International Human-Animal Bond Day is celebrated on November 8th each year to recognise, highlight and celebrate our animal companions and the wonderful relationships we can build with them. #IHABDay #HABA #HumanAnimalBond
Back in November 2021, the Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS) was a joint founder of the first International Human-Animal Bond Day in partnership with the Human-Animal Bond Association (HABA). November 8th is dedicated to international celebration of the special bond between people and pets but of course we love our companion animals all year round!
SCAS continues to advocate for greater recognition of the bond and its evidence-based benefits through the funding and communication of original research, for more opportunities for people and animals to benefit from a bond relationship, for greater implementation of animal care and welfare education and for training of the professions about their role in human-animal interactions.
Recognising outstanding organisations for the efforts they make to keep people and pets together in care facilities is just one way SCAS, in partnership with Fostering Compassion, works to highlight champions of the bond. This year’s inaugural Bob Harvey Award was jointly shared by Friends of the Elderly, MATAV, Israel and Lifeview Residential Care, Melbourne, Australia with their inspirational programmes demonstrating deep understanding and respect of the special bond between elderly people and their beloved companion animals.
SCAS funded research is helping to build an evidence base for the impact of companion animals in our lives. Recent findings include the prevention of an estimated 22,000 suicides of autistic individuals in the UK alone through dog ownership (Barcelos, Kargas & Packham, 2021), the positive impact of assistance dogs on psychosocial health and wellbeing (Rodriguez, Greer, Yatcilla, Beck & O’Haire, 2020) and greater understanding of companion animal adoption and relinquishment during the COVID-19 pandemic (Carroll, Torjussen & Reeve, 2023).
SCAS has also funded the development of tools such as the Safe Animal Friendly Environments (SAFE), a risk management tool aimed at supporting the safe inclusion of personal pets (that is, those that people have pre-residential relationships with) in communal residential aged care. It is free to download.
Through our advocacy work on the bond, we will continue to make the world a better place for people and animals through contributions to government surveys, providing input to parliamentary meetings, and working with our partners to support the passing of key legislation such as the Renters Reform Bill to improve access to pet-friendly housing which recently had its second reading at Westminster. All of us can be advocates for the special relationship between people and companion animals through our conversations with others and being responsible pet owners.
To learn more about HABA visit www.humananimalbond.net
#IHABDay #HABA #HumanAnimalBond