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Pet owners have always known what researchers are just beginning to understand -- animals can improve the quality of human life. The psychosocial benefits of the human/companion animal bond have led to the development of a treatment modality presently known as Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI)]. It can facilitate spontaneous expression of emotion, enhance functional abilities, serve as a social lubricant, provide diversion from pain, reduce stress levels, increase self-esteem, and foster openness to learning. This session will explore the history, theory and research behind AAI and the human animal bond. The session will highlight the major tenets of AAI and bridge the gap between practice and research. Emphasis will also be given to explain how animal behaviorists can become more involved in the field of AAI as well as supporting therapists in properly selecting and training therapy animals. Attention will also be given to animal welfare as well as ethical care.
Speaker(s):**Dr. Aubrey Fine