New Research to Study Impact of Therapy Dogs on Easing Child Anxiety in the Emergency Room | HABRI

New Research to Study Impact of Therapy Dogs on Easing Child Anxiety in the Emergency Room

Human Animal Bond Research Institute and Pet Partners Award Grant to Indiana University

Washington, D.C. (December 7, 2020) —  The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and Pet Partners announced today a grant to Indiana University School of Medicine for a new research project, Canine-assisted anxiety reduction in pediatric emergency care (CANINE III). The study will investigate the impact of therapy dog visits on the anxiety levels of children in emergency care.  

“Registered Pet Partners therapy dog teams visit hospitals throughout the country, and we know they can put a smile on a child’s face, no matter what they are going through,” said C. Annie Peters, President and CEO of Pet Partners. “Scientific research to validate the efficacy of therapy dogs in the emergency room has the potential to not only provide more children with much needed comfort and emotional support, but to also help serve as a complementary intervention to improve medical outcomes.” 

“Virtually all children experience some degree of psychological stress as patients in the emergency department,” says the Principal Investigator, Jeffrey Kline, MD, IU School of Medicine “The inclusion of therapy dog visits in addition to a child-life specialist could provide a low cost, low risk method to help reduce child and parental anxiety in the emergency department.”  

CANINE III is a NCT-registered, two-arm, block randomized trial with one to one matching of patients receiving therapy dogs as an adjunct with a child life specialist, compared with children who receive child life specialists alone. The children will receive a 15-minute visit, with the research team periodically collecting saliva samples to test for cortisol levels, or the level of stress. Dr. Kline will complete this project alongside co-investigator Alan Beck, PhD, Purdue University. The study will also test if therapy dogs afford greater anxiety reduction in children with psychiatric complaints, autism spectrum disorder, or brain injury, versus children with none of those conditions.  

All study participants will be recruited from Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. Child participants will range from 5-17 years of age and have “moderate or greater anxiety” as reported by the parent or guardian. Parents of the child participants will also be tested for their anxiety levels before, during, and after the study to determine if the therapy dogs can also reduce anxiety in this population.   

“One of the absolute unique and paradigm-changing aspects of this work is that dogs bring the dimensions of affection and unconditional caring to children and families during times of perceived emergency,” said Dr. Kline. “This objective is important because anxiety, stress, and ‘threat perceptions’ are major negative modifiers of the emergency department experience in adults and children.”  

“HABRI is proud to be supporting research on the benefits of therapy dogs for children in the emergency room, which represents an important area of research,” said HABRI President Steven Feldman. “HABRI is grateful for the support of Pet Partners for this project, which we hope will provide further evidence of the complementary role of therapy dogs in human healthcare settings.”  

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and concurrent precautions in place at the Riley Children’s Hospital, the start of this project is currently on hold. The project will commence once in-person visitation is deemed safe and permitted. 

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, visit www.petpartners.org.

About HABRI

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
Virtual Lecture for Autism Awareness Month: New Research Supporting Shelter Cat Adoption for Children with Autism and their Families

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and IDEXX today hosted a virtual lecture during Autism Awareness Month, focusing on new research demonstrating the impact of shelter cat adoption on the social skills and anxiety levels in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This lecture titled, “The Impact of Shelter Cat Adoption in Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder”, features Dr. Gretchen Carlisle, Research Scientist, Research Center for Human Animal Interaction (ReCHAI), University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, discussing her HABRI-funded publication, “Exploratory study of cat adoption in families of children with autism: Impact on children’s social skills and anxiety”, which found that found introduction of a shelter cat into the home may have a positive impact on children with ASD and their parents. Results from Dr. Carlisle’s project were published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing in December 2020. This was the first randomized controlled trial of adoption of a temperament-screened shelter cat by families of children with ASD. This exploratory study found that introduction of a cat into the home may have a positive impact on children with ASD, including greater Empathy and less Separation Anxiety for children with ASD, along with fewer problem behaviors including Externalizing, Bullying and Hyperactivity/Inattention. The children and their parents reported close bonds with their new cats almost immediately after adoption, and despite the cat caretaking responsibility, these bonds did not decrease over time. “These research results show that children with autism and their families can benefit from the calmer, quieter demeanor of a pet cat,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. “HABRI and IDEXX hope that together, we can help raise awareness of the health benefits of pet cats and help more cats find loving homes.” Professionals who viewed this session live are eligible to receive RACE-approved...

Press Releases
PAWS Act Coalition Celebrates Increased Congressional Funding for Grant Program to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence and Their Pets

The PAWS Act Coalition, a group of non–profit and for-profit organizations, lauded the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. For the second year in a row this Act provides funding for an important USDA grant program designed to enable more domestic violence shelters to become pet-friendly so that victims of domestic violence and their pets may seek safe shelter together. The $2.5 million appropriated for 2021 represents a $500,000 increase in funding, coming two years after bipartisan passage of the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act as part of the 2019 Farm Bill.   “This funding increase by Congress is a significant step forward in the public-private collaboration to keep domestic violence survivors and their pets together as they escape abuse and heal,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, CEO and President of Purina, and a champion for the company’s Purple Leash Project in partnership with RedRover. “Purina is proud to be part of the Coalition’s efforts to support funding for this important life-saving program, as we continue working to keep pets and people together, even in times of crisis.”  The PAWS Act Coalition would like to thank the original co-sponsors of the Pet and Women Safety Act for their leadership and commitment to its passage, especially the lead sponsors Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA-5), Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and former Senator Dean Heller (R-NV). The Coalition is also particularly grateful to former Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) for spearheading the effort to pass the bill by including its language in the Farm Bill.  Domestic violence shelters across the U.S. will be eligible to apply online for grants in the coming months, and additional details about the application process will be forthcoming from the U.S. Department of Justice, which administers the grant program.     This continued funding follows the success of the FY 2020 Emergency Transitional Pet Shelter Housing and Assistance...

Press Releases
Nature’s Variety Supports Human-Animal Bond Research

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that Nature’s Variety®, makers of natural, wholesome and delicious pet food has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research into the health benefits of the human-animal bond. “At Nature’s Variety, we believe in the power of pure, real nutrition to keep beloved pets healthy and happy. The human-animal bond is so central to our mission to give pets everything they need for a long and happy life with us,” said Reed Howlett, CEO of Nature’s Variety. “Supporting research into the human health benefits of pets is a perfect complement to our mission. We support better health for people and pets together.” Scientific evidence increasingly shows that pets improve heart health; alleviate depression; increase well-being; 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. The benefits of the human-animal bond impact more than just human health. Findings from a recent HABRI survey of 2,000 pet owners demonstrate that knowledge of the scientific research on the human-animal bond motivates pet owners to take better care of their pets. Specifically, when educated about the scientific research on the health benefits of pets, 88% of pet owners are more likely to provide their pets with high quality nutrition. “HABRI is thrilled to add Nature’s Variety as a HABRI supporter,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “By joining forces with HABRI, Nature’s Variety is demonstrating its leadership in the pet care community!” “From HABRI research, we know that healthy pets transform the lives of people through the human-animal bond – and Nature’s Variety transforms the lives of pets by empowering pet owners to provide their pets with natural nutrition,” added Howlett. “While HABRI does...

HABRI