Virtual Pet Week on Capitol Hill Brings People Together in Celebration of the Human-Animal Bond | HABRI

Virtual Pet Week on Capitol Hill Brings People Together in Celebration of the Human-Animal Bond

Human Animal Bond Research Institute Hosts Week of Virtual Programming Highlighting the Importance of Pets for Public Health

Washington, D.C. (October 22, 2021) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) brought the love of pets to Congress this week through a virtual Pet Week on Capitol Hill. Featuring conversations with leaders in animal health, animal welfare, pet business, celebrity guests, Members of Congress, therapy animals, and some very cute pets, Pet Week focused on key data showing growing importance of pets in society and how policies supporting pet ownership and care have the potential to save lives, enhance wellbeing, and protect public health.  

“Americans love their pets and support policies that strengthen pet ownership as a positive force for our health and wellbeing,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. “The entire pet care community came together during virtual Pet Week on Capitol Hill to share this message and the data behind the importance of the human-animal bond in American society.” 

Pet Week on Capitol Hill addressed a wide array of timely issues including data-driven updates on animal shelters and pet adoption in the United States, the importance of pet ownership and pet care to the economy, and the positive impact of pet-friendly policies and legislation. Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-5) discussed the importance of veterinarians during the pandemic and legislation aimed at protecting people and pets from zoonotic diseases and natural disasters.  

“As the only veterinarian serving in Congress, I welcome opportunities like this to spread the word to pet owners, the public and my colleagues about the real, tangible benefits pets bring to our lives, and the importance of veterinary medicine in safeguarding public health,” said Representative Schrader. “It was also my honor to announce the winners of the AHI Cutest Pets on Capitol Hill Contest. Pet Week on Capitol Hill is a wonderful event that brings us together and lifts spirits at a time when everyone really needs it.”   

A highlight of Pet Week on Capitol Hill, the Animal Health Institute (AHI) unveiled the winners of the 13th annual Cutest Pets on Capitol Hill contest, which recognizes the most adorable animals owned by Members of Congress and their staff. 

 

 

  • Dog: Reily 

Owner: Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA-1) 

  • Cat: Dorothy

Owner: Rep. Chris Pappas (NH-1) 

  • Exotic: Dublin 

Owner: Emma Settle 

Office of Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-8) 

In special guest appearances, Tamron Hall, journalist and TV personality, advocated for Congress to increase funding for pet-friendly domestic violence shelters. Bobby Bones, best-selling author and TV personality, delivered a heartfelt message in support of veterans with post-traumatic stress, who will now be able to train and have access to service dogs after recent passage of the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers for Veterans Therapy Act. 

“We are grateful to the many pet care companies and organizations who made virtual Pet Week on Capitol Hill possible,” added Feldman. “We hope to be back in person in 2022 with our much-anticipated Pet Night on Capitol Hill reception!” 

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 on Capitol Hill 2022. 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 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
Pet Partners and HABRI Join Forces to Promote Human-Animal Bond

Pet Partners, the nation’s leading organization in animal assisted interventions, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation to advance both scientific study and public policy that recognizes the positive impact that companion animals have on human health. “In signing this agreement to develop a more formal working relationship with HABRI, Pet Partners recognizes the importance of developing scientific evidence that shows the positive human health outcomes associated with the human-animal bond,” said Annie Magnant, President and CEO of Pet Partners. “Together, along with the Pet Partners grassroots network of more than 11,000 therapy animal teams, we can share this science and advance policies that recognize the healing power of pets.” “Pet Partners sets the gold standard for animal assisted interventions and has an array of effective programs to help and heal people with the power of the human-animal bond,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI Executive Director. “HABRI has the scientific research programs and Pet Partners has the paws on the ground – it’s a great combination.” Pet Partners and HABRI will work together to support pet-friendly public policies, arming a far-reaching network of Pet Partners therapy animal teams with the latest research results to persuade more people and institutions to recognize the impact of animal assisted interventions. Pet Partners will look at practical applications in program development resulting from HABRI supported research, making the research come to life. HABRI will also promote opportunities for Pet Partners therapy animal teams to participate in high-quality research projects that examine the important role of companion animals in human health. “The phrase ‘human-animal bond’ was coined by Leo Bustad, one of the founders of Pet Partners,” said Magnant. “The importance of evidenced based outcomes is at the very core of the Pet Partners...

Press Releases
New Research to Inform Best Practices in Animal-Assisted Therapy

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and Pet Partners announced today a grant to the University of British Columbia for a new study, Direct Experimental Assessment of Therapy Dog Handlers on Child and Dog Behavior During Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI). This study will aim to determine how different therapy animal handler styles influence stress behavior in both children and dogs during animal-assisted therapy sessions. “Pet Partners has long been the gold standard for therapy animal handler training and this study will help provide scientific evidence to guide handler best practices to maximize the benefits of the intervention,” said Annie Peters, President and CEO of Pet Partners. “We are proud to partner with HABRI in supporting human-animal bond research that will help inform best practices and foster consistency in the profession.” “Therapy dog handlers are trained to be active in sessions and interact with the participants and the dogs alike, however the handling procedures can be inconsistent, and often not even measured across sessions,” added Megan Arant, MS, Principal Investigator. “It is possible that the handler variation of in-session procedures with their own therapy dogs is also influencing the participants through altering the way the dog is presented as well as altering the dogs’ own behavior, which could cause discrepancies in the therapeutic effect. Therefore, it is beneficial to create a consistent standard for how handlers are instructed to interact with their dogs in AAI sessions to ensure homogeneity.” This study aims to provide empirical data on how to improve outcomes of AAI sessions. Specifically, the study focuses on one largely neglected area, namely how the owner-handler of the therapy dogs interacts with their own dog in the session, and subsequently influences the dog’s behavior and the therapeutic effect of the session. By targeting handler behavior and manipulating factors such as leash restriction...

Press Releases
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...

HABRI