The Human-Animal Bond | HABRI

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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”.
habrilogoThe 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:

  1. Assisted Social Skills Training for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  2. The Canines and Childhood Cancer Study: Examining Behaviors and Stress in Therapy Dogs
  3. Long Term Effects of Pet Dogs on Families with Children with Autism
  4. The Role of Dog Walking in Heart Health Promotion
  5. 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 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.

In the meantime, I recommend that you check out the HABRI and HABRICentral site. I expect it will be a good resource for you.

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.)


We are joining the Thursday Barks and Bytes Blog Hop Co-hosted by our friends at 2Brown Dogs and Heart Like a Dog. Grab the badge and join the fun!



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  1. That was in interesting session. Bailie and I both took it in with Mom. We hope that her heart stays good and strong forever having so many dogs! One thing we wonder, is if it helps the human heart, does it help the dog heart. We do know that the vet always says that despite the various issues, Katie has a really strong heart. Because of this, we think the heart/walking/fitness bonding works both ways. Time for our morning run. Today is Bailie’s first time out on a run.
    Emma recently posted…Snuggle Bug Pup Seeks Perfect Pet Parent | #BestDogEverMy Profile

    • I’m convinced that all of the same cardio benefits apply to the dog as well as the human. How exciting for Bailie – let us know how she does.
      mkob recently posted…The Human-Animal Bond | HABRIMy Profile

  2. I think it helps with older people, too. I know my Mom’s dog was one of the only reason’s she got out of the house after my Dad died. She had no fenced yard, so she had to leave the house to walk her dog and it helped. I know another widow in my neighborhood that has to leave morning and night to walk her dog and it makes a huge difference to have that connection and reason to get out and move.
    Bailey recently posted…Frisbee FunMy Profile

    • Absolutely – socialization is required when you have to get the dog out. Glad it helped your mom.
      mkob recently posted…The Human-Animal Bond | HABRIMy Profile

  3. Very interesting – I’ve never heard of HABRI and I’ll have to check them out more! I’ve read in a few different places that dog owners are generally more active and have lower blood pressure, so it’s good that there’s more research going into this.
    Jen K recently posted…Walking My Reactive Dog: Part 2My Profile

    • There are so many areas where animals benefit us – not just dogs either – so it is pretty interesting.
      mkob recently posted…The Human-Animal Bond | HABRIMy Profile

  4. Very cool group, thanks for sharing the links – I’m heading over now to check out some of their studies.

  5. I was intrigued with the facts and figures delivered during their keynote address. As a pet parent, I think most of us feel our pets “do our bodies good”but it was nice to hear scientific research backs us on it. Bark More, Growl Less Barking from the Bayou!
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…What Can You Learn at a BlogPaws Conference?My Profile

  6. Thank you for joining the blog hop!! Very interesting. My walking has increased due to Sampson’s injury which means I’ve just about doubled my daily exercise. I do hope it’s helping my heart because it definitely is NOT helping my waist! 😛

    I personally think having pets can really help with anxiety or stress issues, when I’ve had a bad day, I just want to spend time with my pups and let their zest for life rub off on me. 🙂
    Jodi recently posted…Spam be Damned!My Profile

    • I’m so glad you mentioned the anti-anxiety effect! I know my pets feed off my energy when I’m working from home. If I start to get overly anxious about a deadline or something that’s going haywire, they know and the noise level starts to rise. The contact calls my parrots each have to find out “where I am” and if I’m okay start going off and I realize I’m sending negative signals. It’s also very calming to sit down and give scritches and beak rubs to a happy parrot–there’s nothing quite like that trust and affection to take away the cares of the day!
      Sandy Lender recently posted…HUGE Thank Yous All AroundMy Profile

    • I hear you – that’s what I do at the end of a long day too…luxuriate in Jack’s adoration 😉
      mkob recently posted…The Human-Animal Bond | HABRIMy Profile

  7. I’m intrigued by the research HABRI is doing and pleased to see you promoting it. I believe in the human-animal bond because I see it in my life every day. Because my companions are birds, my exercise with them is a bit different (cleaning trays, lifting perches, hanging toys from the ceiling, etc.), but there are always ways to educate owners on exercising or working out with their pets. Your post has my brain churning with ideas! Thank you for sharing.
    Sandy Lender recently posted…HUGE Thank Yous All AroundMy Profile

    • Glad we got you thinking. We’d love to share your ideas on our blog if you’d like!
      mkob recently posted…The Human-Animal Bond | HABRIMy Profile

  8. I will read more about HABRI, I think the vision “demonstrate that pets and animals make the world a better place” is worth to read more.
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog TORTURE TUESDAYMy Profile

  9. Thanks for posting the video! I missed the session, and sadly, I missed out on meeting you too!
    Kari recently posted…Do dogs need rules?My Profile

    • Oh no, you were there…sorry we didn’t connect. They need to have like a speed dating time set aside.
      mkob recently posted…The Human-Animal Bond | HABRIMy Profile

  10. Thanks for the HABRI reminder! I’m fascinated to see what they’re finding about autistic children and dogs. My circle of friends leans in that direction.
    Flea recently posted…The Bar Soap ReviewMy Profile

  11. WOW! What a powerful presentation! Long — for me at least — but well worth sitting through!! Thanks for sharing it! While I don’t have the time right now, I do plan to check this out in more depth. I wholeheartedly believe that our pets are our perfect partners … their love and acceptance are unconditional and more therapeutic than even a great massage.
    Sue recently posted…Just Chilling OutMy Profile

  12. Will definitely check them out!
    Misaki recently posted…I’ve got an ouchieMy Profile

  13. I think it’s great there is an organization researching this. I think there is so much more to dogs than just being a family pet. I know that mine keep me far more active than I would be otherwise.
    Jan K recently posted…Thoughtless Thursday – or Random Thoughts?My Profile

  14. Very cool will have to check them out.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Thursday Barks And Bites~Blog Friends MeetMy Profile

  15. Thanks so much for joining the hop. Habri sounds very interesting. That data base looks like a great resource.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Cooling OffMy Profile

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