Since December 2011, Zoetis and the Pfizer
Foundation have sponsored American Humane
Association in developing and executing the Canines
and Childhood Cancer (CCC) Study to investigate the
effects of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) on pediatric oncology
patients, their families, and the therapy dogs who visit them.
In collaboration with children's hospitals and universities
across the country, American Humane Association has
completed a comprehensive needs assessment, including a
literature review on AAT and pediatric oncology (visit
www.caninesandchildhoodcancer.org), as well as a pilot study
to inform the design and implementation of a full clinical trial
scheduled to begin in late 2013.
Unlike the majority of existing research in the human-animal
interaction field, this rigorously designed pilot study took
place at multiple sites, and incorporated a randomized control
cohort and validated instruments to evaluate how the addition
of AAT to Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) treatment
impacts the distress levels of children, parents/guardians,
and therapy dogs. The CCC Study is anticipated to be a
milestone in understanding the vital bond shared between
people and animals.