New Research to Examine the Role of Pet Dogs for the Resilience and Wellbeing of Military Adolescents | HABRI

New Research to Examine the Role of Pet Dogs for the Resilience and Wellbeing of Military Adolescents

HABRI Awards Grant to Florida Atlantic University

Washington, D.C. (April 24, 2024) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) today announced a new grant for research that investigates the contribution of pet dog ownership to resilience and well-being in adolescent children of military families. This grant was awarded to a team of researchers at Florida Atlantic University Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing’s Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors (C-P.A.W.W.)  led by Laurie Martinez, Ph.D., MBA, MSN, RN, AHN-BC and co- led by Cheryl A. Krause-Parello PhD, RN, FAAN.

 

This important study will provide insight into how pet dogs support well-being and resilience in adolescents while a parent or guardian is in the National Guard, Reserve, is a veteran, or on active duty. Adolescents in military families face ubiquitous teen stressors and unique military challenges (e.g., parental deployment, frequent relocations). Dog ownership is suggested as a contextual resource of strength to counter the effects of adolescent military-specific stressors and promote positive outcomes.

 

“With approximately 66% of households in the U.S. owning a pet, family military pet dogs are an understudied innovative resource that may mitigate military-connected adolescent stress and nurture resilience and well-being,” explained Dr. Martinez, Principal Investigator of the study. “Exploring how pet dogs can serve as conduits to better mental health outcomes opens new pathways for daily health promotion.”

 

This longitudinal, observational pilot study will conduct scientifically-validated surveys to investigate the role of pet dogs in the lives of military adolescents between the ages of 12 to 18. Researchers expect to find higher levels of resilience, improved well-being, reduced depression, and lower perceived stress in dog-owning adolescents compared to military adolescents who do not own a pet dog.

 

“We hope that this research will inform policies and programs aimed at improving health for children in military families,” said Steven Feldman, President, HABRI.

Contact

Logan Trautman

logan@inspireprgroup.com

412.915.4038

###

Press Releases
PAWS Act Coalition Lauds Full Congressional Funding for Grant Program to Aid Survivors of Domestic Violence and their Pets

The Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act Coalition today celebrated the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, which for the third year in a row, includes funding for an important 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 $3 million appropriated for 2022 represents a $500,000 increase in funding from 2021, up to the fully-authorized amount, and comes three years after bipartisan passage of the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. “Congressional funding for the PAWS Act, coupled with private sector support, directly results in more domestic abuse survivors and their pets being able to safely enter shelter and start the next chapter of their lives together,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, CEO and President of Purina. “Through Purina’s partnership with RedRover on the Purple Leash Project, we’ve set a national goal to help ensure that at least 25% of domestic violence shelters in the U.S. are pet-friendly by 2025. Full funding of the PAWS Act keeps this goal within reach.” Demand for the Emergency Transitional Pet Shelter Housing and Assistance Grant Program has continually surpassed the funding available for the program, leading to bipartisan calls to further increase funding in 2022. The PAWS Act Coalition honors the bipartisan efforts of 204 Representatives, led by Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA-5), and 43 Senators, led by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Gary Peters (D-MI), for requesting this critical funding for FY 2022. 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 and FY 2021 Emergency Transitional Pet Shelter Housing...

Press Releases
New Study to Measure Stress and Predict Success in Guide Dogs

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) today announced funding for a new research project at Colorado State University to study the impact of temperament and stress on the health and success of working dogs. This pilot study aims to measure the Allostatic Load (AL) of dogs, which is understood as the ‘wear and tear’ on the body due to chronic or frequent stressors. Widely published in human health literature, AL in humans is affected by genetics and personality, and high AL is a predictor of negative health outcomes including heart disease and cognitive decline. After successfully validating AL in primates, the research team seeks to validate canine AL for the first time. “Developing a reliable method of measuring chronic stress will help ensure we are taking proper care of working dogs as well as pet dogs,” said the Principal Investigator of this project, Barbara Wolfe, DVM, Ph.D., DACZM, Colorado State University. “If successful, this tool could be utilized to predict success in working dogs and identify when working dogs are experiencing unhealthy levels of stress.” This study will analyze early life events and lifestyle factors that may influence AL in Labrador Retrievers raised to be trained as guide dogs as well as Labrador Retrievers raised as pets. Researchers will use blood sampling to compare biomarkers associated with AL to these lifestyle and event factors to determine any association between AL and potential stressors. While many studies to date have used a single biomarker, such as cortisol, to determine canine stress, measuring AL tests multiple biomarkers of stress which allows for a more accurate measure of the accumulation of stress over time. “This project reflects HABRI’s deep commitment to animal care and welfare,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. “Understanding how to improve the lives of our canine companions is crucial to strengthening the human-animal bond.”

Press Releases
New Research to Support Unhoused Youth with Pets

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today funding for a new research project that seeks to develop a multi-perspective strategy for reforming housing service systems to support unhoused young people with pets. This research will be conducted by the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. “We want to identify how to improve the policies of existing housing service systems to better support young people with pets who are unhoused,” said Erin Flynn, a Ph.D. student who will co-lead the project. “Through this research, we will synthesize the expertise of unhoused young people and service providers to develop a framework for housing systems to better protect the human-animal bond for this vulnerable population.” Every year, 4.2 million young people in the United States experience some level of homelessness, and unhoused people face higher risks of health problems, substance abuse, and depression. Scientific research demonstrates the health and developmental benefits of pet ownership for young people, ranging from better mental health and quality of life to improved physical health. Pets may be especially likely to benefit vulnerable populations such as unhoused youth. Many young people experiencing homelessness describe their pets as family members and experience distress when they perceive this relationship is not being respected by housing services. A lack of pet-friendly policies leaves unhoused young people with pets excluded from housing, health, and other related services. Young people have reported delaying seeking help or refusing services altogether if it meant they would be separated from their pets. Erin Flynn will be joined by co-Principal Investigator Laura Coddington, also a Ph.D. student of the Graduate School of Social Work, and Co-Investigators Dr. Kimberly Bender and Dr. Jennifer Wilson. Researchers will conduct in-depth interviews with unhoused young people and housing service providers in the Denver, CO...

HABRI