ATLANTA, Dec. 6 /PRNewswire/ — Can pets help keep us healthy? The answerto that question is captured in “A Scientific Look at the Human-Animal Bond,”a compelling white paper that takes a fresh look at scientific proof thatvalidates the therapeutic effects of human-animal relationships.
At a first-of-its-kind educational Summit — “Think PAWSitive” — heldearlier this year in Atlanta, Ga., human-health and animal-health authoritiesjoined together to educate the community about the benefits of interactingwith animals. Sponsored by PAWSitive InterAction, a non-profit alliance ofanimal-loving organizations, the Summit attracted thought leaders and medicalexperts in oncology, psychiatry, veterinary studies and epidemiology todiscuss the profound impact of pets in our lives — and it’s all beendocumented in “A Scientific Look at the Human-Animal Bond.”
The white paper features presentations and findings from Dr. EdwardCreagan, Professor at the Mayo Clinic Medical School, American Cancer SocietyProfessor of Clinical Oncology and The John and Roma Rouse Professor ofHumanism in Medicine, and three other nationally renowned medical authorities:Dr. Alan Beck, Director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at the Schoolof Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University; Dr. Sandra Barker, Professor ofPsychiatry and Director of the Center for Human-Animal Interaction in theSchool of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University; and Dr. Marty Becker,Veterinarian correspondent for ABC-TV’s Good Morning America and author of TheHealing Power of Pets. According to these experts, pets affect physicalhealth in a number of ways: they can help lower blood pressure, lowertriglycerides, and increase heart attack survival.
“We can no longer ignore the medical significance of the bond people havewith their pets,” says Dr. Edward Creagan, who prescribes pets as therapy formany of his cancer patients. “Pets help people cope with the rigors ofprolonged suffering from diseases such as cancer and associated loneliness anddepression.”
As a Human-Animal Bond pioneer, Dr. Alan Beck has long conducted keymedical research, including an important study linking weight gain inAlzheimer’s patients with watching fish in aquariums during meal times.”Interaction with animals stimulates physical reactions that are verynecessary and important in humans.”
In addition to a physical boost, research shows that animal companionshiphas clear psychological benefits in reducing stress and anxiety. According toDr. Sandra Barker, “Research shows that the link between animals and mentalhealth has great therapeutic potential and deserves further examination.”
Every onlooker who has watched a child bond with a pet instinctivelyunderstands the powerful, emotional connection between the two. “Pets andchildren are a natural combination of energy and playfulness,” says Dr. MartyBecker. “The wealth of research on the power of the human-animal bond tellsus one thing: the healing power of pets isn’t anecdotal anymore, butscientific.”
Produced and published by PAWSitive InterAction, Inc., “A Scientific Lookat the Human-Animal Bond” is part of a growing body of scientific evidenceconfirming what many pet owners have long suspected — benefits from animalsextend beyond warmth, companionship and unconditional love, to truly impactthe health and well-being of people.
“The mission of PAWSitive InterAction is to collectively connect thecommunity with resources, expertise and education designed to furtherunderstanding of the positive benefits of interacting with animals,” saysNalini Saligram, Ph.D., PAWSitive InterAction Board Chair and Merial CorporateCommunications Director.
PAWSitive InterAction promotes and celebrates the human-animal bond. Eachmember organization fosters opportunities for people to experience the human-animal bond. Founding members include Zoo Atlanta, Pets Are Loving Support(PALS), Happy Tails Pet Therapy, Atlanta Humane Society, and Merial. For moreinformation, visit http://www.PAWSitiveInterAction.org.