Pet Night on Capitol Hill Celebrates America’s Love of Pets | HABRI

Pet Night on Capitol Hill Celebrates America’s Love of Pets

Annual Reception Features Therapy Animals, Celebrity Pets, and the Cutest Pets on Capitol Hill

Annual Reception Features Therapy Animals, Celebrity Pets, and the Cutest Pets on Capitol Hill

Washington, D.C. (September 21, 2023) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), the Pet Food Institute (PFI) and the Pet Advocacy Network co-hosted Pet Night on Capitol Hill, celebrating the important role pets play in our lives. Pet Night brought together Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and leaders in the pet care community to share programs, policies, and key data making a clear case that pets positively impact our mental, physical, and social health.

“Pet Night on Capitol Hill shares the message with Congress that pet-friendly policies and programs not only keep people and pets together, but also make us healthier,” said Vic Mason, President of the World Pet Association (WPA) and presenting sponsor of Pet Night.

“HABRI is proud to co-host Pet Night on Capitol Hill, bringing everyone who loves and cares for pets together,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. “Pets unite us!”

At the event, the pets stole the show, including Pet Partners therapy animal-handler teams; Winston the French Bulldog, 2022 National Dog Show Best In Show Champion, provided by Purina; and adoptable puppies and kittens from Petco Love.

The Animal Health Institute (AHI) honored the winners of the Cutest Pets on Capitol Hill contest, now in its fifteenth year, recognizing the most adorable animals belonging to Members of Congress and their staff.


  • Cutest Dog: Sandwich
  • Owner: Megan Guiltinan
  • Office of Rep. Andy Barr (KY-06)


  • Cutest Cat: Henry
  • Owner: Emily Hall
  • Office of Rep. Nathaniel Moran (TX-01)


  • Cutest Exotic: Razz (Horse)
  • Owner: Kirby Tidmore
  • Office of Rep. Kevin Hern (OK-01)


“This event is a fantastic opportunity to bring together members from both parties to share our mutual affection and admiration for our pets. It’s also a great reminder that ensuring the health and safety of our pets and animals is crucial for both their wellbeing and ours,” said Rep. Kim Schrier (WA-08). “In Congress I’ve continued to advocate for animal health through legislation like ADUFA to get new, innovative, safe veterinary medications to market. I’m glad to partner with AHI to celebrate our pets and bring awareness to this important issue.”

“As a pet owner myself, I know first-hand the importance of pets in our lives,” said Congressman Greg Pence (IN-6). “I am excited to be a judge of the 15th annual Cutest Pets Contest and I want to extend my thanks to the Animal Health Institute for organizing this event and all of the beneficial work they do.”

“There’s a reason why Animal Health Institute’s Cutest Pets on Capitol Hill has been a highly anticipated event for 15 years, and it’s the strength of the human-animal bond,” said Alex Mathews, President and CEO of AHI. “The animal health industry is committed to supporting the bond by keeping animals healthy, and we’re proud to come together with the entire pet care community each year at Pet Night in celebration of healthy pets and the policies that support our collective wellbeing.”

The Pet Advocacy Network’s “Pets’ Best Friend” award was conferred upon three Members of Congress who have demonstrated a commitment to supporting pets and pet owners. Congresswoman Angie Craig of Minnesota, Congressman Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, and Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson of Pennsylvania were all recognized for their tireless service on behalf of companion animals and those who serve and support them.

“After meeting face-to-face with Members of Congress today, it remains clear that everyone, regardless of political party or ideology, appreciates the power of pets,” said Pet Advocacy Network President and CEO Mike Bober. “We were honored to recognize these Members of Congress with the Pets’ Best Friend award as an expression of our gratitude for their leadership in supporting pet ownership in America, and to once again co-host this important celebration of the human-animal bond.”

“It is an honor to co-host Pet Night once again in 2023,” said Dana Brooks, President & CEO of PFI. “Pet Night is an exciting event and a valuable opportunity to meet with Members of Congress who advocate for policies that enhance the health and welfare of our beloved pets. Pets enrich our lives in so many ways and it is important to showcase how our industry is finding ways to support the long and healthy lives of our companion animals.”

Pet Night is part of Pet Week on Capitol Hill, a week-long series of virtual programming and in-person visits. Virtual sessions share key data about how pets are important for human health and quality of life and highlight the most pressing issues relating to pet ownership in America. All recorded sessions from Pet Week on Capitol Hill are now available to view on-demand at, where people can also sign up to be invited to Pet Night on Capitol Hill 2024.

Pet Night on Capitol Hill is an annual event sponsored by leading pet care and animal health companies and organizations that comprise the pet care community. For more information, please visit Images available upon request.


Logan Trautman



Press Releases
LifeLearn Animal Health Supports Human-Animal Bond Research

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that LifeLearn Animal Health has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research on the mutually beneficial health benefits of companion animals. “LifeLearn is proud to become a HABRI supporter,” said Randy Valpy, President and CEO of LifeLearn. “The bond between people and their pets has been shown to influence the care that pet owners provide for their pets. So, supporting HABRI aligns with LifeLearn’s core commitment to advance animal health and education worldwide.” “LifeLearn is a leader in delivering innovative, trusted, and expert-vetted education resources for both veterinary teams and pet owners, which is what makes them such a good fit for a HABRI partnership,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI Executive Director. “LifeLearn can spread the word to key audiences about the strong connection between human and animal health.” HABRI research shows that when pet owners are educated about scientific research on the health benefits of pets, 92% say they are more likely to maintain their pet’s health, including keeping up with vaccines and preventative medicine. Additionally, 88% of pet owners are more likely to provide their pet with quality nutrition and 66% are less likely to skip visits to the veterinarian’s office when educated on the science behind the health benefits of pet ownership. “By creating education platforms that make it easier for people to communicate within the animal health profession, LifeLearn is making an important contribution towards strengthening bonds and improving lives on both ends of the leash,” Feldman added. About LifeLearn Animal Health Celebrating 25 years of continuing innovation and excellence, LifeLearn Inc. provides education and communications products and services to the veterinary profession, animal health organizations, and pet service businesses. LifeLearn’s award-winning competencies in digital media, combined with longstanding veterinary...

Press Releases
New Study of Animal Assisted Interventions in Trauma Treatment Finds Reduced Depression, Anxiety and Post-traumatic Stress

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced the publication of a systematic literature review on Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI) for trauma in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. The findings demonstrated that the animals helped ease anxiety, reduce depression, and mitigate symptoms of post-traumatic stress. This is the first published study of more than a dozen HABRI-funded research projects examining the effects of companion animals on human health. Marguerite E. O’Haire, PhD, of Purdue University, systematically collected and critically assessed current research from a variety of electronic databases, including HABRI Central, on AAI for trauma in order to more closely look at the empirical data that evaluates the practice of animal inclusion in psychological treatment. Participants in the studies were predominantly survivors of child abuse, followed by military veterans. The most common animals included in treatment were dogs and horses. “We conclude that AAI may provide promise as a complementary treatment option for trauma, but that further research is essential to establish feasibility, efficacy and manualizable protocols,” said Dr. O’Haire. The study researched current evidence that suggests animals may provide unique elements to address several PTSD symptoms. For example, people with PTSD often experience emotional numbing, yet the presence of an animal has been reported to elicit positive emotions and warmth. Animals have also been demonstrated as social facilitators that can connect people and reduce loneliness, which may assist individuals with PTSD break out of isolation and connect to the humans around them. “Based on Dr. O’Haire’s work, HABRI has further evidence that AAI can positively affect depression, anxiety, social outcomes, sleep, child functioning and quality of life,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “With this important study as a roadmap, HABRI has committed funding for a study...

Press Releases
New Research to Study Relationship between Pet Ownership and Youth Development in a Nationally-Representative Dataset

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today a new research project to determine the role of pet ownership in predicting trajectories of youth development. Funded by a grant from HABRI, researchers at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University aim to determine whether there are systematic differences between families who own pets and those without pets with regard to demographics, social environment, and health status, and if these factors predict patterns of pet ownership over time. “Existing human-animal interaction research is limited in exploring how race, ethnicity, and culture are related to pet ownership, and because the sample analyzed in this study will be nationally representative, we hope to have data on a very diverse group of youth,” said the study’s Principal Investigator, Megan Kiely Mueller, PhD, the Elizabeth Arnold Stevens Junior Professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. “This research project will capitalize on a rigorous study design, and a measurement model specifically designed for understanding how environmental experiences influence cognitive and social development and health outcomes.” The goal of the study is to leverage available data from a unique population-based longitudinal study of adolescent development, the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), by analyzing pet ownership information to answer key questions about the relationship between human-animal interaction and trajectories of youth development, including social interaction and support, academic performance, mental health and physical activity. The study includes a baseline cohort of over 11,800 youth enrolled in the ABCD study at 9-10 years of age and their parents/guardians, who will be followed for ten years. In addition to assessing youth development, the study will use the ABCD data to assess if there are systematic differences between families who own...