Positive Dog-Human Interactions
My long-term research goals are to evaluate the potential benefits, mechanisms, and individual differences surrounding both short-term and long-term positive dog-human relationships. I am interested in research projects that evaluate human-animal relationships across many types of populations of dogs (companion dogs, therapy dogs, assistance dogs) and humans (individuals with disabilities or mental disorders, children, and aging populations).
Effects of Service Dogs for Military Veterans with PTSD
Service dogs trained for military veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are becoming an increasingly complementary intervention for PTSD. My Ph.D. research at the Purdue University Center for the Human-Animal Bond under the mentorship of Dr. Maggie O’Haire aimed to quantify the psychosocial and physiological effects of PTSD service dogs for military veterans and their families, adding to the knowledge of how the human-animal bond may impact veterans’ clinical symptomology and wellbeing. This research is in collaboration with non-profit service dog provider K9s For Warriors.
Read More: “Do Psychiatric Service Dogs Really Help Veterans with PTSD?”
Childhood Adversity and the Potential Buffering Role of Pet Dogs
I am currently collaborating with faculty in the School of Social Work at Colorado State University to conduct innovative research on the role that pets, especially pet dogs, may play in healthy childhood development. The research specifically examines how pets may be influential in buffering the impact of stressful events or experiences in their households, families, or communities.
Effects of Service Dogs for Children with Autism
Similar to PTSD service dogs, autism service dogs are an increasingly popular complementary intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. We are conducting innovative research to evaluate how autism service dogs are impacting both children with ASD and their caregivers and families in the Purdue CARES study (CAnines for Autism REsearch Study). This research is being conducted in collaboration with the non-profit assistance dog provider Canine Companions, as well as collaborators from the the Arizona Canine Cognition Center and the Purdue University Autism Research Center.
Read More: “New Research to Explore Effects of Service Dogs on Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Caregivers”
Effects of Service Dogs for Individuals with Physical Disabilities
The partnership between a service dog and an individual with a disability is an incredibly unique and powerful example of the human-animal bond. Beyond the medical and mobility-related tasks that a service dog is performing an individual, we know that the companionship and social support that a service dog provides is also equally as important. My Ph.D. research at the Purdue University Center for the Human-Animal Bond under the mentorship of Dr. Maggie O’Haire aimed to quantify the psychosocial effects of service dogs for individuals with physical disabilities and their families. This research is in collaboration with the national non-profit service dog provider Canine Assistants.
Read More: “Service dogs benefit the well-being of their handlers, research shows”