There are increasing number of organizations and individuals doing research on a variety of Human Animal Bond topics. Here are a few examples:
American Humane Association: The mission of American Humane Association is to ensure the welfare, wellness and well-being of children and animals, and to unleash the full potential of the bond between humans and animals to the mutual benefit of both.
HABRI (Human Animal Bond Research Initiative): The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation is a non-profit research and education organization that is gathering, funding and sharing the scientific research that demonstrates the positive health impacts of animals on people. The growing body of scientific evidence that proves the specific health benefits of the human animal bond can be used by everyone – from doctors to policymakers – to make informed decisions that improve both human and animal health.
In 2011 Zoetis and American Humane Association launched a study setting out to prove what anecdotally and intuitively we know, that children undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer and their families who receive Animal Assisted Therapy respond better than those who do not. The study continues with the assistance of HABRI in 5 hospitals around the country.
k9 connection Quantitative Evaluation
During the 2012-2013 school year, Jessica Thomas, a researcher from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology did her Doctoral dissertation on “Human Animal Interaction as an Intervention with At-Risk Youth: Assessing the Change in Cognitions, Emotional Intelligence and Empathy,” based on a study of a year of k9 connection programs with pre-and post-tests given to all k9 connection students. Her results showed a statistically significant increase in emotional intelligence and empathy, and a decrease in antisocial and self-serving perceptions. In lay terms, the students showed significantly more developed social and emotional abilities following participation in the three-week intensive k9 program. Measureable gains were achieved in the teens’ ability to recognize and express their emotions, to understand and relate to others, to cope with stress, to begin thinking in a less negative or self-serving manner, and to give increased consideration to the thoughts and feelings of others.
This is a major study with important results and implications for the whole field of human/animal intervention and we (k9 Connection) are honored to have been the program chosen for this research.