Touching lives and improving health through the power of therapy animals. Thorpe RJ Jr., Serpell JA, Suomi S (2011). Challenges to human-animal interaction research. In McCardel P, McCune S, Griffin JA, et al, Animals in Our Lives (pp. 217-225). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. Zanesville, Ohio’s Terry Thompson made national headlines when he released a horde of wild animals that he and his wife kept on their property, and then killed himself – leaving the gruesome task of trying to control endangered Bengal tigers, monkeys, lions, wolves, baboons, and more.
The research findings are encouraging, so it makes sense to conduct more studies on how human-animal interaction influences our health. We don’t yet know precisely what types of animals influence what types of health issues (physical, mental, and social well-being) and what characteristics about human-animal interaction are most important. People who have pets know that there are many benefits to having a companion animal, but we do not yet know under what circumstances those benefits are most likely. If research shows specific health benefits under specific circumstances, that information can be used to change policies in ways that benefit even more adults and children, by influencing rules and regulations for schools, health or assisted living facilities, residential treatment centers, and other places where people’s exposure to animals is sometimes discouraged but could potentially be encouraged.
Science code name: Lama glama. (No, really: That’s the Latin name of the species.) Llamas are used in South America as pack animals, but if their load is heavier than they want , they show it by lying down or spitting. They’re also sometimes used to protect sheep and other livestock from predators. AVA protects the health and welfare of our animal friends by conducting routine inspections and licensing all veterinary surgeons, veterinary centres, … Read moreRead More →