week on Capitol Hill,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI’s Executive Director. “The entire pet care community came together to share the power of pets with Congress, and we ended up with even greater participation, which shows how the human-animal bond has grown even stronger during the pandemic.”

Pet Week highlighted timely issues including the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on pet adoption in America and the importance of passing lifesaving pet-related legislation aimed at improving the lives of veterans with PTSD and survivors of domestic violence.
Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-5) discussed the importance of One Health Act legislation aimed at helping protect people and pets from zoonotic diseases, and the key role of veterinary medicine in preventing future pandemics.

Thousands of participants experienced the human-animal bond from afar, with virtual visits from Pet Partners therapy animals and adoptable pets from the Humane Rescue Alliance. Pet Week also featured a special guest appearance from baseball Hall-of-Famer Tony La Russa, who spoke on the lifesaving impact of service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress.

For Pet Week’s closing celebration, the Animal Health Institute crowned the winners of the Cutest Pets on Capitol Hill contest, recognizing the most adorable congressional companions from both sides of the aisle.

Dog: Sergeant Pepper
Owner: Syd Terry
Office of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9)

Cat: Jackson
Owner: Liz Leibowitz
Office of Senator Cardin (MD)

Exotic: Arty
Owner: Matthew Brownlee
Office of Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-2)

“As one of the three veterinarians in the United States Congress, it’s always a lot of fun to collaborate with the Animal Health Institute for the Cutest Pets on Capitol Hill contest,” said Representative Schrader. “Pets are always important to us, and never more so than during the global pandemic when so many of us seek companionship and outlets that help us have fun and release tension. Pets remind us of what’s good and right in the world.”

All recorded discussions from Pet Week on Capitol Hill are now available to view on-demand at www.PetNight.com, where people can also sign up to be invited to Pet Night 2021. Pet Night on Capitol Hill is an annual event, hosted by HABRI and sponsored by the pet care community. For more information, please visit www.petnight.com. Images available upon request.

About Human Animal Bond Research Institute

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, please visit www.habri.org.

Contact

Jamie Baxter

jamie@theimpetusagency.com

775.322.4022

###

Press Releases
New Research Indicates Shelter Cat Fostering Reduces Loneliness in Older Adults Living Alone

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced the results of a HABRI-funded feasibility study that suggests fostering a shelter cat may contribute to alleviating loneliness and improving mental health in older adults living independently alone. This study, published in the Journals of Gerontology, Series B, was conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia and Brenau University. The research team, led by Dr. Sherry Sanderson, DVM, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, explored the impact of fostering a shelter cat on loneliness and well-being in older adults living alone. The research also investigated whether these older adults would express interest in adopting their foster cat after common barriers, such as access to veterinary care, were removed. “The ill-effects of loneliness and social isolation, particularly for older adults, are well-documented, and more strategies are needed to improve health outcomes for this population,” said Dr. Don Scott, MD, MHS, Campus Director of Geriatrics and Palliative Care and Associate Professor of Medicine at August University-University of Georgia Medical Partnership, and co-investigator on this research project. “This project shows that fostering cats can make a measurable difference in the lives of older adults living alone.” “Our results show that by removing some perceived barriers to pet ownership, including pet deposit fees, pet adoption fees, pet care supplies and veterinary support, we can not only help older adults live healthier, happier lives but we can also spur the fostering and adoption of shelter cats into loving homes,” added Dr. Sanderson. Study participants were recruited through in-person presentations and flyers posted at The Athens Community Council on Aging (ACCA), regional community organizations, senior living facilities and local and regional publications. Participants completed health...

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...

HABRI