Close up shot of a young person hugging a large Golden Retriever while on a beach.
Human-Animal Interaction
Healthy Animals. Healthy People.
Our vision to integrate veterinary and human health care

Human-animal interaction

Our pets make us healthier. Their company can lower anxiety and stress and bring happiness to pet owners. 

WSU has been a pioneer in human-animal interaction research and how animals promote health. Dr. Leo K. Bustad, veterinarian and dean of the college, created the first human-animal interaction programs in the college and Dr. Jaak Panksepp was known worldwide for his work on the neurobiological basis of emotions.

Today, Dr. Bustad and Dr. Panksepp’s legacies continue through interdisciplinary research with Dr. Phyllis Erdman in the WSU College of Education and college outreach efforts on both sides of the state—Healthy People + Healthy Pets and the One Health Clinic—to offer free health care services to low-income people or people experiencing homelessness and their pets.

Our vision

Looking toward the future, we envision a One Health Center for Excellence as a joint partnership between WSU and the University of Washington to expand our ability to serve people from diverse life experiences and circumstances. The center will build on the research and clinical strengths of the two universities to train veterinary and public health students and foster research to improve health care outcomes for animals and humans.