The Human-Animal Bond | HABRI
Last week at BlogPaws, I was fortunate to meet the folks from HABRI, a research foundation whose mission is to study the benefits of the human-animal bond for pet and human health. HABRI stands for Human Animal Bond Research Initiative and their vision is to “demonstrate that pets and animals make the world a better place”.
The organization was formed in 2010 and funded by 3 founding sponsors: American Pet Products Association (APPA), PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. and Zoetis (formerly the animal health business of Pfizer). HABRI now has over twelve Contributing Sponsors funding their research efforts and they also accept private donations.
What is HABRI?
HABRI is an online hub for researchers, veterinarians, pet owners and anyone interested in the human-animal bond and how it impacts our health as well as the health of our animals. They fund research into a variety of topics designed to investigate and advance our understanding about the animals in our lives and their impact on human health and longevity.
HABRI recently awarded grants for five research studies:
- Assisted Social Skills Training for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- The Canines and Childhood Cancer Study: Examining Behaviors and Stress in Therapy Dogs
- Long Term Effects of Pet Dogs on Families with Children with Autism
- The Role of Dog Walking in Heart Health Promotion
- Facilitated Group Psychotherapy (EFGP) for Trauma Survivors: Horses and Humans in Therapeutic Relation
What does HABRI have to do with SlimDoggy?
Well, item # 4 on that list looks pretty interesting to us. We know that dog walking is good for the dog and we are excited they are going to study the impact of walking the dog on OUR health. We are certainly convinced our dogs help us stay healthy. People joke all the time, saying “If your dog is fat, then you aren’t getting enough exercise”, but it’s absolutely true. One of our favorite SlimDoggy sayings (and t-shirt slogan), is “Get off your butt, workout with your mutt”. We know that dogs are a strong motivator to a healthy lifestyle.
In addition, one of the coolest things about HABRI is the huge database they’ve created at HABRICentral.org. In conjunction with Purdue University, they have spent years gathering information related to the study of the human-animal bond including, books, research papers, articles, studies, multi-media materials – thousands of resources on this important topic. Since I’m a librarian by training, having ready access to this wealth of information is a dream come true.
HABRI is also a community and you can create your own mini-HABRI right on the HabriCentral website. I’ve created my Profile and plan to use it going forward for a new series we’re contemplating designed to explore the work of HABRI and the impact of animals on our health. Stay-tuned for more on that.
The following is the introductory speech given by HABRI Executive Director, Steven Feldman and a presentation on “Pets in the Family: Impact on Human Health – Zooeyia” by Dr. Kate Hodgson, DVM, MHSc, CCMEP. (Fast-forward to 8:45 mark for the opening introductions.)