College of Veterinary Medicine |
The Study of the Human Animal interaction

Healthy Animals, Healthy People, Healthy Planet

The Study of the Human Animal interaction (HAI)

Leo K. Bustad Symposium October 18-20, 2013

The first celebration of the legacy of Dr. Leo K. Bustad to the field of human-animal interaction was held on the WSU campus, October 18-20, 2013. This event was sponsored by the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Education.

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Leo K. Bustad Symposium flyer

It has long been known that the interaction between humans and animals is powerful, and the bond between them can have positive impacts on both humans and animals. The term "human animal interaction" (HAI) is an umbrella term for the study of this dynamic relationship, but is a fairly recent term and applies to all areas of practice and research that include some kind of interaction (i.e., therapy, intervention, assistance) between humans and animals. This includes work that may be identified under more familiar terms, such as animal-assisted therapy, animal assisted activities, or human/animal bond. Fine (2010) refers to human animal interaction as being in the early stages of development, and only recently gaining credibility within national funding agencies. We believe it is a field that is growing and providing new and exciting possibilities for research and practice. For further information on how to become involved in this work at WSU, see below for related links, areas of foci, and faculty affiliated with various aspects of the study of human animal interaction.

Community Outreach - We offer several different programs throughout the community

Path to Success: An Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Program (Fall and Spring semesters)

PATH to Success is an equine assisted growth and learning program that is directed at healthy youth development. It was developed at Washington State University (WSU) by Sue Jacobson (Director of the People Pet Partner-ship program in the College of Veterinary Medicine) and Phyllis Erdman (Associate Dean in the College of Education) in the fall of 2008. It began as an extension of the Palouse Area Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) program at WSU, which is a Premier Accredited Center of the the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl) (previously North American Riding for the Handicapped Association [NARHA]). PATH was established in 1979 to provide recreational, therapeutic horseback riding lessons for youth and adults with disabilities.

The goal of PATH to Success is to enhance children's social competency and well-being and consists of weekly after-school sessions. We work with PATH horses to help children develop better communication and leadership skills, greater self-awareness and esteem, and positive approaches to cope with life stress.

Path to Success: A Shared Journey (Summer program)

In the summer of 2011, we offered our first summer program, entitled Path to Success: A Shared Journey. This is a two-week program designed to work with parent/child teams to help them work on shared goals, including better communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, and responding to stress. Each team will work closely with one of our four gentle equine partners that are part of our WSU PATH/Path to Success programs. Activities will include primarily ground work with the horses, such as observing and learning about herd dynamics, learning how to walk together and lead the horse through obstacle courses, and working together with their horse to understand horse and human communication. Additionally, there will be non-equine activities, such as relationship building, communication exercises, self-awareness activities, and group processing.

Path to Success Web page
Meet Our Equine Partners

Academic Coursework

We currently have two courses that cover topics relevant to human-animal interaction (HAI), which is an area of study that cuts across many disciplines, including Veterinary Medicine, Counseling, and Animal Science. Our goal, in the near future, is to create a group of related courses that will count toward a cognate or certificate in HAI. These two courses are the first to be offered toward that goal. There are also opportunities for independent study and thesis/dissertation work for graduate students on various topics of animal assisted therapy, as well as opportunities for students to complete service learning requirements, usually as part of their undergraduate work. See examples of graduate student work below with an asterisk.

students displaying posters
students displaying posters

Pet Loss Hotline and Human Bereavement - VetMed 596/CoPsy 596 - This is a 1-credit class, offered every fall and spring, for graduate students and serves as a practicum for veterinary students. The course is based on the premise that companion animals are often seen as family members and their loss is a major life event. Students learn about the issues surrounding euthanasia of a pet, and how to help people make end of life decisions in ways to mitigate guilt and regret. Veterinary students are paired with second year counseling students, who work together as a team in helping clients process grief and loss issues. In addition to the didactic training, students work together on the Pet Loss Hotline, taking calls from clients around the country. Students put their training into practice to strengthen and solidify understanding of the process of healing from loss. Pet Loss Hotline Website

Reverence for Life - VetMed 505/CoPsy 523 - This is a 1-credit research seminar, offered in the spring, where various topics on the interactions between living beings, especially between humans and animals, and the use of animals in Western societies are discussed from an interdisciplinary perspective (veterinarian, animal science, counseling, animal ethics, human development, etc). The course is also designed to develop and enhance the students' ability to lead and be involved in discussions and answer questions using scientific information, educate colleagues, research the scientific literature, and do professional presentations. Students will develop a poster to be presented at a WSU symposium.

Research

We were involved in a collaborative experimental study funded by NIH with Patricia Pendry, Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development, the College of Education, and the People/Pet Partnership Program in the College of Veterinary Medicine to measure the effects of PATH to Success, a 12-week, equine-assisted growth and learning program, on the physical and mental health of 5-8th grade children and the physiological pathways underlying these effects. Some of the results of that study are listed below, and more are forthcoming.

Students and faculty presenting HAI research at the WSU Academic Showcase, 2014

students and faculty displaying posters
students and faculty displaying posters
students and faculty displaying posters
students and faculty displaying posters

Publications 

  • Pendry. P. & *Roeter, S.M. (2013). Experimental Trial Demonstrates Positive Effects of Equine Facilitated Growth and Learning on Child Social Competence. Journal of Human Animal Interaction. Human -Animal Interaction Journal, 1(1), 1-19
  • Pendry, P. (2013). Effects of equine facilitated learning on child development. Strides. Bi-monthly publication of the Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship International.
  • Pendry, P., *Roeter, S.M., *Smith, A.N., Jacobson, S., Erdman, P. (2013). Trajectories of Positive and Negative Behavior during Participation in Equine Facilitated Learning Program for Horse-Novice Youth. Journal of Extension, 51(1), 1R1B5.
  • *Carr, A. & Pendry, P. (2012). Effects of Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Activities on Individual Growth in Positive and Negative Behavior of 5th Through 8th Graders. Poster presented at the Annual CAHNRS Undergraduate Research Fair, WSU, Pullman, WA, April, 2012.* Winner of 2nd prize Best Research Presentation.
  • *Madden, L.A., Keen, K.A., Mills, P., Newman, J., Martin, F., Newberry, R.C. (2011). Participation in 4-H dog clubs is associated with emotional intelligence and positive attitude towards companion animals. P. 34 in ISAZ International Society for Anthrozoology 20th Anniversary Human Animal Interactions: Challenges and Rewards, August 4-6, 2011, Indianapolis IN, ISAZ Program Book
  • Jacobson, S., & Erdman, P. (2011). WSU's Striker wins 2010 NARHA equine of the year award. Animal Human Interaction: Research and Practice Newsletter (Section 13 of Div 17, Society of Counseling Psychology - APA), January, 2011.
  • Erdman, P., Jacobson, S., & Pendry, P. (2010). PATH….To Success: An equine assisted growth and learning program. Animal Human Interaction: Research and Practice Newsletter (Section 13 of Div 17, Society of Counseling Psychology - APA), Summer 2010, p. 14-15
  • Martin, F. and Taunton, A. (2006). Perceived importance and integration of the human-animal bond in private veterinary practice. JAVMA, 228 (4), 522-527.
  • Glover, S. and Martin, F. (2006). Veterinary Students' Attitudes toward Companion Animals' Legal Status. International Society for Anthrozoology Annual Conference. Barcelona, Spain.
  • Martin, F. (2006). Integrating Virtual Animals in Humane Education Curricula: The Experience of the College of Veterinary Medicine at WSU. Building Just, Diverse and Democratic Communities. Society for the Study of Social Problems 56th Annual Meeting. Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • Martin, F. and Taunton, A. E. (2006). Human-Animal Bond, Veterinary Practice and Veterinary Education: Contradictory Input from Practitioners in the State of Washington. 143rd AVMA Annual Convention. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
  • Martin, F. (2005). When the Human-Animal Bond Meets Technology: People-Pet Partnership Online Curriculum. 59th Annual NAE4-HA Conference. Seattle, WA, USA.
  • Coultis, D. and Martin, F. (2005). Integrating the Human-Animal Bond in Veterinary Medicine: The People-Pet Partnership Model. Symposium on the Relationship between Humans and Animals. Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kitasoto University, Japan.
  • Glover, S., Martin, F. and Taunton, A. E. (2005). Human-Animal Bond: Implications for the Practice of Veterinary Medicine as Reflected in Perceptions of Practitioners, Owners' Expectations and the Law. International Society for Anthrozoology Annual Conference. Niagara, NY. USA.
  • Martin, F. and Taunton, A. E. (2005). Introducing humane education though technology and virtual animals. International Society for Anthrozoology Annual Conference. Niagara, NY. USA.
  • Martin, F. and Taunton, A. E. (2005). Perceptions on Human-Animal Bond (HAB) education and the role of the HAB in private practice by veterinarians in Washington state. International Society for Anthrozoology Annual Conference. Niagara, NY. USA.
  • Martin, F. and Taunton, A. (2005). Perceptions of the human-animal bond in veterinary education by veterinarians in Washington state: Structured versus experiential learning. JVME, 32 (4), 523-530.
  • Martin, F., Taunton, A., and Paznokas, L. (2005). Who let the dog in? Virtual animals as science teaching assistants. CESI Science, 38 (2), 22-27.

  • *Ellsworth, L. M., Tragesser, S., Newberry, R. C. (2013). Interactions with dogs improve affective states of adolescents in substance abuse treatment. Podium presentation scheduled for the 22nd Annual International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ), Evidence-based Approaches to the Study of Human-Animal Interactions: Past, Current, and Future Research Directions, Chicago, IL.
  • *Ellsworth, L. M., Tragesser, S., Newberry, R. C. (2013). Interactions with dogs improve affect of adolescents in substance abuse treatment. Poster presentation at the 2013 Academic Showcase, Washington State University, Pullman, WA.
  • *Bayly, D. *Craft, S., *Reiger,K., & *Urquhart, G. (2013) Veterans' perceptions, knowledge and attitudes towards Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and applications for an equine-assisted treatment program. Poster session scheduled for American Psychological Association Conference, (Div 17, Society for Human Animal Interaction Section), Hawaii.
  • *Bayly, D.,*Craft, S., *Urquhart, G, *Rieger, K, & Erdman, P. (2013). Veterans' perceptions, knowledge and attitudes towards PTSD and its treatment. WSU Academic Showcase, Poster Session, Pullman, WA, March 2013.
  • *Caro, B., *Rieger, K. *Marco, L., & Erdman, P. (2013). Assessing attitudes toward animal assisted therapy among students and faculty in APA accredited programs. Poster session scheduled for American Psychological Association Conference, (Div 17), Hawaii.
  • Erdman, P. and Kogan, L. (2013). Bridging between professionals: Bringing empirical legitimacy to the human animal interactions field. Symposium scheduled for Division 17 (Society for Human Animal Interaction section), American Psychological Association Conference, Hawaii.
  • Pendry. P. (March 5, 2013). Equine facilitated learning and Child Stress. Annual Meeting of the British Equine Forum, London, England.
  • Pendry, P., & *Carr, A. M. (2013). Cortisol Levels and Momentary Emotion Influence Behavior of Adolescents During Equine Facilitated Learning Program. Poster symposium accepted for the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development, Seattle, Washington, April, 2013.
  • *Roeter, S., & Pendry. P. (2013). Effects of an 11-week equine facilitated learning program on child engagement coping. Poster accepted to the 2013 Society for Research on Child Development Biennial Meeting, Seattle, Washington, April, 2013.
  • Pendry. P., *Smith, A.N., & *Roeter, S.M. (2013). Effects of Equine Facilitated Learning on Diurnal Patterns of Child Cortisol. Poster accepted to the 2013 Society for Research on Child Development Biennial Meeting, Seattle, Washington, April, 2013.
  • Pendry, P.,* Smith, A. M., & *Roeter, S. M. (2013). Associations between momentary emotion, basal cortisol production and reactivity, and observed behavior in a sample of normal and at-risk 5th through 8th grade children during their first mounted equine facilitated learning activity. Paper presentation at the Triennial International Conference of the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations, Chicago, Illinois, July, 2013.
  • Erdman, P. & Ruby, K. (2012) Building a bridge: Counseling and veterinary professionals collaborate to support clients through bereavement. Washington Counseling Association Annual Conference, Spokane, WA, October 2012.
  • Erdman, P. & Jacobson, S. (2012) Parents, children, and horses: A path to success. Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International Conference, Seattle, WA, November 2012.
  • Erdman, P. & Jacobson, S.(2011). Kids and Horses: Sharing the Path to Success and Learning. Roundtable discussion at COE Research Showcase, October, 14, 2011.
  • Madden, L.A., Keen, K.A., Mills, P., Newman, J., Martin, F., Newberry, R.C. (October 27, 2011). Participation in 4-H dog clubs is associated with self-esteem and positive attitude towards companion animals. Poster presentation conducted at the 13th Annual WSU College of Veterinary Medicine Student Research Symposium, Pullman, WA. * 3rd place winner in Category 2. http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/StudentResearch/symposium2011/index.aspx.
  • Pendry, P. *Roeter, S.M., *Smith, A., Jacobson, S. & Erdman, P. (2012). Experimental Trial Demonstrates Positive Effects of Equine Facilitated Growth and Learning on Child Social Competence. WSU Academic Showcase, Poster Session, Pullman, WA, March, 2012.
  • Pendry. P, & *Roeter, S. (2012). Effects of Equine Assisted Activities on Child Social Competence and Behavior. Bi-Annual Conference of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Vancouver, Canada, March, 2012.
  • *Roeter, S.M., *Smith, A., *Montgomery, A., Erdman, P, Jacobson, S. & Pendry, P. (2012). Trajectories of Adolescents' Behavioral Change in a 11-week equine facilitated leaning program. Poster presentation conducted at the WSU Wiley Research Exposition, Pullman, WA, February, 2012.* Winner of best poster presentation.
  • Pendry. P, & *Roeter, S., & Jacobson, S. (2011). Effects of Equine Assisted Activities on Child Social Competence and Behavior. Presentation conducted at the Annual Conference of the Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship, Lexington, KY, October, 2011.
  • Pendry, P., *Roeter, S. & Henderson, F.M. (2011). How to incorporate measurement of physiological stress into equine assisted programs? Presentation conducted at the 8th Annual Gathering on Equine-Assisted Learning and Mental Health Best Practices, Mayer, AZ, May, 2011.
  • Pendry, P. (2011). Equine assisted growth and learning, physiological stress and child development. Presentation conducted at the Center for the Study of Animal Well-Being, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, April, 2011.

Research and Grants

Ruby, K., Erdman, P., Bayly, D., Gotch, C. , The impact of interdisciplinary instruction in mindfulness on clinical communication empathy scores in student health professionals. WSU, College of Veterinary Medicine Educational Research Grant, 2013.

Pendry, P.
N5R03 HD066590-02/$100,000.00)IR R03/Human-animal Interaction and Child Development
5R03 HD066590-02/$100,000.00
Efficacy Trial of Equine Assisted Counseling on Child Competence and Stress
(2010-2013)

Graduate Student Grant, Washington State University Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program, 05/16/12-12/31/12.Newberry, R.C. (PI), Madden, L. (Graduate Student, co-PI), Tragesser, S. (co-PI). Effects of human-animal interactions on affect and empathy of adolescents in substance abuse treatment.

Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, 2008-2011. Slinker, B., Newberry, R., Mills, P., Newman, J. Development of a national animal-assisted education curriculum.

WSU Faculty affiliated with the study of HAI

Phyllis Erdman
Sue Jacobson
Patricia Pendry
A.G. Rud
Jaak Panskepp
Ruth Newberry
Sylvie Cloutier
Bryan Slinker
Darcy Miller
Pauline Mills
Samantha Swindell
Tracy Skaer

Non-WSU faculty affiliated with the study of HAI

Alan Beck
   Purdue University
Dr. Nancy Gee
   SUNY Fredonia
Tia Hansen
   Aalborg University
Brinda Jegatheesan
   University of Washington
Lori Kogan
   Colorado State University
Philip Tedeschi
   University of Denver

Washington State University