The Study of the Human Animal interaction (HAI)
It has long been known that the interaction between humans and animals is
powerful, and the bond between them can have positive impacts on both humans
and animals. The term "human animal interaction" (HAI) is an umbrella term
for the study of this dynamic relationship, but is a fairly recent term and
applies to all areas of practice and research that include some kind of
interaction (i.e., therapy, intervention, assistance) between humans and
animals. This includes work that may be identified under more familiar
terms, such as animal-assisted therapy, animal assisted activities, or
human/animal bond. Fine (2010) refers to human animal interaction as being
in the early stages of development, and only recently gaining credibility
within national funding agencies. We believe it is a field that is growing
and providing new and exciting possibilities for research and practice. For
further information on how to become involved in this work at WSU, see below
for related links, areas of foci, and faculty affiliated with various
aspects of the study of human animal interaction.
Community Outreach - We offer several different programs throughout the
Path to Success: An Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Program
(Fall and Spring semesters)
PATH to Success is an equine assisted growth and learning program that is
directed at healthy youth development. It was developed at Washington State
University (WSU) by Sue Jacobson (Director of the People Pet Partner-ship
program in the College of Veterinary Medicine) and Phyllis Erdman (Associate
Dean in the College of Education) in the fall of 2008. It began as an
extension of the Palouse Area Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) program at
WSU, which is a Premier Accredited Center of the the Professional
Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl)
(previously North American Riding for the Handicapped Association [NARHA]).
PATH was established in 1979 to provide recreational, therapeutic horseback
riding lessons for youth and adults with disabilities.
The goal of PATH to Success is to enhance children's social competency
and well-being and consists of weekly after-school sessions. We work with
PATH horses to help children develop better communication and leadership
skills, greater self-awareness and esteem, and positive approaches to cope
with life stress.
Path to Success: A Shared Journey (Summer program)
summer of 2011, we offered our first summer program, entitled Path to
Success: A Shared Journey. This is a two-week program designed to work with
parent/child teams to help them work on shared goals, including better
communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, and responding to
stress. Each team will work closely with one of our four gentle equine
partners that are part of our WSU PATH/Path to Success programs. Activities
will include primarily ground work with the horses, such as observing and
learning about herd dynamics, learning how to walk together and lead the
horse through obstacle courses, and working together with their horse to
understand horse and human communication. Additionally, there will be
non-equine activities, such as relationship building, communication
exercises, self-awareness activities, and group processing.
We currently have two courses that cover topics relevant to human-animal
interaction (HAI), which is an area of study that cuts across many
disciplines, including Veterinary Medicine, Counseling, and Animal Science.
Our goal, in the near future, is to create a group of related courses that
will count toward a cognate or certificate in HAI. These two courses are the
first to be offered toward that goal. There are also opportunities for
independent study and thesis/dissertation work for graduate students on
various topics of animal assisted therapy, as well as opportunities for
students to complete service learning requirements, usually as part of their
undergraduate work. See examples of graduate student work below with an
Pet Loss Hotline and Human Bereavement - VetMed 596/CoPsy 596
- This is a 1-credit class, offered every fall and spring, for graduate
students and serves as a practicum for veterinary students. The course is
based on the premise that companion animals are often seen as family members
and their loss is a major life event. Students learn about the issues
surrounding euthanasia of a pet, and how to help people make end of life
decisions in ways to mitigate guilt and regret. Veterinary students are
paired with second year counseling students, who work together as a team in
helping clients process grief and loss issues. In addition to the didactic
training, students work together on the Pet Loss Hotline, taking calls from
clients around the country. Students put their training into practice to
strengthen and solidify understanding of the process of healing from loss.
Pet Loss Hotline Website
Reverence for Life - VetMed 505/CoPsy 523 - This is a
1-credit research seminar, offered in the spring, where various topics on
the interactions between living beings, especially between humans and
animals, and the use of animals in Western societies are discussed from an
interdisciplinary perspective (veterinarian, animal science, counseling,
animal ethics, human development, etc). The course is also designed to
develop and enhance the students' ability to lead and be involved in
discussions and answer questions using scientific information, educate
colleagues, research the scientific literature, and do professional
presentations. Students will develop a poster to be presented at a WSU
We were involved in a collaborative experimental study funded by NIH with
Patricia Pendry, Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development
the College of Education, and the People/Pet Partnership Program in the
College of Veterinary Medicine (http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-pppp/)
to measure the effects of PATH to Success, a 12-week, equine-assisted growth
and learning program, on the physical and mental health of 5-8th grade
children and the physiological pathways underlying these effects. Some of
the results of that study are listed below, and more are forthcoming.
Pendry. P. & *Roeter, S.M. (2013). Experimental Trial Demonstrates
Positive Effects of Equine Facilitated Growth and Learning on Child Social
Competence. Journal of Human Animal Interaction. Human -Animal Interaction
Journal, 1(1), 1-19
Pendry, P. (2013). Effects of equine facilitated learning on child
development. Strides. Bi-monthly publication of the Professional Association
for Therapeutic Horsemanship International at
Pendry, P., *Roeter, S.M., *Smith, A.N., Jacobson, S., Erdman, P. (2013).
Trajectories of Positive and Negative Behavior during Participation in
Equine Facilitated Learning Program for Horse-Novice Youth. Journal of
Extension, 51(1), 1R1B5.
*Carr, A. & Pendry, P. (2012). Effects of Equine Assisted Growth and
Learning Activities on Individual Growth in Positive and Negative Behavior
of 5th Through 8th Graders. Poster presented at the Annual CAHNRS
Undergraduate Research Fair, WSU, Pullman, WA, April, 2012.* Winner of 2nd
prize Best Research Presentation.
*Madden, L.A., Keen, K.A., Mills, P., Newman, J., Martin, F., Newberry,
R.C. (2011). Participation in 4-H dog clubs is associated with emotional
intelligence and positive attitude towards companion animals. P. 34 in ISAZ
International Society for Anthrozoology 20th Anniversary Human Animal
Interactions: Challenges and Rewards, August 4-6, 2011, Indianapolis IN, http://www.isaz.net/conferences/ISAZ%20Program%20Book.pdf
Jacobson, S., & Erdman, P. (2011). WSU's Striker wins 2010 NARHA equine
of the year award. Animal Human Interaction: Research and Practice
Newsletter (Section 13 of Div 17, Society of Counseling Psychology - APA),
Erdman, P., Jacobson, S., & Pendry, P. (2010). PATH….To Success: An
equine assisted growth and learning program. Animal Human Interaction:
Research and Practice Newsletter (Section 13 of Div 17, Society of
Counseling Psychology - APA), Summer 2010, p. 14-15
Martin, F. and Taunton, A. (2006). Perceived importance and integration
of the human-animal bond in private veterinary practice. JAVMA, 228 (4),
Glover, S. and Martin, F. (2006). Veterinary Students' Attitudes toward
Companion Animals' Legal Status. International Society for Anthrozoology
Annual Conference. Barcelona, Spain.
Martin, F. (2006). Integrating Virtual Animals in Humane Education
Curricula: The Experience of the College of Veterinary Medicine at WSU.
Building Just, Diverse and Democratic Communities. Society for the Study of
Social Problems 56th Annual Meeting. Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Martin, F. and Taunton, A. E. (2006). Human-Animal Bond, Veterinary
Practice and Veterinary Education: Contradictory Input from Practitioners in
the State of Washington. 143rd AVMA Annual Convention. Honolulu, Hawaii,
Martin, F. (2005). When the Human-Animal Bond Meets Technology:
People-Pet Partnership Online Curriculum. 59th Annual NAE4-HA Conference.
Seattle, WA, USA.
Coultis, D. and Martin, F. (2005). Integrating the Human-Animal Bond in
Veterinary Medicine: The People-Pet Partnership Model. Symposium on the
Relationship between Humans and Animals. Graduate School of Medical
Sciences, Kitasoto University, Japan.
Glover, S., Martin, F. and Taunton, A. E. (2005). Human-Animal Bond:
Implications for the Practice of Veterinary Medicine as Reflected in
Perceptions of Practitioners, Owners' Expectations and the Law.
International Society for Anthrozoology Annual Conference. Niagara, NY. USA.
Martin, F. and Taunton, A. E. (2005). Introducing humane education though
technology and virtual animals. International Society for Anthrozoology
Annual Conference. Niagara, NY. USA.
Martin, F. and Taunton, A. E. (2005). Perceptions on Human-Animal Bond
(HAB) education and the role of the HAB in private practice by veterinarians
in Washington state. International Society for Anthrozoology Annual
Conference. Niagara, NY. USA.
Martin, F. and Taunton, A. (2005). Perceptions of the human-animal bond
in veterinary education by veterinarians in Washington state: Structured
versus experiential learning. JVME, 32 (4), 523-530.
Martin, F., Taunton, A., and Paznokas, L. (2005). Who let the dog in?
Virtual animals as science teaching assistants. CESI Science, 38 (2), 22-27.
*Ellsworth, L. M., Tragesser, S., Newberry, R. C. (2013). Interactions
with dogs improve affective states of adolescents in substance abuse
treatment. Podium presentation scheduled for the 22nd Annual International
Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ), Evidence-based Approaches to the Study of
Human-Animal Interactions: Past, Current, and Future Research Directions,
*Ellsworth, L. M., Tragesser, S., Newberry, R. C. (2013). Interactions
with dogs improve affect of adolescents in substance abuse treatment. Poster
presentation at the 2013 Academic Showcase, Washington State University,
*Bayly, D. *Craft, S., *Reiger,K., & *Urquhart, G. (2013) Veterans'
perceptions, knowledge and attitudes towards Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD) and applications for an equine-assisted treatment program. Poster
session scheduled for American Psychological Association Conference, (Div
17, Society for Human Animal Interaction Section), Hawaii.
*Bayly, D.,*Craft, S., *Urquhart, G, *Rieger, K, & Erdman, P. (2013).
Veterans' perceptions, knowledge and attitudes towards PTSD and its
treatment. WSU Academic Showcase, Poster Session, Pullman, WA, March 2013.
*Caro, B., *Rieger, K. *Marco, L., & Erdman, P. (2013). Assessing
attitudes toward animal assisted therapy among students and faculty in APA
accredited programs. Poster session scheduled for American Psychological
Association Conference, (Div 17), Hawaii.
Erdman, P. and Kogan, L. (2013). Bridging between professionals: Bringing
empirical legitimacy to the human animal interactions field. Symposium
scheduled for Division 17 (Society for Human Animal Interaction section),
American Psychological Association Conference, Hawaii.
Pendry. P. (March 5, 2013). Equine facilitated learning and Child Stress.
Annual Meeting of the British Equine Forum, London, England.
Pendry, P., & *Carr, A. M. (2013). Cortisol Levels and Momentary Emotion
Influence Behavior of Adolescents During Equine Facilitated Learning
Program. Poster symposium accepted for the Biennial Meeting of the Society
for Research on Child Development, Seattle, Washington, April, 2013.
*Roeter, S., & Pendry. P. (2013). Effects of an 11-week equine
facilitated learning program on child engagement coping. Poster accepted to
the 2013 Society for Research on Child Development Biennial Meeting,
Seattle, Washington, April, 2013.
Pendry. P., *Smith, A.N., & *Roeter, S.M. (2013). Effects of Equine
Facilitated Learning on Diurnal Patterns of Child Cortisol. Poster accepted
to the 2013 Society for Research on Child Development Biennial Meeting,
Seattle, Washington, April, 2013.
Pendry, P.,* Smith, A. M., & *Roeter, S. M. (2013). Associations between
momentary emotion, basal cortisol production and reactivity, and observed
behavior in a sample of normal and at-risk 5th through 8th grade children
during their first mounted equine facilitated learning activity. Paper
presentation at the Triennial International Conference of the International
Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations, Chicago, Illinois,
Erdman, P. & Ruby, K. (2012) Building a bridge: Counseling and veterinary
professionals collaborate to support clients through bereavement. Washington
Counseling Association Annual Conference, Spokane, WA, October 2012.
Erdman, P. & Jacobson, S. (2012) Parents, children, and horses: A path to
success. Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International
Conference, Seattle, WA, November 2012.
Erdman, P. & Jacobson, S.(2011). Kids and Horses: Sharing the Path to
Success and Learning. Roundtable discussion at COE Research Showcase,
October, 14, 2011.
Madden, L.A., Keen, K.A., Mills, P., Newman, J., Martin, F., Newberry,
R.C. (October 27, 2011). Participation in 4-H dog clubs is associated with
self-esteem and positive attitude towards companion animals. Poster
presentation conducted at the 13th Annual WSU College of Veterinary Medicine
Student Research Symposium, Pullman, WA. * 3rd place winner in Category 2. http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/StudentResearch/symposium2011/index.aspx.
Pendry, P. *Roeter, S.M., *Smith, A., Jacobson, S. & Erdman, P. (2012).
Experimental Trial Demonstrates Positive Effects of Equine Facilitated
Growth and Learning on Child Social Competence. WSU Academic Showcase,
Poster Session, Pullman, WA, March, 2012.
Pendry. P, & *Roeter, S. (2012). Effects of Equine Assisted Activities on
Child Social Competence and Behavior. Bi-Annual Conference of the Society
for Research on Adolescence, Vancouver, Canada, March, 2012.
*Roeter, S.M., *Smith, A., *Montgomery, A., Erdman, P, Jacobson, S. &
Pendry, P. (2012). Trajectories of Adolescents' Behavioral Change in a
11-week equine facilitated leaning program. Poster presentation conducted at
the WSU Wiley Research Exposition, Pullman, WA, February, 2012.* Winner of
best poster presentation.
Pendry. P, & *Roeter, S., & Jacobson, S. (2011). Effects of Equine
Assisted Activities on Child Social Competence and Behavior. Presentation
conducted at the Annual Conference of the Professional Association for
Therapeutic Horsemanship, Lexington, KY, October, 2011.
Pendry, P., *Roeter, S. & Henderson, F.M. (2011). How to incorporate
measurement of physiological stress into equine assisted programs?
Presentation conducted at the 8th Annual Gathering on Equine-Assisted
Learning and Mental Health Best Practices, Mayer, AZ, May, 2011.
Pendry, P. (2011). Equine assisted growth and learning, physiological
stress and child development. Presentation conducted at the Center for the
Study of Animal Well-Being, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, April,
Research and Grants
N5R03 HD066590-02/$100,000.00)IR R03/Human-animal Interaction and Child
Efficacy Trial of Equine Assisted Counseling on Child Competence and Stress
Graduate Student Grant, Washington State University Alcohol and Drug
Abuse Research Program, 05/16/12-12/31/12.Newberry, R.C. (PI), Madden, L.
(Graduate Student, co-PI), Tragesser, S. (co-PI). Effects of human-animal
interactions on affect and empathy of adolescents in substance abuse
Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, 2008-2011.Slinker, B., Newberry, R.,
Mills, P., Newman, J. Development of a national animal-assisted education
WSU Faculty affiliated with the study of HAI
Non-WSU faculty affiliated with the study of HAI
Colorado State University
Dr. Nancy Gee