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  Subjects -> ANIMAL WELFARE (Total: 103 journals)
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People and Animals : The International Journal of Research and Practice
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 2575-9078
Published by Purdue University Homepage  [13 journals]
  • An International Survey of Animals in Schools: Exploring What Sorts of
           Schools Involve What Sorts of Animals, and Educators’ Rationales for
           These Practices

    • Authors: Helen Lewis et al.
      Abstract: Over recent decades, the use of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) in educational settings has attracted growing international interest both among educators and the research community. However, there has been little comparative analysis of the demographics of participants and the rationale behind such practices. The aim of this paper is to address this. An anonymous online questionnaire was distributed via social media and other networks. Quanti-tative and qualitative data were collected from 610 participants across 23 countries, mostly from the United Kingdom and North America. In total, 315 (51.6%) participants reported involving animals in their settings. The results show that although animals featured from preschool to adult education contexts, the primary school years (5–11) accounted for 60% of responses. More than 30 different species were reported, with dogs being the most popular. The overriding reason educators give for involving animals is the perception that they make an important contribution to children’s well-being. Practices around the involvement of dogs provide a focus for discussion. The research breaks new ground in highlighting commonalities and contrasts in school demographics associated with the involvement of animals across a range of international contexts. It also points to a consensus around the perceived well-being benefits for children of such interventions. For practitioners, the paper has value in prompting reflection on the need for a clear rationale before embarking on such an intervention, and highlights practical considerations needed before bringing an animal into an educational setting. The paper also suggests potential areas for future research, relating to possible benefits for and agency of the animals who are involved.
      PubDate: Tue, 01 Nov 2022 20:10:35 PDT
  • Exploring Children’s Insights about Participating in Recreational
           Activities with Horses and Farm Animals: Social Emotional Experiences and
           Belief in Animal Mind

    • Authors: Chrstine Yvette Tardif-Williams Dr. et al.
      Abstract: Research continues to shed light on the impact of children’s interactions with horses in equine-assisted, learning, and therapeutic contexts. However, we know relatively less about the impact of children’s recreational activities with horses and a diversity of farm animals. What is needed is research that explores how recreational programs involving activities with horses and farm animals are perceived by the child participants themselves. This pilot study sought to explore the insights of children who participated in a nine-week recreational program involving activities with horses and farm animals, with a focus on children’s social emotional experiences and belief in animal mind, which involves attributing to animals the ability to think, feel, and experience emotions. Prior to beginning the nine-week program and upon its conclusion, we interviewed eight children (5 girls; 3 boys; aged 9 to 11 years) who were referred to the pro-gram because they were living in socioeconomically disadvantaged homes. Children responded to open-ended questions about their belief in animal mind and social emotional experiences. Salient themes in children’s responses prior to and following their participation in the program were identified using qualitative content analysis. Overall, children’s responses revealed new insights into animal minds and positive social emotional experiences following their participa-tion in the program. Children’s responses also revealed the following themes as key aspects of their experience in the program: (1) new opportunities and interest in the program, (2) feeling more confident with horses and farm animals, (3) new social opportunities and support, and (4) sadness that the program was ending. These findings hold significance for human–animal interaction practitioners and educators interested in supporting children’s positive social and emotional experiences and stimulating children’s belief in animal mind and knowledge of and respect for the needs of diverse animals.
      PubDate: Tue, 01 Nov 2022 20:10:27 PDT
  • “My Companion Through The Pandemic”: The Importance of the
           Human-Animal Bond During COVID-19

    • Authors: Christine Krouzecky et al.
      Abstract: The COVID- 19 pandemic, due to its global biopsychosocial effects, encourages re-search regarding the promotion of health. Studies in this area concentrate on the human–animal bond as a source of physical and psychological well- being (Shoesmith et al., 2021). In this context, contradictory results have been reported, which on the one hand underline the positive influences of animal companionship on humans’ well- being (Ratschen et al., 2020), and on the other hand demonstrate contrary effects (Mueller et al., 2021). Based on inconsistent findings, the present study aimed to investigate to what extent the human–animal bond influences different psychosocial parameters (including symptoms of depression, quality of life, loneliness, and social support) on a quantitative level as well as on a qualitative level. For this purpose, animal caregivers and non–animal caregivers were surveyed online and statistically compared based on quantitative data. Additionally, the personal opinion of animal caregivers regarding the animals’ role during the pandemic was investigated using qualitative content analysis. The results show big differences between personal opinion regarding the meaning of caring for animals during the pandemic (= qualitative data) and the results of standardized measurements (= quantitative data). In this context, statistical evaluation shows no evidence that individuals benefit from the human–animal bond, and moreover, indicates that caring for an animal creates an additional burden. Nevertheless, qualitative evaluation of the personal opinion regarding the meaning of animals during the pandemic shows that most caregivers experience their animals as a positive influence on a biopsychosocial level. Looking into explanations for these results, it might be assumed that according to the “pet effect”—a term that refers to certain benefits individuals experience due to the relationship with their animals (Allen, 2003)—caregivers want to believe that their animals make life better, which is why the personal estimation of the animals’ role is positive.
      PubDate: Mon, 19 Sep 2022 13:05:22 PDT
  • The Effects of Animal- Assisted Therapy on the Health and Well- Being of
           Military Veterans: A Systematic Scoping Review and Recommendations for
           Future Research

    • Authors: Brooke Fonseka et al.
      Abstract: Veterans of the armed forces may have experienced a range of physical and psychological traumas during their service, which can lead to long-standing problems with health and well-being, sometimes compounded with challenges accessing and engaging with support. Animal-assisted therapies (AAT) may offer an engaging, holistic approach that could be helpful for the veteran population. The aim of this scoping review is to examine the existing research on the effects of AAT on the health and well-being of veterans.Method: The databases EMBASE (OVID), Web of Science, Cinahl, Cochrane and Medline were searched in October 2020. Articles were screened against inclusion / exclusion criteria (based around language, accessibility, inclusion of veterans, use of AAT) and critically appraised using MMAT v.2018. Data were extracted and analyzed qualitatively.Results: Thirteen articles met the inclusion criteria. The studies showed heterogeneity in design and delivery, including nature of interaction with the animal; therapy duration; goals assigned to each session; and type and number of staff present. The most common animals used were horses, then dogs. The most evaluated health outcomes were post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, depression symptoms and change in quality of life. Short-term results included lower scores on the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 and PTSD checklist. Where assessed, participants enjoyed the therapy programs.Conclusion: This review reveals that currently, clear conclusions on the efficacy of AAT are lacking due to the heterogeneity of programs, session characteristics, small sample sizes and methodological limitations. AAT does appear to show promise, particularly for the short term treatment of psychosocial problems of veterans, but this needs more systematic, robust research and the development of protocols to establish cost effectiveness, feasibility and manualizable protocols.
      PubDate: Tue, 13 Sep 2022 10:40:38 PDT
  • Farmyard Animal or Best Friend' Exploring Predictors of Dog vs. Pig
           Pet Speciesism

    • Authors: Sarah Gradidge et al.
      Abstract: Despite dogs’ and pigs’ shared similarities, previous research indicates people favor dogs over pigs (known as “pet speciesism”). While pet speciesism has been empirically sup-ported, little is known about its predictors. This gap in the literature is problematic as urgent requirements to decrease meat consumption emphasize the pressing need to develop interventions to reduce pet speciesism and thus reduce meat consumption. However, to develop these interventions, we must first identify why people view pigs (vs. dogs) negatively. To begin addressing this gap, the current study utilized the stereotype content model to uniquely explore pet speciesism’s predictors. We recruited participants via social media, posters, flyers, and the university’s Sona system, resulting in a total of 232 participants (all 18+; Mage = 28.57, SDage = 10.74; 61.2% meat consumers; 78.4% female; 45.3% British). Behavioral and subjective self- relevance, familiarity, similarity and pet status of an animal, alongside overall empathy toward animals, differentially predicted dogs’ and pigs’ perceived warmth and competence and may usefully explain pet speciesism. These predictors should be investigated causally in experiments. Both the current study and later experiments could explain why people exhibit prejudice in favor of dogs and against pigs, with unique theoretical implications for pet speciesism literature and practical implications for meat consumption, policies, and public perceptions of pigs.
      PubDate: Tue, 13 Sep 2022 10:40:29 PDT
  • Making the Case: Adding a Social Work Perspective to a Case Study in a
           Veterinary Practice

    • Authors: Paula Gerstenblatt et al.
      Abstract: This article describes a case study exploration of a veterinary practice from the perspective of social work. Recognizing the stressful work of veterinary providers, including compassion fatigue and high suicide rates, the current study identified both a need for and the potential role of social workers in veterinary practice. Professionals were interviewed in an emergency/specialty practice. Using the interview data, the authors built a demonstrative case that underlines the vulnerability of veterinary professionals and the potential of social work to improve the quality of their work experiences and longevity.
      PubDate: Tue, 13 Sep 2022 10:35:25 PDT
  • Stakeholders’ Perspectives on the Safety of an Adaptive Riding Program
           for Adults Living with Dementia and Care Partners

    • Authors: Alicia A. Oestreich et al.
      Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative community-based participatory research was to explore the safety perspectives of stakeholders involved in an adaptive horseback riding program designed to enhance the quality of life of adults living with dementia and their care partners. Human–animal interactions are becoming increasingly popular therapeutic interventions; however, there is still a lack of understanding about the safety considerations for providing adults living with dementia opportunities to interact with horses and the equine environment. To advance our understanding, researchers analyzed 10 semistructured interviews and two focus groups with therapeutic riding program instructors and staff, aging network specialists, and care partners of adults living with dementia. The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International’s Core Standards served as a framework for analyzing main themes that emerged. Regarding administration and business, stakeholders expressed the need for enrollment procedures, such as screening to determine riding eligibility, comfort around horses, functional capacities, and clearance by their doctor to ride. In relation to facility and equine management, stakeholders shared questions about accessibility, including mounting procedures, space and equipment considerations, and horse training. Information gleaned from this study may help researchers, instructors, and community stakeholders develop optimal safety practices and, in turn, provide reassurance to facilitate expansion of these services, offering more opportunities to safely enhance the quality of life of adults living with dementia and their care partners.
      PubDate: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 07:55:25 PDT
  • Mothers’ Reflections on Cat Ownership for a Child with Autism Spectrum
           Disorder During COVID-19

    • Authors: Saskia Keville et al.
      Abstract: Animal- assisted interventions are increasingly used as a complementary therapy in clinical practice to support people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with promising outcomes compared to traditional therapies. Less is understood about the therapeutic benefits of more accessible and affordable small pet ownership for families with a child with ASD, alongside the pets’ welfare living in these homes. This study explored the experiences of cat ownership for young people with ASD from the perspective of their mothers during a time of transition generated by COVID-19. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six mothers and transcripts analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis. Three themes were identified: “Sensory benefits with heightened emotions,” “Special bond between cat and child,” and “Learning through the relationship.” The results highlighted how cat ownership benefited cat and child, encouraging empathy and responsibility skills in children with ASD through the development of a reciprocated relationship between child and cat, while also providing a nurturing home environment for the cats in this study. The relationship and physical presence of each other provided sensory stimulation, a calming influence, and companionship for the children. In conclusion, cats with a sociable and easygoing temperament demonstrated multiple therapeutic benefits for children with ASD and should be considered as an accessible complementary home- based therapy for caregivers who are able to offer a nurturing home to a cat. Cats have the potential to play an important role in a family’s life, particularly for parents managing additional demands and whose children experience sensory overload while outside. Given the importance of cat ownership for children with ASD in this study, this could enhance engagement with clinical practitioners through a shared cat-focused dialogue benefiting the wider development and well- being of children with ASD and their families.
      PubDate: Tue, 05 Jul 2022 09:45:24 PDT
  • Interactions Between Sex and Pet Ownership on Attitudes Toward Children

    • Authors: Aya Dudin et al.
      Abstract: Background: Many people are attached to their pets. This attachment shares characteristics with the parental attachment to children. Previous studies have established a sex difference in attitudes about children; women compared to men report more positive attitudes about children. However, whether this sex difference is attenuated by owning and caring for pet(s) has not been investigated. Methods: In a sample of non-parents, we investigated the following: (1) whether the established main effect of sex on attitudes about children was moderated by pet ownership using a 2 (male, female) x 2 (pet owner, non–pet owner) design; and (2) whether the established main effect of sex on attitudes about children was moderated by lifetime experiences caring for pets using hierarchical multiple linear regression models. Data was collected via online survey of a community sample (n = 173). Results: We found that compared to females, males had more negative reactions to children and childcare (NRC). However, a significant sex by current pet ownership interaction revealed that current pet ownership eliminated the sex difference on NRC; males’ NRC scores were similar to females’ scores exclusively among people who currently owned a pet. Further, regression analyses revealed that the relationship between sex and NRC was moderated by the extent of lifetime experiences caring for pets. This effect was driven by males but not females; compared to males with low levels of lifetime experiences caring for pets, males with high levels of lifetime experiences caring for pets had less NRC. Conclusion: Taken together, these results provide the first reported evidence of the positive association between current pet ownership/lifetime experiences caring for pets and more favorable attitudes about children and childcare in non-parent males, but not in non-parent females.
      PubDate: Tue, 05 Jul 2022 09:40:27 PDT
  • Understanding Psychiatric Patients’ Experience of Virtual
           Animal-Assisted Therapy Sessions during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    • Authors: Haley Scheck et al.
      Abstract: Canine animal-assisted therapy (AAT) can improve the mental health and well-being of incarcerated individuals. An in-person AAT program has been offered at the Regional Psychiatric Center (RPC) in Saskatoon, Canada, since 2014 with St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program (SJATDP) dog and handler teams. The program transitioned, for the first time, to a virtual format with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. This exploratory research examines whether and how a virtual offering of AAT at RPC can provide positive benefits to forensic psychiatric patients. Overall, the findings reveal an understanding of the virtual sessions from patient, handler, and clinician perspectives, including (a) differences between connection in virtual versus in-person facilitation, (b) the role of technology, (c) the unique role of the handler, and benefits for patients, including (d) emotional support, (e) positive effects on mental health, and (f) feelings of hope, normalcy, and deinstitutionalization despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Using an online platform allowed patients who had had preexisting interactions with the therapy dog teams to form or continue their connection/bond and benefit from AAT during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when in-person contact was not possible. Therefore, this research provides support for the use of web-based video conferencing in facilitating AAT sessions with incarcerated psychiatric patients.
      PubDate: Mon, 23 May 2022 07:35:32 PDT
  • A Mixed-Methods Assessment of Human Well-Being Related to the Presence of
           Companion Animals During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    • Authors: Bindi Bennett et al.
      Abstract: COVID-19 and the measures used to curb the pandemic (e.g., lockdowns, isolation) have significantly impacted mental health and well-being. This study sought to investigate the role of companion animals in alleviating stress and improving mental health during the pandemic. In this study, 250 Australian adults completed measures of well-being and life satisfaction, animal dependency, perceived emotional support from animals, and animals’ effect on mood. Employment and living with others were the strongest predictors of positive life satisfaction and well-being, while greater dependency on companion animals for emotional support and companion animals’ negative effects on mood were associated with reduced life satisfaction and well-being. Qualitative data indicated equivocal results with animals a source of both support and stress, pointing to the complex nature of human–animal relationships, particularly during times of considerable stress. These outcomes have significant implications for welfare, as animals perceived to be annoying or disruptive may be at higher risk of abuse, neglect, and behavioral surrendering.
      PubDate: Wed, 13 Apr 2022 10:10:29 PDT
  • Perceptions and Practices of Key Worker Stakeholder Groups in Hospital
           Animal- Assisted Intervention Programs on Occupational Benefits and
           Perceived Risks

    • Authors: Kathryn R. Dalton et al.
      Abstract: Background: Animal-assisted intervention (AAI) programs, used widely for patient benefit, have increasingly been used for healthcare workers (HCW) to reduce occupational stress. However, there are barriers to these programs which limit their utilization, for both patients and HCW, specifically infectious disease concerns. The aim of the research project is to identify barriers and facilitators to AAI program use for healthcare worker benefit, and determine knowledge, beliefs, and practices regarding infectious disease risk and control policies, in order to understand the contextual parameters of program implementation.Methods: We collected perceptions of key stakeholders involved with hospital AAI programs (HCW and AAI workers) through semi-structured in-depth interviews. We used framework analysis to guide thematic coding, completed independently by three researchers.Results: We interviewed 37 participants in this study. We divided our themes into two topic areas: program use for HCW and perceived infectious disease risk. Use for healthcare workers included perspectives on the benefits for HCW and program barriers and facilitators (specifically collaboration and leadership). Perceived risk included opinions on infection concerns with AAI, thoughts on control measures to reduce this risk, and responsibility for safety during these programs.Conclusions: While significant benefits were reported for HCW, they were limited by administrative barriers and hazard concerns. Facilitators to surmount these barriers are best implemented with collaboration across the hospital and appropriate leadership roles to direct safe program implementation. By addressing these barriers through targeted facilitators in the form of evidence-backed guidelines, AAI programs can be used to benefit both patients and HCW.
      PubDate: Fri, 25 Mar 2022 06:30:31 PDT
  • Attachment and Perceived Stress among Pet Owners before and during the
           Lockdown in China

    • Authors: Sara Platto et al.
      Abstract: The current pandemic has brought a lot of social and economic strains to families worldwide, as well as making a huge impact on the long- term care of companion animals. The current study explored differences in the attachment level of owners toward their pets and their perceived stress before and during the pandemic in China. The questionnaire, besides demographic information, included a modified version of the Companion Animal Bonding Scale (CABS) and the original form of the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). A total of 261 questionnaires were collected. The respondents did not show any significant differences in attachment level toward their companion animals before and during the pandemic, nor in relation to the type of pet (dog or cat). The study showed that when pet owners experienced emotional difficulties such as perceived stress/anger and lack of control, the attachment toward their pets was compromised, indicated by an increase of the negative aspects of the bond. These factors also were positively associated with the pandemic and with strict and medium levels of lockdown. Moreover, the pet owners were more likely to sleep with their companion animals when they felt a higher perceived lack of control, and this behavior was higher in women than in men. On the other hand, attachment toward the pets increased when there was more than one animal in the household, and when the respondents had difficulties in providing food supplies to their companion animals. It is critical to understand how companion animals might affect the lives of their owners during times of crisis, in order to provide people with suitable support and to avoid animal abandonment.
      PubDate: Tue, 15 Mar 2022 07:25:25 PDT
  • “Why should the fish feel safe' I don’t feel safe!”: An Audit of
           Pet Ownership within an NHS Service for Adults with Severe Mental Illness,
           with Lessons for Service Improvement

    • Authors: Abigail Alfrey et al.
      Abstract: Background—Several studies have identified that pets can promote mental health, wellness, and recovery. However, little is known about the impact of pet ownership upon those with a severe mental illness (SMI), or whether mental health services are offering sufficient support that is specific to the needs of pet-owning service users. Aims—To identify the proportion of pet owners among an urban, U.K.-based community psychosis service; and to elicit service users’ views on pet ownership, to better understand and support this population’s particular needs. Method—The proportion of pet owners among this sample (n = 212) was compared with U.K. population data using a z-test. Semistructured interviews were conducted with a volunteer subsample of service users (N = 11), and interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to explore their idiographic experiences of pet ownership. Results—The proportion of people with SMI who own pets was significantly lower than the national average. IPA revealed that pet ownership in the context of SMI had both positive and negative influences upon mental health, notions of self and well-being, and social capital. Conclusions—Pet ownership in the context of SMI is complex, and the associated benefits and challenges are best understood at a case-by-case level. Service providers should note that pet ownership can form an important part of service users’ identities and should be actively considered when managing their care. For instance, pets can offer an engaging topic of conversation through which to develop positive, person-centered relationships with service users and can offer an accessible route into more difficult conversations surrounding care and crisis planning.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jan 2022 07:15:39 PST
  • Not So Different as Cats and Dogs: Companionship during the COVID-19

    • Authors: Shelly Volsche et al.
      Abstract: COVID- 19 lockdown provided a unique, in situ opportunity to probe caretaker experiences of living with companion animals during a stressful event. We launched an online survey in the United States that included standard demographic questions, questions related to household structures, and 25 Likert scale questions that probed perceptions of whether and how respondents’ relationships changed during social isolation. This paper uses a subset of that data specific to dog and cat guardians. A principal components analysis and Mann-Whitney U test returned no significant differences between cat and dog guardians on three scales (Scale 1: Psychological Well-being, Scale 2: Bonding, and Scale 3: Companion Animal vs. Family). However, subtle differences emerged on specific items (e.g., “my pet is an extension of me”). We suggest guardian perceptions of species-specific needs and cognitive/emotional capacities may bias relationships with companion animals. Furthermore, we suggest these differences are the result of persistent cultural myths about the differences between cats and dogs.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jan 2022 07:15:31 PST
  • Coding Human-Animal Interactions in Homes of Children with Autism Spectrum

    • Authors: Caitlin Lisk et al.
      Abstract: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized by differences in social functioning, communication, sensory preferences, and behavior. These differences invite an effort to understand the human-animal bond and its impact on families and children with ASD. The purpose of this study was to determine if the Observation of Human-Animal Interaction for Research (OHAIRE) coding tool can be utilized in a home-based setting to code human-animal interactions in children with ASD. The OHAIRE is a coding tool developed to quantify the behavior of children when interacting with social partners and animals in naturalistic settings. The tool has been tested for reliability and validity within structured, community-based settings; however, it has not been used in home-based settings. This study aimed to analyze the feasibility of utilizing the OHAIRE tool in home-based settings. The second aim was to determine if interrater and intrarater reliability could be reached between coders using data from the home-based videos. Nine minutes of video were obtained for the study. Participant-provided video was challenging to obtain and presented some coding challenges as quality differed from training videos. Participant training and incentives may increase usability of home-based video for coding interactions. Interrater reliability agreement was reached between primary and secondary coders ranging from .842 to .888. Intrarater reliability was met with substantial agreement to almost perfect agreement and ranged from .792 to .929. The OHAIRE coding tool is a promising measure of in-home human-animal interactions that may require adaptations for coding home-based interactions. Further research should include testing in home-based settings with larger and more diverse sample sizes.
      PubDate: Tue, 30 Nov 2021 08:30:27 PST
  • If the World Was Ending: Companion Animals and Their Guardians in COVID-19

    • Authors: Yahaira Segarra-González et al.
      Abstract: This research aimed to quantitatively explore various elements related to people living with companion animals during the COVID-19 emergency lockdown in Puerto Rico. Among the variables studied are guardians’ gender, age, animal species, time spent per day with the companion animal, perceived benefits, and attachment level between the person and their companion animal. Matters related to emergency preparedness plans regarding companion animals, changes in the human- animal interactions, and perceived companion animals’ changes during the lockdown were analyzed. Researchers used an online questionnaire for data collection. The sample consisted of participants over 21 years old (n = 3,663) living on the Island during the emergency COVID-19 closure. The results showed statistically significant evidence that, on average, women had higher attachment levels than men and perceived higher benefits from their companion animals during the lockdown. Additionally, findings suggest a moderately significant positive correlation between human–companion animal attachment and guardians’ perceived benefits. Some of the perceived benefits during lockdown and confinement included companionship and unconditional support, a sense of security, relaxation, and the elimination of boredom. Interestingly, the majority reported considering companion animals in their family emergency plans, including having someone who could take care of their companion animals if needed. These and other results are presented, discussed, and contrasted with recent related research, highlighting the similarities and differences in current data, limitations, and future directions. In conclusion, overall, the pandemic allowed more opportunities for positive interaction between people and their companion animals and helped guardians cope better in this novel and vulnerable situation.
      PubDate: Mon, 29 Nov 2021 06:25:19 PST
  • The State of Animal- Assisted Interventions in France: Is the IAHAIO Model

    • Authors: Alice Mignot et al.
      Abstract: Animal- assisted interventions (AAI) became more generalized in health care settings and their development in Europe is increasing. In France, the practice has grown in the absence of official recognition and regulation. In this context, we aim to identify the main characteristics of the French practice of AAI that can influence the establishment of a local regulation. Second, we aim to question the relevance of the model proposed by the International Association of Human- Animal Interaction Organizations (IAHAIO) distinguishing animal- assisted therapies (AAT) and (AAA) animal- assisted activities from the French practice of AAI. We interviewed 111 French handlers in AAI that work with at least one dog through an online questionnaire about their professional backgrounds and the main features of their practices of AAI (characteristics, beneficiaries, and animals). Our results indicated that AAI are at an important moment of expansion and are currently under autonomous regulation. Practices and handlers’ backgrounds are heterogeneous, as well as training centers in AAI, which reflect the fragmentation of the field. This snapshot of the French practice of AAI underlined that regulations should focus first on a mandatory training, a common standard for each training center, and specific guidelines for each pathology and animal species involved. In addition, the influence of handlers’ backgrounds on the type of AAI they practice must be taken into account in regulations. As animals are central in AAI, regulations should focus on their welfare and the certification of dogs to ensure both their safety and the safety of beneficiaries during sessions. Finally, the initial training in the medico- social field seems to influence the practices. Therefore, the common model distinguishing AAT and AAA could be a basis to regulate AAI in France, as in Italy. Indeed, our results underlined that a first categorization between AAI as a professional specialization or an independent profession could be useful. Still, whatever the type of practices, animal and beneficiary welfare should be at the center of regulations in a One Health perspective. As a result, the French government needs to support AAI development such as in other European countries (Sweden, Austria, and Italy) and should collaborate with handlers, organizations, health care facilities, animal professions, and scientists.
      PubDate: Wed, 17 Nov 2021 10:05:41 PST
  • An Exploratory Analysis of Virtual Delivery Alternatives for
           University-Based Animal Assisted Activities During COVID-19

    • Authors: Aleisha Fernandes et al.
      Abstract: Animal-assisted activities (AAAs) are being offered progressively in universities to support students’ well-being. However, with the recent health restrictions due to COVID-19, all classes and health services are being delivered remotely. Due to this, many postsecondary institutions have put a temporary pause on AAAs. Most recently, there has been a growing interest and rise in virtual AAAs being facilitated at universities in North America, which vary in duration, group size, and other organizational elements. Furthermore, prior to the pandemic there was also an interest in collaborative events that sought to combine multiple activities with AAAs. Due to the nature of virtual events, virtual AAAs may require a collaborative component to increase student engagement which should be explored further to determine students’ interest and input into their design. This study surveyed university students at a North American campus, Simon Fraser University, to determine students’ interests and gather input into the design of virtual and collaborative AAAs. It also compared and contrasted the responses of students who have, and have not, participated in AAAs prior to the survey, as well as evaluated students’ experience with virtual AAAs. Students were also asked about their motivations and barriers to in-person AAAs to understand how remote AAAs can address them and use the information gained in their design. Findings suggest students are not interested in virtual AAAs but they did show high interest in collaborative AAAs. Many students showed lack of interest in virtual AAAs due to uncertainty of what virtual AAAs would be like. There were also a variety of motivations and barriers reported by students that may only be applicable to in-person events. Students who have, and have not, participated in AAAs provided similar results. Future research is recommended to pilot a virtual AAA program and evaluate students’ satisfaction afterward to see if remote AAAs should be continued once in-person classes return.
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Nov 2021 07:05:28 PDT
  • Attitude toward Companion and Guard Dogs in Hawaii: Health and Welfare

    • Authors: Lynn Morrison et al.
      Abstract: The island of Hawaii exhibits extremes in dog welfare ranging from dogs as family members to dogs used as commodities, either as guard or hunting dogs, with many lacking appropriate care. This study offers a preliminary exploration of people’s attitudes toward companion and noncompanion dogs and the health and welfare implications for humans and dogs. Data collection included interviews and surveys conducted among 20 companion dog/human and eight guard dog/human dyads. Blood pressure (BP) was monitored during interviews to assess stress. The results of the interview data led to five themes. The first two themes describing contexts of dog welfare and the constraints surrounding advocacy are strongly interrelated. The third theme on the cultural constructs of hunting increases our understanding of attitudes toward dogs in this part of Hawaii. The fourth theme highlights the benefits of having a dog in various settings with the fifth theme outlining participant suggestions for improving the conditions of backyard guard and hunting dogs. Companion dog keepers differed significantly from those who had guard dogs for the Dog Attitude Scale score (F(3,26) = 1.36; p = 0.016) indicating that the companion group had a more positive attitude toward animals. Baseline BP had a statistically significant negative relationship with Animal Attitude Scale score where a one point increase, indicating a positive attitude toward animals, resulted in a 0.35 mmHg decrease in baseline BP (Adj r2=0.19; F(3,27)=3.34; p < 0.05).
      PubDate: Tue, 19 Oct 2021 07:02:31 PDT
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