Pet-human bond innovation competition

Purina PetCare has teamed up with a social entrepreneurship pioneer to launch a competition promoting the pet-human bond.

The Purina BetterwithPets Prize aims to identify enterprises and individuals across the globe that harness the power of the bond through providing innovative solutions to issues such as emotional disconnection, trauma, social isolation and health problems.

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Lambs in Nursing Homes

There have been several recent news items featuring small lambs visiting nursing homes in Scotland and this was brought to the attention of SCAS. There is now irrefutable scientific evidence that human-animal interactions can be beneficial which has led to the introduction of many Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) programmes in health care facilities.  However, great care is required in planning AAI to help ensure that this does not put animals or people at risk.

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Bob and Darcie: An update

The story of Bob Harvey and his little dog Darcie must be one of the saddest.  After his wife of over 50 years developed dementia Bob, his wife Margaret and their beloved dog Darcie moved into a pet friendly care home in the South of Scotland. They were promised a home where they could all stay together for the rest of their days.  Bob reluctantly sold their home, closing the door to their previous life, in order that they could fund the care home costs – comforted by the prospect that they would at least all be together.  Although it was Margaret’s condition that had necessitated the move, Bob was not a well man either. When he had suffered an aortic aneurysm 20 years ago, he was not expected to survive.  He was given up for dead twice on the operating table. He miraculously pulled through, but without kidney function. Since his near death event, Bob has been a dialysis patient, undergoing treatment three times weekly.

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Director of Research: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

The ASPCA is seeking a Director of Research to join their Strategy & Research team – a thoughtful and mission driven team working on often novel or groundbreaking research. This role represents an exciting opportunity for a skilled researcher who approaches his or her work with a sense of optimism, demonstrates passion for animal welfare, and thrives in the less controlled environment of applied and field research to apply his/her skills in support of our mission.

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Man with severe mental health issues with an emotional support dog faces eviction

At the end of November 2019, a case was bought against Christopher Palmer at Plymouth County Court. Landlord, Plymouth County Homes, say that My Palmer is breach of his tenancy agreement by his keeping of his dog, Tammy, and want either the dog to be rehomed, or for Mr Palmer to accept their offer of rehoming them together to a property with a garden. However, Mr Palmer’s mental health conditions would be worsened by both of these options as he has friends and sources of support in the high rise flats where he is currently living. The case will resume on 9 January 2020.

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PhD Opportunity – Understanding the approach taken to aged dogs in primary veterinary care: a mixed methods health informatics approach

Do you have qualifications and experience in an area of veterinary or animal health sciences? A PhD opportunity has arisen based at the University of Liverpool’s Leahurst campus as part of larger research groups exploring human-animal interaction and animal welfare.

This one-year post is funded by a BSAVA Petsavers Citizen Science Award, which includes student stipend of £15,000 (tax free) and all necessary postgraduate fees for a UK/ EU student, and conference attendance/training budget of £700.

To find out more visit

Please note the application deadline is Friday 17 January 2020.

Homeless people need to be able to stay with their dogs

Homeless people need to be able to stay with their dogs, according to guidance being issued for housing providers.

Homelessness charity Simon Community Scotland is working with Dogs Trust to help direct the response to homeless people and their pets. Their Paws for Thought guidance highlights the positive role dogs can play in people’s lives. It aims to raise awareness of the value of the pets among housing and support service providers.

The document consists of several pieces of advice such as how to provide dog-friendly communal rooms in temporary shelters and create risk assessments to ensure there are no issues with staff members being allergic to, or afraid of, pets.

Read more by following the link below:

One Health Social Sciences Online Webinar

The One Health Social Sciences Initiative is taking the next step to further its mission to strengthen the global network of scientists and practitioners incorporating social science concepts and methods into their One Health research and practice.

10:00 am ET (UTC-5)

To register for the free event, go to: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

New SCAS Code of Practice Launched

Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) guidelines developed to provide voluntary code to ensure animal and human welfare needs are met

Guidelines for the use of animals in a wide range of animal-assisted activities and therapies, developed by the Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS), have been substantially revised and updated.

The Animal Assisted Interventions: SCAS Code of Practice for the UK (the code) is a voluntary code intended to offer guidance on good practice for designing and delivering AAI effectively and safely, to help ensure the welfare needs of both humans and animals are met.

Why do we need a Code?

Animals are increasingly being deployed in therapeutic settings due to the acknowledged benefits that arise from human-animal interactions1. There are no National Occupational Standards in place for AAI in the UK; therefore, SCAS recognised a need to provide evidence-based advice and as such developed the Code, with input from the charity’s expert membership.

The introduction of AAI programmes requires careful planning to ensure interventions are safe for all involved and that animal welfare is not compromised. The SCAS Code informs professionals, patients and the public about key steps required to achieve best practices. It encourages interdisciplinary collaboration across the caring professions in the planning, development and maintenance of programmes; and between practitioners and researchers in documenting outcomes. Through such collaboration, programmes become more effective and sustainable.

SCAS Chairman, Dr Ormerod, explains the background to the development of the guidelines:

“The experience of SCAS members, through surveys and visits to health and social care facilities, is that many programmes involve animals in an ad hoc fashion.

Animals are often introduced without seeking advice as to their suitability or welfare. Few facilities have adequate written policy or protocol, hence the need for a well-researched document to inform those working or volunteering in such facilities.”

“It is necessary to mitigate risk when using animals in AAI, both in terms of upholding animal welfare and to protect humans from any potential zoonotic diseases. The AAI SCAS Code of Conduct will help ensure all parties are working safely and fulfilling the needs of the institution and animal owners.”

The guidelines are free to access and may be downloaded from the SCAS website

The Code was first launched by SCAS in 2013 and has been substantially revised to reflect current understanding of AAI, particularly in relation to safe practice and animal welfare. Advice on zoonoses has been expanded to address issues pertaining to farm animals, exotic species and risks associated with raw meat products.

Who is the Code for?

The Code is for organisations, charities, businesses or individuals who design, manage, organise and implement the delivery of AAI programmes. They are also a key resource for veterinary teams whose work alongside these teams. Their services may be commissioned by others or, in some cases, those responsible for the management of an AAI programme may also be the AAI facilitator who delivers the session. The Code also serves to inform staff and clients in health, social care and educational institutions to which AAI is delivered.