International experts in human-animal studies announced as new Fellows at the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace Leadership Institute

With the creation of the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace Leadership Institute in 2017, a group of seventeen scholars from numerous academic principles met in California to discuss the historical perspective of the human-dog relationship. The resulting paper develops a broad new multi-disciplinary framework for human-animal-environmental research. “At a time when we are contending with the COVID-19 pandemic and witnessing first-hand the inherent risk of zoonotic disease when we have close contact with another species, it is important to recognize that the human-dog relationship has withstood the test of time and been mutually beneficial”, said Donna Fernandes, Director at the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace.

The second class of Fellows appointed in February expanded upon the positive impact dogs have in contemporary society. Presentations included exploring the medical and psychological benefits dogs have on humans such as lowered blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety and stress hormones, as well as the role of dogs as facilitators in promoting human-to-human social interactions and healthy aging. In addition, the Fellows addressed the selection, training, performance, and welfare of working dogs.

A symposium volume will be made available to students, researchers, and others interested in learning more about this topic.


Sykes, N.; Beirne, P.; Horowitz, A.; Jones, I.; Kalof, L.; Karlsson, E.; King, T.; Litwak, H.; McDonald, R.A.; Murphy, L.J.; Pemberton, N.; Promislow, D.; Rowan, A.; Stahl, P.W.; Tehrani, J.; Tourigny, E.; Wynne, C.D.L.; Strauss, E.; Larson, G. Humanity’s Best Friend: A Dog-Centric Approach to Addressing Global Challenges. Animals 2020, 10, 502. Published March 17th 2020 

Wallis Annenberg Petspace Announces Second Class of Leadership Institute Fellows   February 27, 2020

Wallis Annenberg Petspace Leadership Institute Publishes White Paper Exploring Human-Dog Relationship and its Environmental Consequences. March 23, 2020

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