National Council on Pet Population and Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) Research Symposium
Lisa was invited to participate in the National Council on Pet Population (Council) and the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) Research Symposium entitled “Solid, Stretched or Broken?: the Human-Animal Bond” where she presented “Shelter dogs and veterans: A comparison of two different program models.” The number of animal-assisted programs that pair veterans with shelter dogs is growing. Yet there is great variability in program models and little information on effectiveness. Program goals vary and may include helping veterans to re-enter civilian life, develop job skills, reduce PTSD symptoms, and gain social support. The presentation outlined the findings from evaluations of two different types of programs that pair veterans and shelter dogs: Soldier’s Best Friend (SBF) and VALOR. Differences and similarities in the two program models were discussed, and preliminary research findings from interviews with veterans from both programs were presented. Lessons learned and considerations for implementing similar programs were discussed.