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More Than a Best Friend – Human Animal Connection Programs

Pages from MO_HAC Report_2015_CoverMore Than a Best Friend
Measuring the Impact of Three Ottawa-Based Human-Animal Connection Programs

What value is there to a dog or cat visiting a senior’s residence, sitting with a child as she learns to read, or participating in programs at a facility for teens with mental health issues? How can you help people who are living in poverty by caring for their dogs or cats? What can an animal companion achieve that a human professional cannot?

For animal lovers, the innate value of these activities is assumed. As human-animal connection programs increase in number, however, the need for them to demonstrate value in the broader community increases. There are now over twelve major research facilities around the world that study our complex relationships with animals and numerous animal therapy programs in Canada, alone. This is clearly a growing field worthy of focused exploration.

This report centers on three programs being delivered in the Ottawa Region — Community Veterinary Outreach, the Ottawa Humane Society LEAD Program, and Ottawa Therapy Dogs. Like many initiatives around the world, these organizations work to improve the lives of vulnerable populations by supporting and encouraging interaction and bonding with companion animals. But do these programs actually benefit communities, and if they do, how are they improving lives? In this report, Measuredoutcome.org has gathered data and anecdotal information while providing context through historical and selected research.

To read more, download the full report here:

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